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Fujitsu LifeBook N5000 review: Fujitsu LifeBook N5000

Fujitsu LifeBook N5000

Stephanie Bruzzese
5 min read
Review summary
The new Fujitsu LifeBook N5010 marks a departure from its previous incarnation: the basic, gray, and wholly nondescript LifeBook N3000. With a new black-and-silver color scheme, Fujitsu's newest desktop-replacement laptop comes equipped with some sophisticated features, such as a large, 16.1-inch display and a unique volume wheel. There's also a new complement of internal components, including a desktop Pentium 4 processor with Hyper-Threading Technology, 333MHz memory, and a 64MB ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 graphics chip. Unfortunately, these upgrades prove too modest to make this system much of a performance competitor against other desktop replacements--even less expensive laptops, such as the sub-$2,000 HP Pavilion zd7000, beat the pants off of the LifeBook N5010 in CNET Labs performance tests. Despite a long battery life, a big screen, and a relatively moderate $2,499 price (as of August 2004), the LifeBook N5010 comes up short. Fans of the previous Fujitsu LifeBook N-series laptop, the N3000, will hardly recognize the Fujitsu LifeBook N5010 as a relative. Fujitsu has replaced the system's plain, silver-and-gray coloring with a more refined, black-and-silver scheme. Weighing 10.4 pounds and measuring 14 inches wide, 11.9 inches deep, and 1.7 inches thick, this notebook has also added some serious girth--along with several new features.
For starters, the display has grown from 15 to 16.1 inches, and it features Fujitsu's cool Crystal View technology, which allows the screen to block out a lot of ambient light for an improved contrast ratio. This power-draining screen is backed by a large 14.4V, 6,450mAh battery that lasted nearly three hours in our anecdotal test--not bad, in light of the screen size. Fujitsu also swapped the N3000's four programmable quick-launch buttons above the keyboard for a convenient, half-dollar-size volume wheel. A new wireless on/off switch sits in the upper-left corner above the board, handy for disabling Wi-Fi when you want to conserve battery power. The LifeBook N5010's rectangular speakers, which offer typically hollow laptop sound, sandwich the keyboard's left and right sides, and as a result, the keyboard feels slightly cramped. However, the standard touch pad, two mouse buttons, and the scroll button below the board feel plenty big.
We like the LifeBook N5010's selection of ports and slots. The laptop's left edge is home to two USB 2.0 ports, one headphone jack, and a microphone input. Two more USB 2.0 ports reside on the LifeBook N5010's back edge, along with Ethernet, 56Kbps modem, VGA, S-Video, and FireWire ports. The right edge features a slot that accommodates one Type III or two Type II PC Cards, as well as a port for a Memory Stick and, in a throwback to a bygone era of computing, a floppy-disk drive. The laptop's more contemporary DVD-RW drive sits within the front edge. The Fujitsu LifeBook N5010 isn't particularly configurable, but you can choose a desktop Pentium 4 processor with Hyper-Threading Technology that runs at either 3.0GHz or 3.2GHz, along with from 256MB up to 1GB of fairly fast 333MHz SDRAM; a 40GB, 60GB, or 80GB hard drive in a variety of speeds; and a DVD/CD-RW or DVD-RW drive. Otherwise, you're stuck with a decent-size lot of components, including a big, 16.1-inch display with a 1,400x1,050 native resolution; a 64MB ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 graphics chip; and dual-band, 802.11a+b/g wireless. Based on the LifeBook N5010's poor performance in CNET Labs benchmarks, we wish that you could customize the system with more cutting-edge components, such as ATI's newer 128MB Mobility Radeon 9700 chip or a 7,200rpm hard drive.
The Fujitsu LifeBook N5010 comes preloaded with a standard software package. You can choose between Microsoft Windows XP Home and XP Professional; Fujitsu includes the Microsoft Works mini office suite with the system. A few additional apps--InterVideo's WinDVD 4.0 and Creator Plus, and Sonic's RecordNow--handle CD and DVD creation. SysMark 2004 performance
Saddled with a sluggish 4,200rpm hard drive and a scant 512MB of RAM, the Fujitsu LifeBook N-series N5010 cannot fully flex the computing muscle of its fast 3.2GHz Pentium 4 CPU. As a result, the laptop's overall system performance is inferior to that of many of the powerful desktop-replacement laptops we've seen. The HP Pavilion zd7000, also stuck with a slow 4,200rpm hard drive, has 1GB of RAM, giving it a significant leg up on the LifeBook N5010. And even though the Acer Aspire 1712 has a slower processor than the others, its ample RAM and fast 7,200rpm hard drive put it in the top slot. Due to some outdated components, the LifeBook N5010 isn't quite up to standard desktop-replacement snuff.
SysMark 2004 performance  (Longer bars indicate faster performance)
BAPCo SysMark 2004 Rating  
SysMark 2004 Internet content creation  
SysMark 2004 office productivity  
Acer Aspire 1712
HP Pavilion zd7000
Fujitsu LifeBook N5010

To measure maximum notebook application performance, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's SysMark 2004, an industry-standard benchmark. Find out more about how we test notebooks.
Unreal Tournament 2004 performance
The LifeBook N5010 did not excel in CNET's Unreal Tournament 2004 test, largely due to its ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 64MB video adapter, which is two generations behind current mobile-graphics solutions. The Acer Aspire 1712 and the HP Pavilion zd7000 both run the faster Nvidia GeForce Go5700 128MB adapter, more typical of desktop-replacement laptops. Still, for a business-focused system, the LifeBook N5010 offers reasonable gaming performance.
Unreal Tournament 2004 performance  (Longer bars indicate faster performance)
Atari Games/Epic Game's Unreal Tournament 2004  

In order to test gaming performance, CNET Labs uses Atari Games/Epic Games' Unreal Tournament 2004. Rather than isolate the graphics adapter, this test evaluates overall system performance, with an emphasis on CPU speed. Find out more about how we test notebooks.
Performance analysis written by CNET Labs assistant lab manager Eric Franklin.
System configurations:
Acer Aspire 1712
Windows XP Professional; 3GHz Intel Pentium M; 1GB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; Nvidia GeForce FX Go5700 128MB; Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 120GB 7,200rpm
Fujitsu LifeBook N5010
Windows XP Home; 3.2GHz Intel Pentium 4; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 64MB; Fujitsu MHT2080AT 80GB 4,200rpm
HP Pavilion zd7000
Windows XP Media Center; 3.2GHz Intel Pentium 4; 1GB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; Nvidia GeForce FX Go5700 128MB; Fujitsu MHU2100AT 100GB 4,200rpm Fujitsu backs the LifeBook N5010 with a typical one-year warranty that includes free parts and labor via return-to-depot service, plus around-the-clock, toll-free telephone support. The company also offers various warranty upgrades, including three years of onsite repairs and accidental damage protection, for less than $400.
Fujitsu's support Web site offers the standard fare of a FAQ section, downloads, and an electronic user manual, along with a helpful forum where you can hit up other users for help.

Fujitsu LifeBook N5000

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 7Performance 6Support 7