The LifeBook P8010 is a worthy upgrade to last year's ultraportable LifeBook, the P7230. Most importantly, it replaces the single-core processor with a low-voltage Core 2 Duo chip. Its dimensions swell slightly to accommodate a bigger 12-inch screen, but it still weighs in at a hair under 3 pounds. While the Apple MacBook Air, the Lenovo ThinkPad X300 and the Toshiba Portege R500 make headlines for their sleek lines and thinness as well as forward-looking features such as solid-state drives, the LifeBook P8010 shuns such obvious attempts at attention. This unassuming ultraportable makes for a very capable travel companion, particularly for business users. It offers security features in a Trusted Platform Module and a fingerprint reader, while finding a comfortable balance between performance and battery life. If you are eyeing high-end ultraportable but can't fit it into this year's budget, the LifeBook P8010 provides an affordable and very functional alternative.
While our review unit costs $2,009, Fujitsu is currently offering a fixed configuration for $1,699 that we think is a better deal. You lose 40GB of hard drive space and 1GB of RAM while moving from Vista Business to XP Pro, but you save more than $400 in the process. An ultraportable is never going to be a powerhouse, and while we believe adding more memory is almost always money well spent, 1GB is enough to power a small XP machine. At $1,699, it's one of the more affordable ultraportables, which always carry a price premium in comparison to larger laptops. It's not easy cramming all the components into such a tight space, and the LifeBook P8010 boasts a useful feature set. While some ultraportables such as the MacBook Air drop the optical drive in an effort to save weight and space, the P8010 finds room for a DVD burner. You get a nice mix of ports, too, plus Bluetooth, a PC Card slot, and an SD card reader. (The otherwise excellent ThinkPad X300 lacks the latter two features.)
One feature notably absent, however, is an integrated WWAN antenna or even the option to add a broadband cellular modem card on Fujitsu's online configurator. If you need more wireless connectivity than Wi-Fi provides, you'll need to buy a PC Card from a third-party vendor.
|Price as reviewed / Starting price||$2,009 / $1,699|
|Processor||1.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo SL7100|
|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)||11.0 x 8.3 x 1.6 inches|
|Screen size (diagonal)||12.1 inches|
|System weight / Weight with AC adapter||2.9 / 3.6 pounds|
While Fujitsu won't be making any claims along the lines of "the world's thinnest laptop" for the LifeBook P8010, it does make for an attractive little machine. It tapers from 1.6 inches at its thickest to 1.4 inches along the front edge, putting it on the thick side of the ultraportable scale. Given its relative bulkiness, it feels lighter than you would expect when you pick it up. The inside is outfitted in business gray with black keys, and the lid features a glossy black coating. While the keyboard is spill resistant and the hard drive offers shocks protection, unfortunately the plastic used for both the lid and the wrist rests feels particularly thin and flexes to an almost worrisome degree. In comparison, the ThinkPad X300 feels much tougher, but that extra sturdiness does add another half-pound to the weight.
Like any 12-inch (or smaller) laptop, the LifeBook P8010's keyboard feels a bit cramped. But Fujitsu did all it could here; the keyboard extends side to side. After a day of use, I grew accustomed to its dimensions, and my typos were greatly reduced. The touch pad has a nice feel to it and is generously proportioned. Between the two mouse buttons sits a fingerprint reader, which doubles as a scroll wheel. Above the keyboard sit four shortcut keys for calling up Fujitsu support, switching screen modes (normal or power saving), adjusting display settings, and opening Internet Explorer. All four buttons are programmable. To the left are icons for battery level and charging status.
Like the keyboard, the screen is as large as it can be, given the dimensions of the laptop. It extends nearly to the edge of each side; unlike the P7230, there's no wasted bezel space here. The thick bezel above the screen features a Webcam. Like the P7230, the P8010 features an LED-backlit LCD, which results in a bright image and helps with battery life. The display features the typical 1,280x800 native resolution found on other 12-inch ultraportables. It features a smooth finish, but it uses Fujitsu's Crystal View technology, which does an admirable job keeping glare and reflections to a minimum. Do note that as Fujitsu has moved from a 10.6-inch screen to one measuring 12.1 inches with its ultraportables, Apple and Lenovo just recently came out with 13-inch models whose weight puts them in the ultraportable class.
|Fujitsu LifeBook P8010||Average for midsize category|
|Audio||Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks||Headphone/microphone jacks|
|Data||Three USB 2.0, mini-FireWire, multiformat memory card reader, smart card reader||Two USB 2.0, mini-FireWire, SD or multiformat memory card reader|
|Expansion||PC Card||Type I/II PC Card or ExpressCard|
|Networking||Modem, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth||Modem, Ethernet, 802.11 a/b/g Wi-Fi, optional Bluetooth, optional WWAN|
|Optical drive||DVD burner||None, or DVD burner|
When we tested it a year ago, the LifeBook P7230 was a real dog, to put it kindly. It used a Core Solo processor and couldn't even keep pace with other single-core laptops. The LifeBook P8010 uses a dual-core but low-voltage CPU, the Core 2 Duo SL7100, and also boasts faster memory and a faster hard drive than last year's model. It showed vast improvement in the labs, finishing just behind pricier ultraportables such as the MacBook Air and the ThinkPad X300 on our application benchmarks. The Asus U6S finishes atop each chart because it uses a full-power Core 2 Duo instead of a low-voltage chip; check its battery life, however, to see the flip side of this equation. In anecdotal testing, the P8010 felt responsive, though not without the occasional delay with starting an application. In all, we think it will suffice for basic business use. More so than its performance, we feel the cramped keyboard is what will harm productivity.
The LifeBook P8010 ran for 3 hours and 45 minutes on our demanding DVD drain test, or two minutes longer than the ThinkPad X300 and its solid-state hard drive. It's an impressive number for this test, and we got closer to 5 hours of battery life during normal use with the power-saving setting enabled on the display. Not a full day's worth of juice, but enough to get you nearly from L.A. to New York (provided you are working and not playing a DVD).
Fujitsu covers the system with a one-year warranty. Support is available through a 24-7, toll-free phone line, and technicians can connect to your computer over the Internet to diagnose problems. Standard FAQs and driver downloads also are available. Adding an extra year of service costs $100, and upgrading to next-business-day on-site service is an additional $50 per year. Fujitsu is also unique among laptop vendors in offering a no-questions-asked Screen Damage Protection Plan that costs $150 for one year and $383 for three years.