The boxy, slate-gray Fujitsu LifeBook A6025 shares the same unexciting case design as the Fujitsu LifeBook A6030 we recently reviewed. The key difference: inside the A6025's case you'll find an older-model Core Duo processor and previous-generation Intel Centrino platform that together bring the price below the $1,000 mark. The LifeBook A6025 also lacks its sibling's innovative tablet-style touch pad. Aside from those differences, though, the two laptops are identical; you'll find the same stunning 15.4-inch display and full-size keyboard on both models. And the LifeBook A6025's Core Duo processor, though far from breaking any speed records, provides sufficient performance and battery life for media playback and Web surfing, making it a good deal for home users who want a full-featured laptop and are willing to sacrifice a little power for a palatable price.
|Price as reviewed / Starting price||$949 / $749|
|Processor||2.0GHz Intel Core Duo T2450|
|Memory||1GB of 667MHz|
|Hard drive||120GB at 5,400rpm|
|Graphics||Intel GMA X3100 (integrated)|
|Chipset||Mobile Intel 965GM Express|
|Operating system||Windows Vista Home Premium|
|Dimensions (wide x deep x thick)||14 x 10.5 x 1.5 inches|
|Screen size (diagonal)||15.4 inches|
|System weight / Weight with AC adapter||6.5 / 7.4 pounds|
The LifeBook A6025 feels very solid overall, with sturdy screen hinges and a thick, square case that can be an imposing presence on your desktop. Its 6.5-pound weight places it squarely in the middle of the midsize category, though it's heavier than similar systems with 15.4-inch screens, such as the HP Pavilion dv6500t.
We've looked at a lot of 15.4-inch displays lately (see also our reviews of the Enpower ENP660 and the Micro Express IFL90), and most produce decent color saturation and contrast. The "color-enhanced" display on the LifeBook A6025, however, puts those other screens to shame. Its pitch-black blacks and deep, rich colors make movie watching a pleasure. Though the screen's 1,280x800
The Fujitsu LifeBook A6025's broad case has plenty of room to accommodate a full-size keyboard. Typing was comfortable, although we'd prefer just a little more key travel. The board also flexes slightly, which didn't bother us but could prove annoying for particularly heavy-handed typists. The LifeBook A6025 lacks the unique "point-and-write" feature found on its cousin, the LifeBook A6030, but the A6025's traditional touch pad functions very well. The laptop's mouse buttons are well-sized; we like that the tiny fingerprint reader is nestled between the mouse buttons and doubles as a scroll key (just drag your finger across it while on a Web page or lengthy document). The final feature of note on the keyboard deck is a row of seven buttons: two control volume, and the remaining five are quick-launch buttons that can easily be mapped to the application of your choice.
|Fujitsu LifeBook A6025||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||5 USB 2.0, mini-FireWire, multiformat memory card reader||4 USB 2.0, mini-FireWire, multiformat memory card reader|
|Expansion||PC Card and ExpressCard||PC Card|
802.11 a/b/g Wi-Fi, optional Bluetooth
|modem, Ethernet, |
802.11 a/b/g Wi-Fi, optional Bluetooth
|Optical drive||DVD burner||DVD burner|
Because it's built with older components, the Fujitsu LifeBook A6025 doesn't support Draft N wireless--hardly a problem for budget-minded home users. As peripheral hounds, we love the extra USB port on the A6025 and appreciate that the five ports are distributed around the case to prevent cord crowding. We also appreciate the support for both PC Cards and ExpressCards, which means you won't have to sacrifice the PC Cards you already own to take advantage of the latest expansion card technology. And thank goodness for the headphone jack: the laptop's stereo speakers produce heavily treble sound, and the sound quality is disappointingly tinny even at moderate volumes.
Given that our $949 LifeBook A6025 review unit included an older Core Duo processor (rather than Core 2 Duo) and a previous-generation chipset, we didn't really expect it to excel on CNET Labs' mobile benchmarks. And indeed it mostly fell behind similar laptops with current-generation components, including the $1,199 Enpower ENP660 and the $1,699 Micro Express IFL90. On the other hand, the LifeBook A6025's performance was on a par with the $1,349 Toshiba Satellite A205-S4617, which featured more recent components but a slower processor speed. Though it won't break any speed records, the Fujitsu LifeBook A6025 can easily handle Web surfing, basic productivity, and media playback.
When it came to our grueling DVD drain test, the Fujitsu LifeBook A6025 lasted 2 hours, 28 minutes. Though that wasn't enough to outlast the Micro Express IFL90, which topped the three-hour mark, it is about what we'd expect from a 15.4-inch machine. Our DVD battery drain test is especially tough, so you can expect longer life from casual Web surfing and office use.
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.