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Microsoft has flooded the airways with a series of
commercials that claim a PC is a better value than Apple’s Macintosh. Fujitsu
must have been watching those commercials when the company came up with the
LifeBook N7010 desktop replacement notebook. After all, the N7010 exemplifies
many of the points raised in those Microsoft commercials—performance, value,
software and ease of use.

With a list price of $1,399, the LifeBook
N7010 isn’t the cheapest desktop replacement on the market, but it does offer
exceptional value. A comparable MacBook Pro with a single 15-inch screen would
cost close to $2,500. Simply put, if Microsoft were to hand a shopper $1,400,
they would more than likely walk out of the store with a Fujitsu LifeBook
N7010. After all, that $1,400 does buy a lot of machine.

The N7010 sports a 16-inch wide-aspect
Crystal View Display, Intel Core 2 Duo processor, high-performance ATI
graphics, a Blu-ray optical drive, 4GB of RAM,
a 320GB hard drive and a host of other features.

Perhaps the most interesting feature is
the unit’s 4-inch touch-screen LCD, which is located above the keyboard and can
be used to launch applications or perform other chores with just a touch. While
the 4-inch auxiliary screen may seem a little gimmicky at first, it will be a
useful tool when Windows 7 arrives on the market.

Fujitsu offers the N7010 with Vista Home
Premium 64-bit edition, which is a good match for the unit’s capabilities.
First off, the unit comes with 4GB of RAM,
and a 64-bit OS is a must to leverage all that memory. Vista Home Premium
offers enhanced video tools and entertainment features that are a good match
for the unit’s 16-inch WXGA display and Blu-ray optical drive.

The N7010 features a built-in Webcam and
digital microphone, making the unit suitable for on-the-fly video conferencing
or YouTube recordings. An HDMI port allows the system to be quickly connected
to large-screen HD monitors, further enhancing its entertainment appeal.

While the entertainment angle is covered
quite well, Fujitsu has not ignored productivity. The unit sports an Intel Core
2 Duo Processor P8400 (2.26GHz, 3MB L2 cache, 1,066MHz FSB), which powers
through most applications with ease, and the ATI
Mobility Radeon HD 3470 is able to chew up complex graphics and CAD drawings
without complaint. A spill-resistant keyboard helps to protect the system from
those office “oops,” while the shock-mounted hard drive minimizes data loss due
to the bump and grind associated with portability. Fujitsu also
incorporates 2GB of HyperMemory RAM to
further enhance video performance.

While the display is crisp and bright,
Fujitsu could have increased the resolution to something that would be 1080p
compatible. The unit’s WXGA resolution does not do Blu-ray content justice; a 1,920-by-1,080
resolution would offer more screen real estate and give the system TrueHD
compatibility.

We tested performance using the 64-bit
version of Performance Test 7.0 from Passmark. The unit offered an overall Passmark
rating of 786.2, which is very good for a laptop system.  3D performance
was very good, with the system showing high frame rates during testing.

With a travel weight of more than 8
pounds, it’s likely that the N7010 will rarely be used on the run, which is a
good thing—the included battery only provides about two and a half hours of
usable life before needing a charge. For most users, that short battery life
should pose no problem—most buyers should expect to use the N7010 tethered to a
desk. While the large size and heavy travel weight may make the system
unsuitable for coast-to-coast flights, it is still portable enough to easily
travel from the home office to the business office or from the dorm room to the
library.

Fujitsu offers several options for the unit, from a fitted travel bag to a
digital TV tuner, which helps to solidify the dual-purpose nature of the
machine. The digital TV tuner proves to be a good add-on for a dorm room, or
for those looking to time-shift their TV viewing.