Fujitsu - LIFEBOOK P8110

Paying more than a thousand pounds for a laptop seems profligate these days, when you can get enough punch from half that amount to keep you happy if your computing needs are fairly middle of the road. Fujitsu specialises in business machines, though, and the LIFEBOOK P8110 is designed to offer good specifications in a small, portable and robust chassis.

With that in mind the LIFEBOOK P8110 doesn't impress with its processor choice of Intel Core 2 Duo SU9600 running at 1.6GHz. Graphics are integrated and managed by Intel's GMA 4500MHD chipset and there is 3GB of RAM. So on that front things are hardly cutting-edge.

Still, there is a 320GB hard drive (and you can opt for SSD), Wi-Fi runs to a/b/g and n and there is built-in 3G with a SIM slot underneath the battery and a webcam above the screen. Ethernet is built in, and Windows 7 Professional is the operating system.

Ports and connectors aren't exactly plentiful. There are three USB 2.0 ports and unfortunately two of these are very close together. We often find this is the case, and if your peripherals have large connectors, which many older ones do, then you may find one port is obscured while the other is in use.

It is nice to see an HDMI connector as well as a VGA-out port. There is an ExpressCard slot and SD card reader. There is an optical drive, too, something which sometimes gets omitted in notebooks with chassis as small as this one. At 282 x 215 x 29.9mm and 1.4kg this is definitely a small and light laptop.

And this, in fact, is a large part of what you pay for. The LIFEBOOK P8110 is exceptionally small and light for such a well configured machine, and the build quality is super too. It should travel well.

The 12.1-inch matt screen serves up 1280 x 800 clear, sharp pixels, but it is not going to be your cup of tea if you prefer the wider screen resolution of 1366 x 768 that is increasingly popular. You can, though, have two documents opened at the same time, and the extra pixels of height will mean a lot to word-workers in terms of a few extra lines of visible text in any document.

The keyboard is a little cramped and while those with dainty hands probably won't have any trouble, those who can hold a rugby ball in one hand might feel squeezed. More irritating is that there are no scrollzones in the touchpad. Instead you have to use the fingerprint sensor that sits between the two mouse buttons. This is a fiddle for vertical scrolling and we found it to be near-impossible for horizontal scrolling. Bad idea, Fujitsu.

Battery life is super. Fujitsu rates it as good for seven and a quarter hours. We got movie playback from a DVD for nearly four and a half hours on the 'balanced' power plan, with Wi-Fi on but not actually doing anything and screen brightness hiked up a couple of notches.

While the core specifications are not mind-blowing, the battery life and general usability of this notebook are both impressive. It is compact and portable, and with built in SIM support can be used for your mobile broadband requirements without the inconvenience of a dongle. Even so, the price is tough to swallow and would buy a cheaper notebook plus a spare battery or two from a different company.


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