Fujitsu LifeBook P8010

While there are elements that are certainly likeable about the P8010, for a business laptop, let alone an ultraportable, the lack of HSDPA could be considered a show stopper for some.

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Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.

From a design point, Fujitsu's latest tiny competitor threw us for a while. While the thin bezel screen and compact design is pleasant, the plain grey wrist rest area dominates so much of your attention as it looks like an old Dell machine from the early 90s. We've gotten so used to customised and pretty wrist rests (even on business machines) that it came as a small shock to see something so banal.

The 12.1-inch, 1,280x800 glossy screen and its surrounds are nicely attractive, and while the back is meant to be inspired by bamboo, what this amounts to is a raised, inch thick glossy black section near the lip, and a slight kink in the sparkly surface about halfway down.

Four quick access buttons are available above the keyboard, although it's really quite hard to see the icons above them and hence what they're used for, without rotating the keyboard so it's parallel with your face. Even then the icons are difficult to decipher without having to experiment with pressing the button first to see what it does. Incidentally, they give access to Fujitsu's support application, power saving mode, display manager and quick access to the default browser, although this options can be customised through the "Button" application found under the control panel.

Considering their size, the speakers were surprisingly good. There wasn't an amazing dynamic range and tonal quality was hollow and flat at best, but it certainly survived Muse's Map of the Problematique, a test track that usually induces a large amount of clipping and distortion in laptop speakers. While it did this by dynamically lowering volume, it still produced a better experience overall.

Like all Fujitsu laptops these days, the P8010 features a shock sensor utility that stops the hard drive heads whenever a shock is detected. We know this because it seemed that even the smallest bump caused the icon on the system tray to tell us it had been activated, an annoyance we swiftly turned off. There are moments when things should happen without having to alert you, and this is one of them.

Three USB ports are a luxury for a laptop of this size, and the firewire port, gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth and N wireless means that connectivity is reasonably good for a business laptop -- the lack of HSDPA however is an obvious omission. The inclusion of PC card and VGA, with the lack of digital video out like HDMI is also another sign that business laptops move considerably slower than the consumer market in some areas. An SD card reader is situated at the lip of the laptop, neatly excluding MS and xD, while the mandatory fingerprint scanner is nestled in between the unsatisfactory feeling mouse buttons.

Being a business laptop with an integrated Intel GMA X3100 graphics chip, the P8010 was never going to be strong on 3DMark06, netting a dismal score of 447. PCMark05 was a bit better at 2999, thanks to Intel's Core 2 Duo L7100 CPU -- and with the 2GB RAM by and large this machine should be just fine for application use.

Turning off all power saving features and setting the screen brightness to maximum, we inserted a DVD and played it back to strain the laptop's battery supply -- it gave us a reasonable one hour, 57 minutes and 51 seconds in return.

Fujitsu offers a 2 year, nation wide pick up and return warranty, parts and labour inclusive -- which goes some way to explaining the price.

While there are elements that are certainly likeable about the P8010, for a business laptop, let alone an ultraportable, the lack of HSDPA could be considered a show stopper for some.

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