What's hot: The Fujitsu LifeBook P8020 runs Office applications, web browsers and even FPS games well. Has a very beefy 8700 mAh battery for very good battery life.
What's not: The display’s viewing angle is very limited viewing. The display is grainy and isn’t terribly bright. The gesture touchpad takes some getting used to (see more details below).
Reviewed March 27, 2009 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor
Fujitsu currently makes 18 notebook models for the US market ranging from the 16-inch LifeBook N7010 desktop replacement to the extreme ultra portable 5.6-inch LifeBook U820. Many of these models are Tablet PCs that feature either swivel convertible or the slate designs. While many notebook makers, most noticeably Apple and Sony, have left the 12.1-inch notebook market, Fujitsu thrives on it largely thanks to touch screen Tablet PC technology. Aside from the two slate style 12-inch notebooks, Fujitsu offers 2 convertible Tablet PC models and two non-Tablet PC models in 12.1-inch size. In some ways, this helps ultralight notebook shoppers decide which model fits their needs and desires. To further separate the two non-Tablet PC models, the LifeBook P8020 and the LifeBook B6230, Fujitsu gave the P8020 the faster Intel Core 2 Duo SU9400 (Penryn) processor and a super-light chasis that weighs only 2.9 pounds. In contrast, the B6230 has the Intel Core 2 Duo Ultra Low voltage U7600 (Merom) processor, a touch-sensitive screen and a heavier (3.2 lbs), more durable magnesium-alloy body.
The Fujitsu LifeBook P8020 runs on the Intel Core 2 Duo processor SU9400 at 1.40GHz with 2GB memory and a 160GB hard drive. Since the Fujitsu P8020 is available build-to-order, you can up the ante on the memory and hard drive to 4GB of memory and up to 320GB HDD or a 128GB SSD if you have the cash. For example, if you upgrade the notebook’s memory to 4GB and the storage option to 128GB SSD, the price jumps from $1,799 to $2,899.
Design and Ergonomics
Compared to the Toshiba Portege A600 12.1-inch notebook, the Fujitsu LifeBook P8020 is a light one. Measuring 10.79 x 8.27 x 1.12 inches and weighing 2.9 pounds, the LifeBook P8020 is both slimmer and lighter than the Portege. The notebook has a matte black body with a shiny piano black lid that adds a touch of style while still being suitable for business. If you’re looking for a business-oriented notebook that’s easy to carry, the Fujitsu feels incredibly light in hand yet isn’t too small for spreadsheet work and web surfing in readable font sizes.
The 82-key US keyboard feels good to type on and has both adequate travel and tactile feedback when you press the keys. The keyboard has a normal layout. The touchpad below the keyboard is a bit different: it supports gesture touch. For example, you can pinch in and out with two fingers on the touchpad to zoom in and out on a page, similar to recent Apple MacBook models’ trackpads and the iPhone’s touch screen. You can also use the touchpad to scroll pages using the right-edge of the touchpad or draw circles on the touchpad. While we liked the cool gesture support, we found the cursor tended to drift even after we stopped using the touchpad. Annoying. Unlike many notebooks’ smooth touchpads, the Fujitsu’s touchpad has a “rough” surface and it sits almost flush with the wrist rest area, both of which take some getting used to.
The fingerprint reader lives between the two mouse buttons, and works with the embedded TPM. The system LED lights live above the keyboard next to four quick launch buttons that launch Support, Power saving mode, Presentation mode and web browser. The notebook’s power on button is conveniently located here as well, next to the quick launch buttons, and the notebook’s dual speakers flank the LED and menu buttons. The 1.3 megapixel webcam is integrated in the bezel above the display.
Hardware and Performance
The Fujitsu LifeBook P8020 runs on the Intel Core 2 Duo U9400 at 1.4GHz with 2GB memory. The notebook has 2 DIMM slots and can address up to 4GB of DDR3 800 MHz RAM. The notebook has the integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD and can play video and most games just fine. Fujitsu offers many hard drive options for the LifeBook P8020 ranging from 160GB-320GB HDD to 64GB or 128GB solid state drives. As we’d expect, the solid state hard drive scores very high on benchmark tests.
We put the Fujitsu LifeBook P8020 through FutureMark’s PCMark 05 benchmark tests with the power management setting at Balanced. Our test notebook runs at 1.4GHz with 2GB memory and a 64GB SSD. Here are the benchmark numbers along with the Windows Vista Experience Index Score:
Total score: 3.1
Gaming graphics: 3.3
Primary hard disk: 5.9
These are good numbers for the processor and the SSD really shines with an excellent score. The notebook played multimedia files well and we installed third-party business software and even somewhat graphically demanding games and all ran smoothly. Playing movies from Netflix and Hulu was very smooth with no noticeable dropped frames or hiccups in performance. We tested games like F.E.A.R. at native resolution on the Fujitsu and they ran fine.
