Fujitsu Proves Good Things Still Come in Small Packages

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print

Review: Portability without compromise! Fujitsu's newest member of the LifeBook series packs a 14.1-inch widescreen display and high performance into a four-pound package.

Notebook computers have always been a bundle of compromises; those that perform well are often heavy and expensive, while those that travel well lack features and performance. Each notebook manufacturer has struggled to balance the compromises to deliver the ideal notebook computer for the masses. But, that has proved to be an almost impossible task; most manufacturers have resorted to offering multiple product lines. Each of which is designated for specific needs, such as desktop replacement, ultra-portable and traditional notebook systems.

Whether by design or accident, Fujitsu may very well have achieved what many manufacturers have strived to accomplish; a notebook computer that approaches perfection for the masses. With the introduction of the LifeBook S6510, Fujitsu has managed to cram a large screen, full-size keyboard, good battery life and high performance into a svelte four-pound package. Does that make the unit the perfect notebook? Absolutely not! But, the S6510 climbs higher on the slippery slope of perfection than most other notebooks on the market.

Most users will appreciate that the S6510 incorporates a 14.1-inch widescreen LCD, which is crystal clear, plenty bright, LED backlit and offers WXGA (1,280 x 800) resolution. Although this reviewer would like to see a higher resolution option, such as WSXGA+ (1,680 x 1,050) to maximize screen real estate, the general consensus among users is that WXGA is more than adequate. That said, the real technical achievement here is that Fujitsu is able to offer a 14.1-inch screen, where most competitors are limited to 13.3 inches.

From a design standpoint, the system screams quality. An attractive case, backed by a full-size keyboard and a thin monitor bezel makes the user feel as if they are using a precision instrument instead of the typical business notebook computer. The system's penchant for business use is obvious by the inclusion of Microsoft Windows Vista Business Edition and a 60-day trial version of Microsoft Office 2007.

The tested unit offers excellent performance, thanks to an Intel Core 2 Duo T7700 (2.4Ghz) processor, 4Gbytes of DDR2 Ram and 120Gbyte SATA hard disk drive. The only weak point is on the graphics side, where Fujitsu uses the integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100. Although the X3100 GPU is a good performer, Fujitsu may have been able to ramp up the performance a little more by using a discrete graphics processor. Even so, the unit scored an impressive overall score of 527.9 using PassMark Performance Test v6.1 and offers a Windows Vista Experience Index base score of 3.4.

The S6510 is labeled as an Intel Centrino Duo system and uses the Intel 965 Express Chipset. Wireless is handled by an Intel Wireless Wi-Fi Link 4965AGN (802.11a/g/n). A top-of-the-line S6510, such as the one reviewed here, should retail for around $2,500. The company also offers units with lower-end processors and less memory starting at around $1,500.

Users will find that the S6510 doesn't skimp on ports, the unit includes a 10/100/1000 RJ45 Ethernet port, integrated modem, 3 USB ports, a firewire port, audio in/out ports and a 3 in 1 card reader. A 8xDVD-SuperMulti (+/-R Single Layer) optical drive rounds out the system and offers support for nine formats. Other noteable features include a 1.3MP Web cam and a fingerprint reader.

For a small and light notebook computer, the S6520 does offer some ruggedness, thanks to a design that uses magnesium alloy to keep the system more rigid than plastic alone can accomplish. Travelers will like that the screen latches down securely and a bevy of LEDs on the front edge of the unit keeps users informed of the system's status. Power users should expect at least three hours of battery life when using the system for high-performance applications. With all power saving features enabled, users should expect around four-and-a-half hours before the battery is fully discharged.

For solution providers looking to partner with Fujitsu, the company operates a single level channel program, where partners are required to do at least $250,000 annually in sales and have a Fujitsu-trained sales and support staff. To join, partners will need to secure $100,000 in credit and purchase a demo unit. Partner benefits include different MDF percentages, rebates and growth incentives. Revenue opportunities come from unspecified margins, integration and support services, along with the sale of accessories.

Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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