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Fujitsu LifeBook SH560 review: Fujitsu LifeBook SH560

The SH560 is a light, portable laptop that sits comfortably in the mid-range field. We'd love to see more RAM in there and better speakers, but everything else makes sense. For more power in the same package, check out the SH760.

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Craig Simms
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Craig Simms

Special to CNET News

Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.

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Fujitsu's SH560 bears an uncanny resemblance to the SH760 — the major point of difference being the Core i5 in the SH560, the Core i7 in the SH760.

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8.0

Fujitsu LifeBook SH560

The Good

Solid mid-range performanceDecent battery life.

The Bad

Only 2GB RAMHorrific speakersTiny touch padShortcut buttons make annoying beep noises.

The Bottom Line

The SH560 is a light, portable laptop that sits comfortably in the mid-range field. We'd love to see more RAM in there and better speakers, but everything else makes sense. For more power in the same package, check out the SH760.

There are a few other differences, like the arrangement of the buttons beneath the monitor and the deep purple sparkly finish that appears black unless it's in direct light, but for all intents and purposes this is the same chassis as the SH760 with a few tweaks, right down to the bizarre dedicated scroll wheel.

The aforementioned dedicated buttons found beneath the monitor are increasingly becoming a rarity, with shortcuts to Fujitsu's Support Center software, the default web browser, default mail client, battery eco mode and CyberLink YouCam being provided, each press accompanied by an incredibly annoying noise.

The keys that make up the keyboard are tapered and sit flush with each other, bucking the recent island-style found on most laptops since Apple forged the trend. The tiny touch pad that Fujitsu can't seem to let go is still featured here, encouraging cramping, while a fingerprint reader is nestled between the right and left mouse buttons.

Fujitsu equips the SH560 with a 1366x768, 13.3-inch glossy screen which is quite nice indeed — sadly, this isn't followed up by the speakers, which lack impact, easily distort and have no bass whatsoever. Headphones or speakers only for this one.

The SH560 is better equipped than the entry-level LH530, featuring both HDMI and VGA ports, three USB ports, a hardware wireless switch, ExpressCard 54 slot, DVD+-RW drive and gigabit Ethernet. It supports Bluetooth as well, and thanks to the Intel N-6200 AGN wireless card, supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless N.

Specs-wise, it sports a Core i5 M520 clocked at 2.4GHz, 2GB RAM, a 320GB hard drive and Nvidia GeForce 310M graphics; unfortunately, it means that it misses out on Optimus, Nvidia's technology that allows it to switch back to the more battery-friendly Intel graphics when it doesn't require heavy 3D power.

Our sample ran Windows 7 Professional 64-bit, and also came bundled with a Microsoft Office trial, CyberLink PowerDirector and YouCam and Roxio Creator LJ, keeping things nice and light.

Performance

The SH560 managed a good show in 3DMark06, pulling 3776. This should mean it will be fine for older games like Left 4 Dead. It's PCMark05 score of 6218 also makes it great for office and productivity tasks, arguably the market that Fujitsu is going after. We'd love more RAM in there though — 2GB these days is chicken feed. Most vendors start at four.

Battery life was acceptable, at one hour 52 minutes. This is using our worst-case scenario test, turning off all power-saving features, setting screen brightness and volume to maximum, and playing back an XviD video file at full screen. Casual use will see this time increase notably.

The SH560 is a light, portable laptop that sits comfortably in the mid-range field. We'd love to see more RAM in there and better speakers, but everything else makes sense. For more power in the same package, check out the SH760.