In the wake of the Apple MacBook Air and the Lenovo ThinkPad X300, with both cramming 13-inch screens into impressively thin 3-pound packages, we’re taking a harder look at traditional 12-inch ultraportables. The Fujitsu LifeBook P8010, which is priced between those two systems, lacks the sexiness of the former and the full-size keyboard and mobile broadband of the latter, but it offers good battery life and good enough performance for road warriors.
Fujitsu LifeBook P8010 Design
At just 3 pounds and 1.1 inches at its thinnest point (and 1.4 inches at its thickest), the P8010 is relatively chunky but its magnesium-alloy chassis feels wonderfully light. The design, too, is a pleasant upgrade from its predecessor, the LifeBook P7230. The glossy black lid looks sleek but does not pick up fingerprints easily. Underneath, you’ll find a matching piano-black bezel with a matte black keyboard and silver palm rests. In addition to the power button, two small speakers and four launch buttons lie above the keyboard. These launch the Fujitsu Support Center, which contains a manual, a link to the support site, and a diagnostic program; Fujitsu Power Saving Utility, which allows users to switch to power-saving mode with the touch of a button; Fujitsu Display Manager, with which you can adjust the resolution; and the default Web browser.
Although the LifeBook P8010’s keyboard seemed to have less flex than other Fujitsu systems we’ve tested, it’s cramped, even for those with slender fingers. On the bright side, the touch buttons were quiet and tactile, and the touchpad was smooth and accurate.
The P8010 also has three USB ports, FireWire, VGA, Ethernet, and modem jacks, headphone and mic ports, a combined PC Card/SD Card slot and a 1.3-megapixel webcam. The webcam showed dim images, even under fluorescent lights. Inconveniently, it’s placed left of center in the bezel, so to get the maximum amount of light on your face you have to position yourself off-center, too. The P8010 also has an integrated 6X DVD burner—a rarity for a notebook this small.
The 1280 x 800 display was bright but fuzzy when we watched an episode of "The Office." Viewing angles were mostly good except for when we tilted the screen back; then again, it’s kind of a moot point when you’re watching movies on a 12.1-inch screen. The speakers were predictably weak. Even with the volume cranked all the way up in a quiet room, the sound wasn’t very loud.
Safe and Secure
The P8010 comes equipped with a fingerprint reader, enabled by Softex OmniPass, but enrolling our fingerprints was frustrating; after swiping seven times, we were told that OmniPass was unable to obtain a usable fingerprint image. It also requires that you enroll two fingers. Because it only responds to a specific swipe speed, we had to try many times before successfully enrolling our fingerprints. Once you get the hang of it, however, logging into the notebook using the reader is quick and easy.
In addition to the fingerprint scanner, the P8010’s security features include TPM circuitry, Computrace compatibility, and a security lock slot. To protect your data, there is a shock-mounted hard drive, and Fujitsu’s Shock Sensor Utility, which parks the hard drive when it detects vibration or sudden movement. On the durability front, it also has a spill-resistant keyboard.
The P8010’s component list includes a 1.2-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo LV SL7100 processor, Windows Vista Business, 2GB of RAM, and a 5,400-rpm 120GB hard drive. Both our lab and hands-on tests showed mixed results. The system notched just 987 on 3DMark03, which falls about 300 points below the average for the ultraportable category (the ASUS U6S, which costs $200 less, scored a whopping 3,073). That said, we had no troubling playing a DVD, loading several tabs in Internet Explorer, and installing Vista updates simultaneously.
We wish the P8010 came with less trialware, however; starting up took 1 minute and 27 seconds—about 30 seconds more than most Vista notebooks. After we removed the unwanted programs, the bootup time dropped to 1:09.
The P8010’s 802.11 draft-n wireless connection showed scores of 16.6 Mbps at 15 feet and 15.4 Mbps at 50 feet. We also observed excellent battery life; it lasted 3 hours and 25 minutes on our DVD rundown test, which translates to about 5.5 hours of productivity.
The Fujitsu LifeBook P8010 has almost everything a road warrior could want in an ultraportable—a sleek, lightweight design with a built-in DVD burner, long battery life, and good enough performance for business tasks. If you can live with a slightly cramped keyboard, you’ll be satisfied with this lightweight notebook.