The new Fujitsu bears little resemblance to the distinct sturdy silver-coloured lid which is practically the LifeBook's trademark. Although the N3510 sports the same black exterior as the Fujitsu LifeBook S7011, the general appearance is not as business-oriented. The rather huge chassis measures 356 x 262 x 39.9mm and weighs approximately 3.4kg. Fitted with an even brighter and clearer screen (named Crystal View) than the previous SuperFine technology employed, the 15.4-inch screen gives an added enhancement in viewing pleasure. Even at the second-lowest brightness setting, the display appears more brilliant than other notebooks such as the HP nx6120 at its brightest level.
We have got to say that the keyboard is probably one of the best we've tried in terms of tactile feedback. Each key gives snappy response with just the right depth and are very well-spaced out. The touchpad, two plasticky mouse buttons and two-way scroller lie just below the keys. Above the keyboard are several useful buttons such as the Wi-Fi switch, DVD/CD button to access Instant MyMedia (a pre-boot utility to watch DVDs or CDs) and the volume control. The right side features several Instant MyMedia controls, though they can double as quick launch keys in Windows.
Fujitsu's N-series is targeted more at those who want entertainment. As such, users can play movies and music without booting into Windows, use a handy remote control and have a massive 100GB hard drive at their disposal. Features-wise, the N3510 is similar to the Toshiba Qosmio E10 or the ASUS W1N, though the ASUS does a one-upmanship by integrating a TV tuner.
The remote control looks very much like one for an air-conditioner and caters to the Instant MyMedia utility. Though most features of a common remote are there, there are conspicuously missing ones such as one to access the title menu of a DVD. It is a pity as some of the buttons are unmarked and thus not utilised for any purpose.
Instant MyMedia is a pre-boot utility which launches when you press a button on the remote or the unit, though users should note the difference in the MyMedia and DVD/CD buttons. The latter sends you straight to playing a DVD or CD whereas the former, accessible by remote, opens up the MyMedia interface where you can play the files in My Videos folder. We were very surprised that there was no access to the My Music folder, nor could we play MP3 CDs.
The LifeBook runs on the Sonoma-based Pentium M processor 740 (1.73GHz) and 512MB DDR2 SDRAM. For a multimedia notebook, we were a tad surprised that the lowest-end PCI-Express-based graphics was used, although we'll acknowledge that the 64MB ATI Mobility Radeon X300 gives a credible performance. The Fujitsu integrates a handy DVDÂ±RW drive with dual-layer support on the right edge for burning DVDs. Sound reproduction is clear and bass is audible, though some might feel the volume is a little soft for a living room.
The comprehensive range of ports are mostly stacked on the rear and the left sides, with the former decked with three USB 2.0, S-video out, VGA-out, Ethernet and modem slot. The left edge boasts FireWire, a 3-in-1 card reader (which reads SD, MS and MS PRO formats), one USB port, two audio jacks including S/PDIF, a PC Card slot and an ExpressCard/34/54 slot, which will soon replace the PCMCIA standard. You can connect to wireless networks supporting 802.11b/g wireless LAN.
We used the MobileMark 2002 benchmark and the results didn't disappoint. With a 237 performance score, this Fujitsu sits among the very best in the 1.73GHz range of notebooks, shooting down the Sony VAIO FS (135 score) by a mile. Putting things in perspective, the N3510 even beats several 1.8GHz desktop replacements and almost matches the theoretically more powerful 2.13GHz Fujitsu LifeBook E8020H (243 score). However, we chose to compare the following three multimedia-capable desktop replacements.
|BAPCo MobileMark2002 performance rating (all with 512MB RAM)|
NOTE: Products in this test are for comparative purposes only and are not necessarily available in the Australian market.To gauge graphics capability, we used 3DMark03 and attained a decent score of 2,548 with the 64MB ATI Mobility Radeon X300. It's not quite as powerful as the ATI 9700 series, but enough to satisfy our thirst for average graphics-intensive games like FIFA 2005.
NOTE: Products in this test are for comparative purposes only and are not necessarily available in the Australian market.Battery life is rated at 3.7 hours by Fujitsu but we got pretty low 147 minutes (2.45 hours) of juice out of the machine. However, as we aren't expecting many to lug this 3.4kg heavyweight around as the laptop will probably be plugged in, we'd say you can choose to disregard the battery life.
|BAPCo MobileMark2002 battery life (in minutes)|
NOTE: Products in this test are for comparative purposes only and are not necessarily available in the Australian market.