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Fujitsu LifeBook S2210 review: Fujitsu LifeBook S2210

Fujitsu's business-oriented thin-and-light LifeBook S2210 offers plenty of features and strong performance, but its standard-aspect display isn't for everyone. Worse, its battery life fell below our expectations.

Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Dan Ackerman
5 min read

Thin-and-light laptops are the preferred style for many business travelers, offering a delicate balance between portability and usability. Larger, 15-inch systems are too bulky for regular travel, and ultraportables feature screens and keyboards that are too small for everyday use. The $1,979 Fujitsu LifeBook S2210 (configurations start at $1,299) is an AMD-based, 13.3-inch business laptop that offers business-friendly features such as Trusted Platform Module (TPM) and a hard drive shock sensor. It's an attractive, well-designed system that doesn't sacrifice performance, but the stodgy 4:3 screen and relatively short battery life are definite turn-offs. Toshiba's Tecra M5 offers better performance for the same price, but in a clunkier 14.1-inch design.


Fujitsu LifeBook S2210

The Good

Conservative (yet not boring) design; strong application performance; useful set of ports and connections.

The Bad

Display is not wide-screen; short battery life.

The Bottom Line

Fujitsu's business-oriented thin-and-light LifeBook S2210 offers plenty of features and strong performance, but its standard-aspect display isn't for everyone. Worse, its battery life fell below our expectations.

Measuring 11.5 inches wide, 9.4 inches deep, and 1.1 inches high, the LifeBook S2210 is on the small end of the thin-and-light spectrum, slightly larger than a Lenovo ThinkPad X60, but smaller than the Apple MacBook. It weighs 4.2 pounds (5.2 pounds with the A/C adapter), which is perfect for frequent commuting.

The gray-and-black design is conservative without being overly stiff, and we liked the system's design accents, from the gray media control buttons above the black keyboard to the rounded edge on the front lip. The touchpad's mouse buttons, however, were a bit too small and too close to the edge for our tastes.

The 13.3-inch LCD display eschews the wide-screen aspect ratio we've seen on the vast majority of current laptops. The 4:3 screen gives the system a more business-friendly look, but it also seems a bit anachronistic, although many business users prefer a square screen for Word and Excel use. Even Lenovo, the most buttoned-down of business system manufacturers, has a wide-screen version of its ThinkPad laptops. The 1024x768 screen resolution is a bit low for a 13.3-inch screen, making text and icons look too large. That resolution works better on a smaller screen--most 12.1-inch ultraportable laptops have a 1024x800 resolution (the wide-screen 12.1-inch LifeBook P7230 has a 1024x768 resolution). Fujitsu calls its screen technology Crystal View, but it's actually a LED-backlit display, good for brighter images and better battery life.

The system supplies a standard set of connections, including three USB 2.0 jacks, a mini FireWire jack, headphone and mic jacks, a Type I/II PC card slot, a media card reader, a fingerprint reader, and VGA and S-video outputs (the S-video requires an included adapter) for hooking up an external monitor. Networking connections include a modem and Gigabit Ethernet jacks, Bluetooth, and integrated 802.11a/b/g wireless. We especially liked the included media card reader--that's something many business laptops skip.

Components on our review unit include a 1.6GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-52 CPU, a healthy 2GB of DDR2 RAM, ATI Radeon X1150 graphics, a DVD burner, and a 100GB 5400rpm hard drive, all running under Windows Vista Business. The less expensive $1,299 configuration keeps the same CPU, but knocks the RAM down to a mere 512MB (which we'd strongly advise against, unless, as in this case, it's running Vista Home Basic) and the hard drive to 40GB, while skipping extras such as the fingerprint reader and Bluetooth. Because the S2210 is considered a business system, Windows XP is still available as an option--largely because system administrators and IT types feel more comfortable with the established OS.

While AMD continues to play second fiddle to Intel's popular Core 2 Duo and Core Duo CPUs, the LifeBook S2210 AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-52 managed to hold its own against two thin-and-light Core 2 Duo laptops, the Toshiba Satellite U205-S5057 and the ASUS W7J (a Windows XP laptop we upgraded to Vista ourselves), both of which had 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5500 CPUs--although the performance differences in our tests weren't great. In anecdotal use, the LifeBook S2210 felt quick and responsive while Web surfing, playing media files, and working on office documents. The system's 2GB of RAM (double that of the other systems) no doubt helped.

A thin-and-light laptop, designed for frequent travel, requires excellent battery life. The LifeBook S2210 ran for 1 hour and 36 minutes on our DVD battery drain test, using the included 6-cell battery. This score was disappointing, especially since the similar Toshiba Satellite U205 ran for 2 hours and 19 minutes. Our DVD battery drain test is tough on batteries, and you can expect more work time if you're Web surfing or using productivity apps.

Fujitsu backs the system with an industry standard, one-year parts-and-labor warranty. Upgrading to three years costs $179, and adding onsite service for three years is an additional $149 (on top of the $179). Fujitsu provides 24-7, toll-free phone support for the life of your warranty, and a support Web site offers live chat with a technician, along with the expected FAQs, driver downloads, and product manuals.

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System configurations:

Fujitsu LifeBook S2210
Windows Vista Business Edition; 1.6GHz AMD Turion 64 x2 TL-52; 2,048MB DDR2 SDRAM 638MHz; 128MB ATI Radeon Xpress 1150; 100GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

Toshiba Satellite U205-S5057
Windows Vista Home Premium Edition; 1.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5500; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 528MHz; 224MB Mobile Intel 945GM Express Chipset; 160GB Hitachi, 5,400rpm

ASUS W7J (Vista Ultimate Upgrade)
Windows Vista Ultimate Upgrade; 1.66 Intel Core 2 Duo T5500; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 528MHz; 512MB Nvidia GeForce Go 7400; 100GB Fujitsu 5,400rpm SATA/150

Toshiba Satellite A135-S4467
Windows Vista Home Premium Edition; 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5200; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 528MHz; 224MB Mobile Intel 945GM Express Chipset;160GB Hitachi, 5400rpm


Fujitsu LifeBook S2210

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 8Performance 7Battery 5Support 6