The only company to come later to the ultrabook game than Sony, was Fujitsu — and even with the Lifebook U772, the Japanese company is tentative about stepping into the space.
Not that you could tell from the brazen metallic red outer shell of its Lifebook U772, along with its black rim and aggressive brushed black metal interior. The closest design analogue, really, is "sports car".
- USB 3.0: 2
- USB 2.0: 1
- Optical: None
- Video: HDMI
- Ethernet: Gigabit
- Wireless: Dual-channel 802.11n, Bluetooth, 3G WWAN module
The screen is a little bit flexible, but bendable enough to be a concern — and while there's a remnant wobble after opening, the screen stays reasonably still while typing.
It's here that we come across our two biggest problems: the display is uninspiring and the keyboard leaves a lot to be desired. Sure, the fact that the 14-inch, 1366x768 is matte is a good start, and the range of motion of the lid is flexible enough that you can approximate the best viewing angle for your height. The colours, though, never seem properly saturated or vibrant, and blacks are more of a dark grey, depending on where your head is. Whether it's the panel or the anti-glare coating, it's not a good result.
The keyboard is simply too shallow to be comfortable, and quite unpleasant to type on. While you can adjust, the lack of tactile feedback is jarring, occasionally resulting in dropped letters. Don't expect a keyboard backlight here, either; Fujitsu is wary of its impact on battery life.
Like the MacBook Air and Asus ZenBook, the U772 also "buzzes" with electrical charge if you run your fingers across the surface of the wrist rest while the power is plugged in. It's not a deal breaker, but can be disconcerting.
With those complaints out of the way, the rest of the machine is passable. The touchpad is a stock-standard Synaptics, there are two USB 3.0 ports, a single USB 2.0 port, a headphone jack, SD card reader and a custom gigabit Ethernet port, that plugs into a supplied adapter. As a pleasant surprise, it is Intel controlled, as is the 2.4GHz/5GHz 802.11n.
Bluetooth is included thanks to Broadcomm's BC20702, and the whole thing runs off Intel's Core i5 3427U @ 1.8GHz, with 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive and 32GB SanDisk i100 SSD for caching. There's a docking connector on the bottom for a port replicator, adding another four USB 3.0 ports, DVI, VGA, DisplayPort and gigabit Ethernet.
Handbrake encoding (in seconds)
Fujitsu Lifebook U772 (Core i5 3427U, 4GB RAM, 500GB HD + 32GB SSD cache)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
It's great to finally get a bead on third generation Core i5 ULV performance — and things look good. One thing to note is that the U772 isn't the quietest thing around, building up quite a whine under CPU intensive tasks, that only got higher pitched as tasks went on.
Battery life (time)
- Heavy battery test
- Light battery test
- 6h 58m
- Dell XPS 14 (Core i7 3517U, 8GB RAM, 500GB HDD, GeForce GT 630M)
- 6h 27m
- HP Folio 13 (Core i5 2467M, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD)
- 6h 7m
- HP Envy 14 Spectre (Core i5 2467M, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD)
- 5h 42m
- Fujitsu Lifebook U772 (Core i5 3427U, 4GB RAM, 500GB HD + 32GB SSD cache)
- 5h 23m
- Asus ZenBook UX31 (Core i7 2667M, 4GB RAM, 256GB SSD)
- 5h 8m
- Toshiba Satellite Z830 (Core i5 2467M, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD)
- 4h 52m
- Samsung Series 5 Ultra 13.3-inch (Core i5 2467, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD)
- 4h 41m
- Samsung Series 5 Ultra 14-inch (Core i5 2467M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, Radeon HD 7550M)
- 4h 21m
- Asus ZenBook Prime UX31A (Core i7 3517U, 4GB RAM, 256GB SSD)
- 3h 21m
- Asus ZenBook UX21 (Core i7 2667M, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD)
- 2h 54m
- Acer Aspire S3 (Core i5 2467M, 4GB RAM, 320GB HDD)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Fujitsu does reasonably well, nestling up into the top four, in terms of ultrabooks.
Despite admirable performance and good battery life, we can't, in good conscience, recommend the U772. The poor screen and keyboard prevents us. Then there's the kicker — the whole package costs AU$2488. Sure, it's business focused with VPro, a thumb scanner, TPM and even a WWAN module inside for 3G connectivity, but against Bring Your Own Device it doesn't stand a chance, and IT managers would be better off going for a stock-standard thick Lenovo for usability, or opting for one of Dell's XPS ultrabooks.