Fujitsu is finally getting in on the growing Netbook trend, with an entry aimed at the educational market. The M2010 includes many of the same features already common in the increasingly-similar Netbook product landscape, but what differentiates it as an "education Netbook?" We were curious to find out, especially since the Dell Latitude 2100 made a similar--but much larger--splash in the educational arena just a few weeks ago.
With its top-tier price of $449, the M2010 has a hard time justifying its higher-than-average cost when smaller, slicker Netbooks like the Asus Eee PC 1008HA can be had for less. Of course, the argument can be made that the M2010 is more durable for student use; a similar claim was made by Dell about its upcoming Latitude 2100, which seems to have a more "rough and tumble" ruggedized feel than this Netbook, and is available with configurations starting at $369.
|Price as reviewed / Starting price||$449|
|Processor||1.6GHz Intel Atom N270|
|Memory||1GB 533 MHz DDR2|
|Hard drive||160GB 5,400rpm|
|Chipset||Mobile Intel 945GM Express|
|Graphics||Intel GMA 950|
|Operating System||Windows XP Home Edition SP3|
|Dimensions (WD)||10.25x7.5 inches|
|Screen size (diagonal)||10.1 inches|
|System weight / Weight with AC adapter||2.5/3.24 pounds|
With a glossy black chassis and a racecar-red shell and finish, the M2010 exterior design doesn't exactly scream "K through 12" at first glance. The slick color scheme, as compared with the Dell's primary-color rubberized exteriors, seems more at home in an executive's weekend bag. Fujitsu was quick to remind us, though, that no paint is used on the M2010--the color is embedded into the plastic, making a longer-lasting and more durable product. An off-white icon on the lid that looks almost like a figure-8 has no clear purpose, although it adds to the oddly street-racerish profile.
Inside, an inset 10.1-inch glossy screen and keyboard are rimmed by a bezel instead of going edge-to-edge. This is to be expected with the screen, but for the keyboard it means a more cramped typing experience than current fuller-keyed Netbooks, such as the HP Mini 1000 and the Samsung N120. It's a shame, really, because the raised keys and tactile response are otherwise excellent. A squished right-hand shift key only serves to remind how this keyboard is a bit of a last-gen model. Considering the M2010's size, a larger keyboard could easily have been incorporated without sacrificing much. The touch pad responded well, and the two buttons had good click to them.
The M2010 also comes across as somewhat thick (although there are worse offenders). It is, at about 1 inch, chunkier than some competitors' models, which are generally making efforts to slim down. No doubt some of the thickness was intentional, to appeal to a more durable student construction. According to Fujitsu, its screens and Netbooks were subjected to a "backpack test" to ensure they could survive child-crushing. We didn't run such a test here, but the plastic lid did engage in some flexing when we pressed down on it on our desk.
The 10.1-inch LED-backlit screen has a 1024x575 native resolution, which is close to standard for a screen this size (most have 600 vertical pixels,). While browser viewing can get cramped with too many toolbars open, the glossy screen was notably bright and crisp.
Stereo speakers are embedded somewhere behind the keyboard and screen (upon examination, we couldn't find where, exactly), and they do have a distinctly louder-than-normal volume for a Netbook--something that Fujitsu also has on its list for education pluses. We're not sure why, since high-end video and audio seem to be educational distractions rather than advantages, and most people would prefer wearing headphones. A stereo-in microphone jack and internal digital mic have good sensitivity.
|Fujitsu M2010||Average for category (Netbook)|
|Audio||Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks||headphone/microphone jacks|
|Data||3 USB 2.0, SD card reader||2 USB 2.0, SD card reader|
|Networking||Ethernet, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth||Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth|
Three USB 2.0 ports instead of the standard two and the inclusion of Bluetooth 2.1 are the only truly notable port and connectivity features on the M2010. A standard VGA connector, multicard reader, and a regular Ethernet jack line the sides of the Netbook. Included in the M2010 is 1GB of RAM comes, but it can be expanded to 2GB.
Since nothing under the hood of the M2010 is different than any other standard Netbook, it comes as no surprise that the Atom N270 ran all of the benchmark tests about as well as any other Netbook. For basic Web-surfing, office document editing, and e-mail, the Fujitsu M2010 runs just fine. We even tested video playback, and while lower-res, streaming video such as YouTube and Hulu worked well (an episode of "Lost" on ABC.com looked OK in-browser, but stuttered in a standalone window), HD-video files suffered significant stuttering.
The included three-cell battery ran for 2 hours and 1 minute in our battery drain test, which is lower than average for a three-cell Netbook, and certainly nothing to write home about. In our Video playback battery drain test comparison chart against three- and six-cell Netbooks we've recently reviewed, it measures dead last. We'd expected a slightly higher battery life here, especially since the M2010 is education-focused and would presumably be brought to school, and so we're a little disappointed.The M2010 is backed by a one-year warranty, with a two-year ($49) or three-year ($89) extension available at the time of purchase. The International Limited Warranty includes 24-7 technical support by phone and chat.