From the outside, nothing has changed from when we last looked at the Fujitsu LifeBook E8410. Fujitsu's flagship business laptop uses the same chassis we saw last year, which for a 15.4-inch mainstream model is relatively attractive with its matte black lid, silver keyboard tray, and white keys. The system affords enterprise users the same robust security features as last year's model such as a smart card reader, a Trusted Platform Module, and a fingerprint scanner. However, Fujitsu updated the specs to include an Intel Penryn processor, double the memory, and a slightly larger hard drive for $260 less than the unit we reviewed last August. (Note that Fujitsu has dropped the price of the E8410 model we reviewed last year from $1,849 to $1,609, so the price difference between the two currently stands at a mere $20.) In the end, performance is a toss-up between the two models. We thought we'd see better numbers given the added memory of the newer unit, but our Photoshop test was the only area where the newer model showed marked improvement.
Although the price is lower than when we last looked at the LifeBook E8410, it would appear that the competition has been more aggressive with its pricing. Simply put, the LifeBook E8410 is overpriced compared with competing 15-inch business laptops.
When we spec out Lenovo's 15-inch ThinkPad, the T61, to match this LifeBook E8410 config, the T61 comes in more than $500 cheaper! Likewise, a similarly configured Dell Latitude D830 comes in at $1,240, or $250 cheaper than the LifeBook E8410 and includes a longer warranty. It's too bad, because the LifeBook E8410 is well-built laptop; it feels sturdy and offers a different design with its light silver interior and white keyboard. (Read our review of the ThinkPad T61, but note we reviewed a higher-end configuration that includes workstation-level graphics. We have not reviewed a Latitude D830, but the 14-inch version of it, the D630, won an Editors' Choice award when we reviewed it last year.)
|Price as reviewed / Starting price||$1,589 / $1,399|
|Processor||2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T8100|
|Memory||2GB of 667MHz|
|Hard drive||120GB at 5,400rpm|
|Graphics||Integrated Intel GMA X3100|
|Chipset||Mobile Intel 965GM Express|
|Operating system||Windows Vista Business|
|Dimensions (WDH)||14.1 x 10.1 x 1.4 inches|
|Screen size (diagonal)||15.4 inches|
|System weight / Weight with AC adapter||6.2 / 7.2 pounds|
I will echo Michelle Thatcher's sentiments from our previous E8410 review and say that the keyboard is very comfortable to use. The keys provide good travel, and the keyboard itself doesn't flex under pressure. I particularly like the location of the Page Up and Page Down keys; they're located in the lower-right corner next to the arrow keys. I don't like the shortened mouse buttons below the keyboard, however. They're stubby because the optional fingerprint reader sits between them. Another oddity that bears repeating from last year's review is the second set of mouse buttons that sit above the touch pad. Too bad they don't disappear when you opt out of the pointing stick (Quick Point, in Fujitsu's parlance). For more on the design and features, please see our LifeBook E8410 review from last year.
|Fujitsu LifeBook E8410||Average for midsize category|
|Video||VGA-out, S-Video||VGA-out, S-Video|
|Audio||Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks||Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks|
|Data||4 USB 2.0, mini-FireWire, serial, parallel, multiformat memory card reader, smart card reader||4 USB 2.0, mini-FireWire, multiformat memory card reader|
|Expansion||PC Card and ExpressCard||PC Card|
|Networking||modem, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 a/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth||modem, Ethernet, 802.11 a/b/g Wi-Fi, optional Bluetooth|
|Optical drive||DVD burner||DVD burner|
Though it's an older chip, the Core 2 Duo T7500 is more expensive than the T8100 Penryn-class chip because it's clocked 100MHz faster and boasts a larger L2 cache--4MB versus 3MB. The faster clock speed and more cache likely are the reasons for the older LifeBook E8410 model narrowly edging the new model despite its additional 1GB of RAM. The added memory certainly helped the newer model on our Photoshop CS3 benchmark, however, with the new model completing the test more than 3 minutes faster. Curiously, battery life didn't improve despite the improved efficiency of the Penryn chip and the absence of discreet graphics. Our reivew unit also uses an integrated Intel GMA X3100 graphics chip, which draws less power than the GeForce card found in last year's model. (You can add the same GeForce 8400M G card found in last year's E8410 for $100.)
Fujitsu covers the LifeBook E8410 with a one-year warranty; an upgrade to a three-year warranty costs $180 if you buy directly from Fujitsu. While Lenovo offers a standard one-year warranty on its ThinkPads, Dell still delivers three years of coverage. Fujitsu support is available through a 24-7 toll-free phone line and, if you're in the United States, technicians can connect to your computer over the Internet to diagnose problems. Repairs can be made at carry-in locations and at a mail-in depot.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance (in seconds))