CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. How we test computers

Fujitsu LifeBook N6470 review: Fujitsu LifeBook N6470

Fujitsu LifeBook N6470

Michelle Thatcher Former Senior Associate Editor, Laptops
Tech expert Michelle Thatcher grew up surrounded by gadgets and sustained by Tex-Mex cuisine. Life in two major cities--first Chicago, then San Francisco--broadened her culinary horizons beyond meat and cheese, and she's since enjoyed nearly a decade of wining, dining, and cooking up and down the California coast. Though her gadget lust remains, the practicalities of her small kitchen dictate that single-function geegaws never stay around for long.
Michelle Thatcher
5 min read

We were surprised at how much we like the Fujitsu LifeBook N6470. The unassuming matte-black case on this 17-inch desktop replacement doesn't exactly look luxe, and it lacks such headline-grabbing features as SLI graphics and a high-definition optical drive. (The latter can be chalked up to the death of the HD DVD format; earlier iterations of the N series included an HD DVD drive.) But the more we used it, the more we found ourselves enjoying the LifeBook N6470. Its well-rounded feature set includes a TV tuner, a remote control, and good--though not great--stereo speakers. Movies look beautiful on its display, yet the glossy screen finish doesn't detract from computing. And its price--$1,499 to start, $1,799 for our configuration--is entirely palatable.


Fujitsu LifeBook N6470

The Good

Beautiful display; handy visual optimizer makes movies look great; well-rounded performance; stereo speakers, TV tuner, and remote control; full keyboard with number pad.

The Bad

Poor battery life; no option for a high-definition optical drive; stereo speakers aren't very loud.

The Bottom Line

Well-rounded in both features and performance, the large Fujitsu LifeBook N6470 combines computer and entertainment hub in one desktop-replacement laptop.

The laptop's biggest flaw is its embarrassingly brief battery life, though given its heft we doubt it will see much mobile use. Overall, the Fujitsu LifeBook N6470 offers an affordable and well-balanced media experience that would make a great all-in-one choice for a dorm room or small apartment.

Price as reviewed / Starting price $1,799 / $1,499
Processor 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T8300
Memory 3GB of 667MHz
Hard drive 2 x 250GB at 4,200rpm
Chipset Mobile Intel PM965 Express
Graphics 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2600
Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium
Dimensions (wide x deep x thick) 15.9x11.6x1.8 inches
Screen size (diagonal) 17.1 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 10.6 / 11.6 pounds
Category Desktop replacement

The design of the Fujitsu LifeBook N6470 calls to mind the look of the Qosmio G35 from a few years ago: all black, with beveled edges that help minimize the laptop's bulk. And it is bulky: at 10.6 pounds (11.6 pounds with its compact, but dense, power brick), the LifeBook N6470 isn't terribly mobile and will likely move only among rooms in your apartment.

The LifeBook N6470's widescreen display feels more expansive than its 17.1 inches, thanks to the thin bezel and bright (270 cd/m^2) screen. The 1,440x900 native resolution is typical for a screen of this size, though many high-end 17-inch laptops have a resolution of 1,920x1,200. Nevertheless, we really enjoyed watching movies on the N6470, an experience enhanced by Fujitsu's video optimization settings. A "Visual Optimizer" button above the keyboard lets you switch your display to Video Mode, which pumps up color and contrast, adds edge enhancement, and attempts to expand the luminance range of the image. The difference is noticeable; pushing the button in the middle of a movie created a striking contrast between the washed-out look of the PC Mode setting and the rich imagery of Video Mode. Though the screen does feature a glossy finish that helps colors pop, we were impressed by the lack of distracting reflections.

The large case leaves plenty of room for a full-size keyboard with 10-key number pad. The touch pad is offset to the left side of the chassis, with a fingerprint reader nestled between the two mouse buttons. The rest of the keyboard deck is admirably uncluttered: above the keyboard you'll find a volume rocker switch and an on-off switch for the wireless card, plus the aforementioned Visual Optimizer button and a four-way circular switch--similar to an iPod wheel--that switches between media playback controls and application quick-launch controls with the touch of a button.

  Fujitsu LifeBook N6470 Average for desktop replacement category
Video VGA-out, S-Video, HDMI VGA-out, S-Video, DVI
Audio Stereo speakers with subwoofer,headphone/microphone jacks Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks
Data Five USB 2.0, mini-FireWire, multiformat memory card reader Four USB 2.0, mini-FireWire, multiformat memory card reader
Expansion PC Card and ExpressCard PC Card and ExpressCard
Networking Modem, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi Modem, Ethernet, 802.11 a/b/g Wi-Fi
Optical drive DVD burner DVD burner

The LifeBook N6470's stereo speakers, complete with subwoofer, maintained a respectable balance, though the bass line did get muddy at maximum volume. Also, the maximum volume isn't quite as loud as we've come to expect from a multimedia desktop replacement; though it was enough to fill our small office, it wasn't loud enough to hear in the next room. Other key entertainment features on the LifeBook N6470 include a TV tuner for the laptop's ExpressCard slot and a remote control with an external USB receiver that can also connect to a cable set-top box. But for the lack of a high-definition optical drive (until recently the N series shipped with a now-obsolete HD DVD drive), the LifeBook N6470 could function well as an entertainment system in a dorm room or studio apartment.

With a generous 3GB of RAM, the LifeBook N6470 performed well on CNET Labs' benchmarks, though it trailed similar systems on our Photoshop test. The laptop's video-oriented 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2600 GPU--from the same family as the GPU found in the HP Pavilion HDX--even produced decent frame rates for gaming, falling just slightly behind the $1,699 Gateway P-6831FX. Overall, while the LifeBook N6470 didn't exactly excel on any of our benchmarks, it demonstrated well-rounded performance for a variety of media, entertainment, and multitasking uses.

We don't generally ask much of a desktop replacement's battery; after all, an 11-pound laptop isn't likely to spend much time away from a power outlet. Still, the LifeBook N6470's 59-minute battery life makes it one of the shortest-lived laptops we've tested. (In fact, it lasted only a few minutes more than laptops with desktop processors, such as the quad-core Xtreme Notebooks 917V Accelerator.)

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.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Fujitsu LifeBook N6470

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Fujitsu LifeBook N6470

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Fujitsu LifeBook N6470

Unreal Tournament 3 (in frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1280x800, 4X AA, 8X AF  
1440x900, 4X AA, 8X AF  
Gateway P-6831FX
Fujitsu LifeBook N6470
Enpower 780

DVD battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Fujitsu LifeBook N6470

Find out more about how we test laptops.

Fujitsu LifeBook N6470
Windows Vista Home Premium Edition; 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T8300; 3,072MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD2600; 2 x 250GB Fujitsu 4,200rpm

Toshiba Satellite X205-SLi4
Windows Vista Home Ultimate Edition; 2.1GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T8100; 3,072MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 256MB (x2) w/ SLi Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT; 160GB (x2) Hitachi 7,200rpm

Gateway P-6831FX
Windows Vista Home Premium Edition; 1.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5450; 3,072MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 512MB Nvidia GeForce 8800M GTS; 250GB Western Digital 5,400rpm SATA/150

Enpower 780
Windows Vista Home Premium Edition; 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7700; 3,072MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 512MB Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT; 250GB Western Digital 5,400rpm


Fujitsu LifeBook N6470

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 8Performance 7Battery 0Support 7