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Fujitsu LifeBook S7211 review: Fujitsu LifeBook S7211

Fujitsu LifeBook S7211

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
4 min read

On its own, the Fujitsu LifeBook S7211 is an adequate budget laptop for small-business users. Its compact design doesn't take up too much room in a laptop bag, and its glossy, 14.1-inch display looks great whether you're crunching numbers or watching a movie on the plane. Its relatively low price--our review unit cost $1,099--means that we might be willing to overlook the laptop's somewhat basic feature set and mediocre performance. The LifeBook S7211 suffers in comparison to other low-cost laptops, however, especially the Lenovo 300 N200. For $999, the Lenovo 300 N200 offers many of the same features as the LifeBook S7211, plus a few more ports, Bluetooth, a fingerprint reader, and a more recent (and faster) Core 2 Duo processor. The LifeBook S7211 has only two advantages over the Lenovo: its slightly more compact design and its lengthy battery life. But if you're not likely to use your laptop on the road, these characteristics are not worth the trade-off in features and price.


Fujitsu LifeBook S7211

The Good

Lengthy battery life, especially for such a low-cost system; compact design; attractive display; well-priced warranty upgrades available.

The Bad

Mediocre performance; small touch pad; minimal feature set.

The Bottom Line

The Fujitsu LifeBook S7211 boasts a lengthy battery life, but its bare-bones feature set and mediocre performance suffer in comparison with competing low-cost laptops.
Price as configured / Starting price $1,099 / $899
Processor 1.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T52500
Memory 1GB of 667MHz
Hard drive 120GB at 5,400rpm
Graphics Intel GMA X3100 (integrated)
Chipset Intel GM965
Operating system Windows Vista Business
Dimensions (wide x deep x thick) 13.2 x 9.5 x 1.4 inches
Screen size (diagonal) 14.1 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 5.3 / 6.3 pounds
Category mainstream

Though the LifeBook S7211's price starts at an appealing $899, that amount includes a pokey Pentium dual-core processor and merely a CD burner. Our review unit cost $200 more but ups the configuration to a more acceptable (though still low-end) Core 2 Duo processor and a DVD burner. Each of the four LifeBook S7211 models is a fixed configuration with only 1GB of RAM. Though the laptop can accommodate up to 4GB in two slots, unfortunately, an upgrade isn't available directly from Fujitsu; if you want more RAM, you'll have to install it yourself. If you don't plan to add more memory yourself, we recommend one of the Windows XP Pro models, which requires less muscle to run than Vista Business.

  Fujitsu LifeBook S7211 Average for mainstream category
Video VGA-out, Webcam VGA-out, S-Video
Audio Mono speaker, headphone jack Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks
Data Three USB 2.0, multiformat memory card reader USB 2.0, mini-FireWire, multiformat memory card reader
Expansion ExpressCard PC Card
Networking Modem, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Modem, Ethernet, 802.11 a/b/g Wi-Fi, optional Bluetooth
Optical drive DVD burner DVD burner

The otherwise basic feature set on the Fujitsu LifeBook S7211 benefits from the inclusion of a built-in Webcam and ExpressCard slot, neither of which is standard for a low-cost system. Also worth noting is the laptop's color scheme, which should blend in with even more expensive business systems: aside from a light-gray keyboard and deck, the case is entirely black.

The LifeBook S7211's performance on CNET Labs' benchmarks proved slightly better than that of similarly configured systems, such as the Toshiba Satellite M205 and Fujitsu's own LifeBook A6110. However, the LifeBook S7211 suffers in comparison with several other laptops that cost less than $1,000, such as the Lenovo 3000 N200 and the Gateway M-1618. While the LifeBook S7211 proved adequate for basic media playback, Web surfing, and productivity, it did occasionally bog down when attempting all three simultaneously, and its paltry allotment of RAM held it back on our Photoshop test. We strongly recommend doubling the laptop's RAM (if you're comfortable installing it yourself).

Though its performance wasn't best-in-class, the LifeBook S7211's battery life has much to recommend it. The laptop lasted 2 hours and 41 minutes on our taxing DVD battery drain test. That's well beyond what we'd expect from a budget system and easily outlasted both the similarly priced and the similarly configured competition.

Befitting a wholly average laptop, the LifeBook S7211 ships with an industry-standard, one-year warranty. Warranty extensions and upgrades are reasonably priced, and Fujitsu offers a no-questions-asked Screen Damage Protection Plan for an additional cost.

Multimedia multitasking test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Fujitsu LifeBook S7211

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Fujitsu LifeBook S7211

Apple iTunes encoding test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Fujitsu LifeBook S7211

DVD battery drain test
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Fujitsu LifeBook S7211

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System configurations:

Fujitsu LifeBook S7211
Windows Vista Business Edition; 1.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5250; 1024MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 128MB Intel Mobile 965GM Express; 120GB Fujitsu 5,400rpm

Gateway M-1618
Windows Vista Home Premium Edition; 1.9GHz AMD Turion 64x2 TL-58; 2,048MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 256MB ATI Radeon x1270; 250GB Western Digital 5,400rpm

Gateway T-6815
Windows Vista Home Premium Edition; 1.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5250; 1024MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 256MB Mobile Intel 965GM Express; 160GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

Lenovo 3000 N200
Windows Vista Home Premium Edition; 1.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7100; 2048MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 256MB Mobile Intel 965GM; 80GB Seagate Momentus 5,400rpm

Toshiba Satellite M205-S7452
Windows Vista Home Premium Edition; 1.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5250; 1024MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 128MB Intel Mobile 965GM Express; 160GB Hitachi 5,400rpm


Fujitsu LifeBook S7211

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 5Performance 4Battery 8Support 7