Striking a fine balance between performance and design is the Fujitsu LifeBook E8410, the successor to the E8210. The system packs in all the essentials needed to keep mobile professionals productive in the office and (occasionally) on the go: a fast Intel Core 2 Duo processor, excellent Wi-Fi throughput, security features, a shock-mounted 100GB hard drive, and discrete Nvidia graphics. Toss in a $1,849 price tag and you have an affordable business machine that should satisfy even the most demanding user.
Weighing in at 6.2 pounds and measuring 14.1 x 10.1 x 1.4 inches, the E8410 is too bulky for toting around town on a daily basis, but it's still small enough to be a sleek desktop alternative that goes with you to in-office meetings. Its attractive black matte body is highlighted by a shiny bezel and silver base and doesn't look as stuffy as some of its all-business brethren.
Lifting the lid reveals a bright 15.4-inch widescreen display (1280 x 800 pixels) that could have benefited from a higher resolution; the visuals weren't as sharp as they could have been. We enjoyed wide viewing angles while watching Black Snake Moan, but the vertical angles were very tight and will keep you right around the 90-degree mark. A 1.3-megapixel webcam resides above the display for Web conferencing with colleagues. Although you can opt for a higher-res WSXGA+ panel (an extra $45), that option doesn't come with a webcam.
At the display's base are four programmable quick-launch buttons that open Notepad, Calculator, Internet Explorer 7, and e-mail (or any other user-defined application). There's also a tiny LCD that displays the status for battery life, caps lock, wireless, and more, but the closely packed monochrome icons were difficult to read at a glance. Tinny stereo speakers flank the spill-resistant keyboard. The keys are neither too stiff nor too bouncy, and the layout has enough room to position your hands comfortably while typing.
On the right side of the machine is a modular bay that houses a dual-layer 8X DVD+/-RW optical drive. Flicking a small switch on the back of the E8410 lets you remove the drive to shave some weight or to swap in a six-cell battery ($100). A biometric fingerprint reader is nestled between the smallish touchpad buttons for enhanced security and added scrolling functionality, and a Smart Card slot grants corporate-level security. Inside, you'll find TPM circuitry for encrypting your data.
Powered by a speedy 2.2-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500 processor and 1GB of RAM, the Fujitsu LifeBook E8410 churned out a respectable 4,397 on our PCMark05 test, an above-average score that makes the E8410 plenty suitable for day-to-day productivity chores. However, we recommend bumping up the RAM to 2GB (for $130, in this case), especially for multitaskers.
Offsetting the lack of RAM somewhat is the discrete Nvidia GeForce 8400M GT graphics processor with 128MB of memory, which produced a decent--albeit below-average--3DMark03 score of 3,294. Our F.E.A.R. test saw a blazing 92 frames per second while on autodetect settings (a low 640 x 480-pixel resolution), which dropped to an unplayable 12 fps with the settings maxed out. While hardcore gaming is out of the question, more casual players who don't mind the clunky visuals can have fun with the latest 3D titles. The graphics muscle also rendered Windows Vista Business' Aero interface beautifully, showcasing the GUI's transparencies and smoothly handling Windows Flip 3D.
You should get a decent amount of work done before needing to recharge the eight-cell battery. It lasted 2 hours and 27 minutes on our DVD rundown test; for typical use, we'd expect closer to four hours. Given this system's size and weight, that runtime should be plenty as you probably won't be taking this system on long trips.
The move to Intel's Next Generation Centrino platform also brought along strong wireless performance courtesy of the embedded 802.11a/g/n radio. It moved data along at a rate of 18.7 Mbps at 15 feet away from our access point, and dipped slightly to 17.7 Mbps at 50 feet away.
Expandability options abound with the E8410. The system includes four USB 2.0 slots, FireWire, S-Video, Smart Card, a 2-in-1 memory card reader, and a PC Card/ExpressCard combo slot. Fujitsu backs the system with a one-year limited international warranty with 24/7 technical support. The E8410 comes with Adobe Acrobat Reader, CyberLink PowerDVD, CyberLink PowerProducer, a 90-day trial of Norton Internet Security 2006, Roxio Easy Media Creator, and a bunch of Fujitsu's homegrown utilities.
Although it's a bit on the heavy side, the Fujitsu LifeBook E8410 is a fine choice for business users looking for a powerful dual-core machine that combines power and performance into an attractive, reasonably priced package. However, once you add in the cost for a sharper display and the RAM needed to future-proof your purchase, the E8410 looks like less of a bargain.
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