Fujitsu Lifebook P770 review

The Fujitsu Lifebook P770 is an ultra-portable laptop equipped with one of Intel's latest low voltage Core i7 processors. Read our review to find out if it successfully combines fast performance and long battery life in a slim, lightweight package.

Price
£1,240

The Fujitsu Lifebook P770 is one of the first ultra-portable laptops we've seen to come equipped with one of Intel's latest processors, the Core i7 620UM. While the desktop Core i7 processor is a high-end, power-hungry, quad-core chip, the 620UM is a dual-core processor designed to use as little power as possible so it should be ideal for a lightweight travelling companion such as the P770. Ultra low voltage processors such as the Core i7 620UM aren't new, but until now they've been based on older Core 2 Duo designs. We put the P770 through our Windows application and battery life tests to see if it can deliver both fast Windows performance and long battery life.

Paired with 4GB of RAM, the P770's 620UM chip fared very well in our Windows applications tests. It scored 83 in our image editing test and 62 in our video encoding benchmark. Video encoding is an especially demanding task, so a score of 62 is fast for an ultra-portable laptop. Unlike older Core 2-based designs, the i7 620UM uses Hyper-Threading so it gains two extra virtual cores and it can temporarily boost its clock speed from 1.06GHz to 2.2GHz using Turbo Boost. Both of these features can help performance depending on the kind of programs you use. As expected, the integrated Intel graphics chip is capable of playing high definition video.

In our light usage battery test, where the laptop is set to scroll through a series of web pages until its battery depletes, the P770's battery lasted six hours and 40 minutes. This is long enough to last a transatlantic flight, but is nonetheless slightly disappointing. Ultra-portables aimed at consumers equipped with older ultra low voltage processors can last even longer.

Still, the P770 is generally well-suited for travelling. It weighs just 1.4kg, yet it has a built-in DVD writer which is unusual for such a light laptop. There are three USB ports and even an ExpressCard/54 slot for adding extra peripherals, but you won't need to add a 3G modem as one is already built in. A fingerprint reader is nestled in between the touchpad buttons for security purposes. A port for connecting a port replicator is located on the bottom of the P770.

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All these features and ports do make the P770 chunkier than many other ultra-portables though, so it's not especially slender or sleek. Although it doesn't feel poorly made, the black plastic and chrome chassis does creak under pressure more than we'd like which doesn't inspire confidence. An unfortunate side-effect of the fast processor is that the underside can become uncomfortably warm with hot air blowing out of the right-hand side cooling vent. The cooling fan can become a little noisy too.

Annoyingly, although the keyboard doesn't feel cramped, the keys are just a bit too small for our fingers. They also don't give enough feedback when pressed. It's therefore not very comfortable to use and typos are easy to make. The touchpad is small but accurate and has a slightly coarse texture which feels slightly odd at first. The buttons are also a bit small, but they do feel responsive.

Part of the reason for the keyboard's small size is the relatively small 12in display which limits the width of the P770 can be and therefore how big the keyboard can be. The screen itself has a resolution of 1,280x800 pixels. It's quite bright, even when brightness is turned down to conserve battery life, and it has a matte finish. This reduces glare caused by light from overhead sources, such as fluorescent strips in offices, reflecting off the screen. Unlike other matte finish screens we've seen, this one doesn't look too grainy which can spoil the look of on-screen images.

The processor supports hardware-based virtualisation, although this is disabled by default in the BIOS so you'll want to enable it for use with virtualisation software such as Microsoft VirtualPC or VMWare Workstation. The BIOS also includes support for Computrace tracking technology. In the event the laptop is lost or stolen, it can be tracked and data can be wiped remotely although this feature costs extra. For a laptop this expensive, it's a little disappointing that the two year warranty only provides for collect and return service. Onsite service is available as part of an optional extended warranty though.

Verdict

The Lifebook P770 is a lightweight and feature-packed ultra-portable laptop that's also fast in Windows applications. It's flawed and overpriced though due to the small keyboard and excessively warm underside. We also wish it had longer battery life. Unless you need an ultra-portable right now, we'd rather wait for a better designed laptop.

Processor: Intel Core-i7 620UM, 1.06GHz Memory: 4GB 1333MHz DDR3 RAM Graphics: Intel HD Graphics Hard disk: 320GB hard disk Display: 12.1in 1280 x 800, LED-backlit screen Features: Two megapixel camera, fingerprint reader with TPM 1.2, microphone, stereo speakers Connectivity: 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR Ports: 3 x USB, HDMI and VGA output, ExpressCard/54, 3.5mm headphone and microphone audio sockets Dimensions: 282 x 215 x 30mm (WxDxH) Weight: 1.4kg Warranty: 2yr C&R warranty OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

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