Fujitsu Australia Lifebook E8420
A dash of old mixed with new, and plenty of speed!
- Has legacy ports in addition to modern connectivity options, performed well in our office application and 3-D rendering tests
- Slightly sluggish in the MP3 encoding test, LCD status panel does not illuminate, no 'sleep and charge' USB ports, no nightlight
For the business user with demanding performance and connectivity requirements, this Fujitsu is ideal. It has plenty of modern and legacy ports and it was quite fast in our application tests. It could use some more niceties, such as an illuminated keyboard, but it's still a top-notch unit.
Price$ 2,599.00 (AUD)
Fujitsu's Lifebook E8420 is a business tool with plenty of useful hardware and software features, and, most importantly, it's fast!
Its Intel Core 2 Duo T9400 CPU runs at 2.53GHz, and it's paired with Intel's PM45 chipset. