Fujitsu LifeBook SH760

Great performance and in-built USB 3.0 mark out the SH760 as something special.


8.7
CNET Rating


Design

Fujitsu largely pitches its laptops towards the aspirational business crowd. They're not as stylish as a MacBook or Vaio, nor as boxy as a ThinkPad, but instead tend to occupy a middle ground that's unlikely to raise eyebrows due to garish patterns, or lower eyelids due to heart-stopping boredom. The SH760's design largely follows this ordinary principle with a solid keyboard that's topped with media and webcam keys, and one small aberration from the norm.

Take a glance at the SH760's touch pad, and you'll spot a tiny circle to the side. Is it a sleeping Pac-Man? A sign that somebody in the Fujitsu factory fell asleep with a Dremel on? A big black shiny notebook self-destruct button?

No, it's none of these things. It's a circular scroll wheel, but without the actual wheel bit. Fans of older non-touch iPod models might appreciate its inclusion, at least in theory. It certainly stands out visually.

Features

Strange scroll wheel aside, Fujitsu doesn't scrimp on the feature set for the SH760. An Intel Core i7 M 620 2.67GHz processor runs the whole show, aided by 4GB of RAM, a 512MB GeForce 310M graphics chip and a 500GB 5400rpm hard drive. The 13.3-inch display screen has a top resolution of 1366x768, which isn't super-crisp but adequate in this kind of screen size.

From a connectivity point of view the SH760 is very nicely equipped. You get an ExpressCard slot, two USB 2.0 ports, VGA and HDMI for video connectivity, DVD multi-writer, gigabit Ethernet and 802.11n Wi-Fi, an SDHC card reader, fingerprint scanner, webcam and microphone in and audio out ports. The star of the show is the single USB port that sits on the left-hand side. It's the first USB 3.0 port we've hit in a notebook available to the Australian market, with all the promise of higher speed data transfers that USB 3.0 should deliver.

On the software front, Fujitsu keeps the SH760 firmly in business territory with Windows 7 Professional 64-bit, as well as Softex Omnipass, CyberLink PowerDVD, CyberLink PowerDirector, Roxio Easy Media Creator, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Fujitsu UpdateNavi, Fujitsu 3D Shock Sensor Utility, Fujitsu Power Saving Utility, Fujitsu Hardware Diagnostic Tool, Fujitsu Display Manager, Sun Microsystems Java Runtime, CyberLink YouCam and Windows Live Essentials pre-installed. You also get a 60-day trial version of Microsoft Office Professional 2007. One nice feature in the software set-up is that antivirus software is installed, but it's not the usual 30-day trial version. Instead, you get a full year's subscription to Norman Virus Control.

Performance

At a physical level, the SH760 is a very pleasant unit to use. The keyboard has a great tactile feel and response, and unlike many 13-inch notebooks, the cursor keys aren't shrunk down to a point where they become sub-optimal. The one physical feature we plain didn't like was the scroll wheel. Depending on how you type, it's eminently possible to nudge it while working, sending your work into a spin. It does operate the way you might expect, but it's instantly redundant, as the side of the actual touch pad still handles vertical scrolling in the way that every other touch pad on the market does, and the general need for horizontal scrolling isn't that great.

The other physical aspect we found mildly irksome was the motion sensor. It's designed to park the hard drive heads if unexpected movement is detected, potentially saving your data. That's great in theory, but in our experience the sensor was very twitchy indeed. Just picking up the SH760 was enough to have it park the heads, which is enough to temporarily halt any on-board activity, including music or video playback.

With its decent internals we expected the SH760 to perform well in our benchmark tests, and it did, with a solid PCMark05 score of 6410 and 3DMark score of 3811. We doubt many of these systems will be purchased by those with games in mind, but if it's a system the boss lets you take home on the weekend you'll be well served.

We were curious to see what difference the USB 3.0 port on the side of the SH760 would make, so we hooked up a Seagate GoFlex drive to it. Testing with the USB 2.0 cable that comes as standard, we averaged a very ordinary 17.9MB/s copying a 1.94GB test folder of files. Switching to the USB 3.0 cable on the same port bumped speeds up nicely to an average of 49MB/s.

The one area where the SH760 didn't wow us was in battery life. Running our standard full-screen video test with battery-saving features disabled, the SH760's six-cell 5800mAh battery conked out after two hours and 38 minutes of playback. Non-video use could undoubtedly eke out more than that, but this is still well short of what we'd like a portable notebook to manage.

Conclusion

The SH760 is a good system for those wanting business grunt and the speed advantages that USB 3.0 can offer. With an optional battery (which Fujitsu do sell as an add-on) to bump up the working life it would be even better.



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