The Fujitsu LifeBook E8210, the latest in the company's line of business-oriented thin-and-light notebooks, is by no means exciting, flashy, or inexpensive, but it does offer serious performance and security at a competitive price. The LifeBook E8210 performs as well as the more expensive Dell Latitude D820, totally outperforms the Micro Express EL80, and has more security features than the cheaper HP Compaq nx7400. Corporate buyers looking for a 15.4-inch, wide-screen notebook should consider the LifeBook E8210 alongside the best offerings from Dell, HP, and others.
The LifeBook E8210 looks a bit like a cross between an Apple MacBook and a Lenovo ThinkPad. It's all business black on the outside, but opening the notebook reveals a silvery-white interior. Measuring 14.2 inches wide, 10.2 inches deep, and 1.4 inches thick, the LifeBook E8210 is just a few tenths of an inch different in size than the Micro Express EL80, the Dell Latitude D820, and the HP Compaq nx7400. The LifeBook E8210 matches the HP Compaq nx7400's 5.7-pound weight, while the Dell Latitude D820 is 0.8 pound heavier and the Micro Express EL80 is 1.3 pounds heavier. With its power adapter, the LifeBook E8210 weighs a portable, but not comfortable, 6.9 pounds.
The LifeBook E8210 features a 15.4 inch, wide-screen display. Our review unit shipped with the optional WSXGA+ display, which has a whopping 1,680x1,050 native resolution. With that many pixels, the LifeBook E8210's display feels remarkably spacious. It's actually higher resolution than most high-definition content--it's just shy of 1080p--and provides a huge document workspace. A standard spreadsheet application shows 25 columns and 51 rows and a word processing document can show at 190 percent without need for horizontal scrolling. With pixels that small, text looks particularly sharp but is quite small. Users with glasses or contacts may need to use the display at a lower, nonnative resolution.
Given the notebook's business slant, we aren't surprised that the rest of the LifeBook E8210's multimedia experience is subpar. There are no multimedia controls, and its speakers can't handle any bass; at maximum volume the speaker grates vibrate louder than the music that's playing. There is, however, an S-Video out port, which is a useful inclusion for business users giving presentations on the go.
Most business users value input and security devices highly, and in this arena the LifeBook E8210 shines. The keyboard is full size and comfortable to use. The notebook features both a touch pad and a trackpoint for mousing. Unfortunately, like many notebooks of its size, the placement of the 2.8-by-1.5-inch touchpad makes it easy to move the cursor while typing. Though trackpoints aren't usually exciting, Fujitsu has managed to add a nice feature to the E8210's: clicking. Either tapping or depressing the trackpoint induces a click. Unfortunately, the LifeBook E8210 runs blisteringly hot; accidentally touching the left VGA or parallel ports actually hurts. Rounding out the package, the LifeBook E8210 has a Wi-Fi on/off switch on the front lip.
The notebook comes with enough security hardware for even the most demanding corporate networks. It has a fingerprint reader between the two touch-pad buttons and a smart-card reader on the left side for storing passwords or logging on to your computer or a network. The LifeBook E8210 also has a Trusted Platform Module for very high-security applications.
The LifeBook E8210 has every port an on-the-go business user will need, and it's dockable for convenience at a desk. The notebook has four-pin FireWire, serial, parallel, and four USB 2.0 ports; S-Video out; microphone and headphone jacks with S/PDIF out; and a 3-in-1 memory card reader that supports MultiMediaCard, Secure Digital, and Memory Stick cards. Networking options include Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/b/g, Bluetooth, and a 56Kbps modem; WWAN is conspicuously absent, but there's both a PC Card and an ExpressCard slot to add the latest cellular modems. Our system also included a built-in, dual-layer DVD burner and a high-capacity battery.
As we'd expect with a business laptop, the software package included with the LifeBook E8210 is lean. It ships with the ubiquitous Microsoft Windows XP Professional operating system, the Microsoft Works 8.5 miniproductivity suite, and CyberLink PowerDVD.