The Fujitsu LifeBook P8020 has a built-in dual-layer multi-format DVD writer without labeling support. The DVD drive feels speedy playing movies, though the built-in stereo speakers sound a bit harsh and buzz when the volume is turned very high. The Fujitsu has 3 USB 2.0 ports (two on the left, one on the right), a VGA out port, a headphone jack and mic in jack as well as an RJ-45 LAN and Ethernet connector. For additional storage and communications, the notebook also has a PC card slot for Type I or II cards and an SD card slot.
The Fujitsu has Intel’s Wi-Fi Link 5300 quad mode 802.11 a/b/g/n wireless adapter and has a very good range and speed. We played movies from online sites via our 802.11n router, and found the performance was smooth. Fujitsu will offer the LifeBook P8020 with WiMAX in the future. Bluetooth v2.1 is available as an option.
Unlike the Toshiba Portege A600 12-in notebook which ships with both 32 and 64 bit versions of Vista (you pick one to install when you first boot the laptop), the Fujitsu LifeBook P8020 ships only with Windows Vista 32-bit Business Edition. Fujitsu includes a stack of recovery discs with the notebook, and these discs include Fujitsu Trusted Platform Module drivers and apps, a Windows XP restore disc and utility disc, ArcSoft WebCam Companion 2 disc, Roxio Creator LJ, CyberLink PowerDirector DE in addition to Windows Vista Business Edition restore and drivers disc. Fujitsu also includes its own LifeBook Application Panel interface that allows you to launch an application with a single click, along with Adobe Acrobat Reader, as well as the CyberLink PowerDVD for movie playback. Similar to many of today’s notebooks, the LifeBook P8020 offers trial versions of MS Office Pro 2007 (60-day trial) and Norton Internet Security (90-day trial).
The Fujitsu LifeBook P8020 with SSD configuration has amazing battery life. The 6-cell 8700 mAh battery easily lasted 5.5 hours when running productivity applications at the Balanced power setting. The default Balanced power setting is so dim it’s almost unusable. You can use Vista’s built-in power setting tool to increase the display brightness in Balanced mode, thank goodness. Streaming movies over Wi-Fi at the High Performance power setting lasted us 4.5 hours. The notebook comes with a medium-sized AC power supply (100-240V).
With the latest Intel Core 2 Duo processors (even the ultra low voltage ones), notebooks like the Fujitsu LifeBook P8020 are a perfect fit for business users who need an ultralight that’s capable of running MS Office apps, web browsers, Photoshop and phone syncing tools (like the BlackBerry desktop software) well. At 2.9 lbs., the Fujitsu is lighter and a bit faster than the Toshiba Portege A600, and it shines when it’s armed with a Solid State Drive. The notebook has all the necessary ports, a built-in optical drive and most security features. The super capacity main battery will lure business travelers who are often away from a power outlet and the notebook has a business serious but stylish look. Though the notebook performs well at multimedia and wireless, the display disappoints with a Tablet PC-like grainy screen and very limited viewing angle, and the speakers could sound better.
Display: 12.1” diagonal widescreen backlit LED display at 1280 x 800 native resolution (WXGA). Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD shared graphics memory.
Battery: 6-cell Lithium Ion battery pack, 8700mAh. Auto sensing dual voltage AC adapter, 100-240V.
Performance: Intel Core 2 Duo processor SU9400 model at 1.40GHz, 3MB L2 cache, 800MHz front side bus. 2GB memory DDR3 SDRAM, 4GB max.
Size: 10.79 x 8.27 x 1.12 inches. Weight: 2.9 lbs.
Drives: 64 GB solid state drive. Dual-Layer Multi-Format DVD Writer.
Webcam: 1.3MP webcam.
Audio: Built-in stereo speaker, mic, mic input port and headphone out port.
Networking: Intel Wi-Fi Link 5300AGN (802.11a/b/g/n) and 10/100/1000 gigabit Ethernet. RJ-45 LAN port. Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR optional.
Ports and Slots: 3 USB 2.0 ports, SD card reader, PC card slot, VGA monitor port and 3.5mm mic-in port. Also included: fingerprint reader with embedded TPM.
Software: Windows Vista Business Edition (32-bit) Operating System. Windows XP included on disc. Adobe Acrobat Reader, CyberLink PowerDVD Player and Roxio Disc Creator LJ and Google tools. Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer included. Recovery disc for Vista Business and utility tools included. Trial software includes: Microsoft Office Professional 2007 Edition (60-day trial) and Norton Internet Security (90-day trial).