The ultraportable Fujitsu LifeBook P7120, an updated version of the Fujitsu LifeBook P7010D, is slimmer and lighter than its predecessor but remains packed with features, including a built-in DVD burner. Best of all, the LifeBook P7120 provides those features without compromising performance or battery life, and does it for the same price as the LifeBook P7010D. Its slightly more expensive competitor, the Sony VAIO TX670P, offers wireless WAN, longer battery life, and a larger screen in an even lighter case. If you want cellular connectivity or a battery that lasts more than six hours, the VAIO TX670P is worth the extra cost; otherwise, the Fujitsu LifeBook P7120 offers a slightly more affordable balance of performance, features, and portability for business travelers.
Measuring 10.3 inches wide and 7.8 inches deep, the LifeBook P7120's footprint is similar to that of the Sony VAIO TX670P and the less expensive Dell Latitude X1. But the Fujitsu's 3.1-pound weight and 1.4-inch thickness make it a little bulkier than its competitors. With its two-prong AC adapter, the LifeBook P7120 hits the road at 3.9 pounds.
The LifeBook P7120's classy black-and-gray case will look sleek on any tray table. As with other ultraportables, the LifeBook P7120's keyboard is considerably smaller than full size, though it's not uncomfortable, even for extensive bouts of typing. And in an improvement over the P7010, the P7120's punctuation keys are the same size as its letter keys. Its 2.5-inch (diagonal) touch pad and accompanying mouse buttons are also petite, forcing you to adopt a slightly cramped hand position--but, again, this is par for the course with almost any laptop this size. A fingerprint reader between the mouse buttons doubles as a scrolling device. Above the keyboard, you'll find a wireless on/off switch and an Eco button that adjusts display and drive settings for maximum battery life.
Though slightly smaller than the Sony's screen, the LifeBook P7120's 10.6-inch wide-screen display features a crisp 1,280x768 native resolution and a level of brightness that's great for Web surfing and viewing images. We were disappointed with the screen's brightness in the battery-saving Eco mode, however--so much so that we'd prefer to carry an extra battery than work on the dim screen.
Business travelers will find all the ports they need on the Fujitsu LifeBook P7120; the machine includes S-Video-out, VGA, modem, Ethernet (though not the Gigabit Ethernet offered with the Latitude X1), four-pin FireWire, and three USB 2.0 ports. Headphone and microphone jacks are located on the laptop's front edge for easy media enjoyment. For expansion there's a Type I/II PC Card slot and a four-in-one flash-card reader that recognizes Memory Stick Pro, Secure Digital, and xD formats. Wireless connections include Bluetooth and an 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi card. While many ultraportables (such as the Latitude X1) jettison the optical drive to save weight, our LifeBook P7120 came with a DVD burner in a swappable bay. Corporate-level security components such as a fingerprint reader and a Trusted Platform Module round out the feature list.
For $2,149, our LifeBook P7120 included a suite of midrange components, including a 1.2GHz Pentium M Ultra Low Voltage processor, 512MB of middling 400MHz RAM, a 60GB hard drive spinning at 4,200rpm, and integrated Intel graphics. On CNET Labs' performance benchmarks, the LifeBook P7120 ran neck and neck with a similarly configured Sony VAIO VGN-TX670P ($2,300) and a 1.1GHz Dell Latitude X1 ($2,000). In our three weeks of use, the LifeBook P7120 proved speedy at loading Web pages and performing such essential business functions as running DVD movies and playing solitaire. It will easily handle e-mail, word processing, and spreadsheet applications.