While most Ultrabooks are aimed at consumers, Fujitsu is making sure business users are covered, too. The $1,149 Fujitsu LifeBook U772 takes features such as an Ivy Bridge processor and an SSD and combines them with a fingerprint scanner, a SIM card slot and a docking connector. Add to that a 14-inch display in an attractive 13-inch chassis and all-day battery life, and you've got yourself a potent mix. Is this the ideal Ultrabook for road warriors?
With its sturdy silver magnesium alloy and distinctive chrome logo smack dab in the center, the LifeBook U772 is sort of a cross between the MacBook Air and the Sony VAIO T Series 13. And that's a good thing. The lid repels fingerprints, and we like that the small lip along the front makes the machine easy to open.
The U772's black brushed magnesium-alloy interior helps this Ultrabook stand out more. We were especially fond of the delicate etched pattern across the top of the deck. The spun metal power button next to the Eco-mode button, above the recessed keyboard, is another a nice touch. The fingerprint scanner sits on the lower right side of the deck.
At an even 3 pounds, the 12.8 x 8.8 x 0.67-inch U772 matches the 13.3 x 8.9 x 0.44-0.66 ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A in terms of weight. That's all the more impressive, because this Ultrabook has a 14-inch screen to the ASUS' 13-inch panel. The 12.72 x 0.71 x 8.9-inch Sony VAIO T13 is slightly heavier at 3.4 pounds.
Display and Audio
The LifeBook U772's 14-inch glossy screen is nearly edge to edge, which means there's a very thick bezel. Colors certainly looked vibrant when watching movies. Red-orange explosions looked rich in the 1080p "Resident Evil: Retribution" trailer, and Ada Wong's signature blood-red dress really popped. Contrast was also quite good, with only minor pixelation during darker scenes. Viewing angles were wide enough for two people to watch videos without the image washing out.
At 167 lux, the LifeBook U772's display is dimmer than the 233 lux category average, but on a par with the T13 (163 lux). The Inspiron 14z's display shined brighter at 254 lux, while the UX31A's 1080p screen trumps the field with 423 lux.
Don't expect to use the U772 without a pair of headphones handy. As we watched the "Resident Evil" trailer, the volume was disappointingly low. Despite having the DTS Boost technology enabled, the speakers neutered the effects of an otherwise action-packed sequence. The energetic guitar on Queen's "Another One Bites The Dust" lacked its usual punch, as did Freddie Mercury's distinctive vocals. Bass and the percussion were virtually nonexistent.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Lifebook U772 features a fairly large black matte island-style keyboard. The flat keys are large and nicely spaced, but offered minimal travel, causing us to press harder than normal. This was especially evident with the Space bar during the Ten Thumbs Typing Test. Our error rate jumped to 3 percent from our usual 1 percent while our words per minute average dropped from 50 to 45. Furthermore, the keyboard lacks backlighting.
The 3.7 x 2.3-inch Synaptics ClickPad on this Ultrabook delivered responsive, accurate movement. Multitouch gestures, including two-finger scroll and three-finger flick, were fairly fluid. Two-finger rotate and pinch-zoom adjusted the screen in steady increments, the speed of which could be adjusted in the Synaptics control panel. A lightly etched "T" designates the left and right buttons on the ClickPad. This is key, because pressing down anywhere above this area is much harder than below the line.
Fingerprint Seader and Security Features
Fujitsu's fingerprint reader was a pleasure to use. Once we launched the Softex OmniPass software, we were prompted to create a Windows password. From there, we enrolled our fingers with a quick four swipes each. It eliminated the frustration programs such as HP SimplePass software can create, forcing us to adjust the speed of our finger swipes repeatedly before it can get a good read. We also like that the software allowed us to create a master password tied to a finger that could be applied to websites and email.
Other security measures include BIOS-level password protection and the Portshutter utility. This software lets administrators lock down certain ports to prevent someone from copying sensitive data to such devices as a USB stick. A Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip is available on other configurations.
Lastly, the U772 comes with a 90-day free trial of Absolute Data Protect security software.
After streaming a full-screen Hulu video for 15 minutes, the underside and the G and H keys measured a balmy 90 and 94 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. The touchpad registered a cool 80 degrees. Those temperatures are below our 95-degree comfort threshold, but the area just to the right of the fan, along the bottom of the notebook, registered 99 degrees.
The LifeBook U772's HD webcam captures stills and video at 1280 x 800 using CyberLink YouCam. The images exhibited a good amount of color accuracy, faithfully capturing our lime-green dress. There was a lot of graininess throughout the picture, however, that took away from the overall image.
The right side of the U772 houses two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, an SD card reader and a mini-Gigabit Ethernet port. A USB 2.0 port, headphone jack, secure lock slot and AC adapter jack sit on the left. A SIM card slot is on the back edge, and a docking connector and a tiny reset pinhole are on the bottom of the notebook.
While the mini-Ethernet port helps Fujitsu keep the U772 nice and svelte, we aren't fans of having to fork over an additional $29 for the adapter. Another point of contention is the chintzy port cover protecting the SIM card slot, which feels like it can be easily pulled off.
The Fujitsu LifeBook U772 delivered solid performance during our benchmark and real-world testing. Thanks to its 1.7-GHz Intel Core i5-3317U CPU with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, the U772 ably streamed video from Netflix with a full system scan running in the background. Plus, there were several open tabs in Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.
The U772 notched a very good 5,066 on the PCMark07 benchmark, 2,256 points above the ultraportable category average. That was more than enough to beat the 1.9-GHz Intel Core i7-3517U-powered ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A (4,989). It also surpassed the Dell Inspiron 14z (2,984) and the Sony VAIO T Series 13 (3,334), which have the same processor as the U772.
The LifeBook U772's Micron RealSSD 128GB SSD booted Windows 7 Professional (64-bit) in a zippy 27 seconds, beating the 46-second average. The Inspiron 14z (32GB SSD, 500GB 5,400-rpm hard drive) clocked in at 0:28 while the VAIO T13 (500GB and 32GB MLC Hybrid SSD) notched 0:25. The UX31A's 256GB SSD loaded Windows in a swift 0:23. During our resume from sleep tests, the U772 took an average of 1.7 seconds, which is within the Ultrabook guidelines.
We duplicated 4.97GB of multimedia files on the U772 in 42 seconds for a transfer rate of 121.2 MBps. That's 70.2 MBps faster than the category average. The UX31A, 14z and T13 were left in the dust with speeds of 51.4, 29.8 and 18.6 MBps, respectively.
On the OpenOffice Spreadsheet Macro test, the U772 took 6 minutes and 12 seconds to match 20,000 names to their corresponding addresses, comfortably ahead of the 8:12 Ultrabook average. The UX31A, 14z and T13 finished in 4:59, 5:47 and 5:53.
Being equipped with an Intel HD Graphic 4000 GPU makes playing some of the most popular games more enjoyable, including "World of Warcraft." The LifeBook U772 averaged a playable 45 fps in WoW on autodetect at 1366 x 768p, slightly above the 40 fps average. The VAIO T13 scored 32 fps while the XPS 14 delivered a blazing 64 fps. When we cranked the settings up to maximum, the U772's frame rate dropped to an unplayable 18 fps, missing the 20 fps ultrabook average. The T13 delivered 15fps while the UX31A notched 22 fps. The Inspiron 14z and its AMD Radeon HD 7570M GPU graphics powered through with 32 fps.
On the 3DMark11 graphics test, the U772 scored 537, missing the 713 Ultrabook category average. Still, the ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A (643) and the Sony VAIO (456), which also have integrated Intel HD Graphic 4000, didn't fare much better. The Dell Inspiron 14z notched 902.
During the LAPTOP Battery Test (continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi), the Fujitsu LifeBook U772 lasted 7 hours and 4 minutes. While that's only 14 minutes longer than the Ultrabook average, this runtime is a good deal better than the UX31A (6:28), the 14z (5:35) and the VAIO T13 (5:05).
Software and Warranty
Fujitsu keeps the LifeBook U772 free of bloatware, including only helpful utilities. One of the more useful programs is Anytime USB Charge. This utility let us charge our USB devices even when the computer is sleeping. We could toggle between charge settings using the control panel.
With a press of a button, Fujitsu's Eco-mode disables Bluetooth and Wireless LAN, mutes the volume, dims the display and dials back the CPU speed to save power.
Other Fujitsu-branded software includes Support Center for troubleshooting and running diagnostics, while MyRecovery handles creating backups and restoring the system. Internet Explorer, Adobe Reader X, Windows Live and a 60-day free trial of Norton Internet Security 2012 round out the bundled apps.
The Fujitsu LifeBook U772 comes with a one-year international limited warranty with 24/7 tech support.
Our $1,149 review unit comes equipped with a 1.7-GHz Intel Core i5-3317U CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD and an Intel HD Graphics 4000 GPU. The $1,299 model is equipped with a 1.8-GHz Intel Core i5-3427U vPro processor, 4GB of RAM, a 320GB 5,400-rpm hard drive with a 32GB mSATA SSD cache and an Intel HD Graphics 4000 GPU. It also comes with one free year of LoJack for Laptops.
The $1,149 Fujitsu LifeBook U772 Ultrabook combines solid speed, long battery life and security in a lightweight and durable design. However, we wish the keyboard offered more travel and that the touchpad wasn't so stiff in the middle. For the money, we prefer the ASUS Zenbook UX31A with its full HD display, backlit keyboard and excellent audio for $1,079. Those looking for a business partner, though, may find the U772 better suited to their needs.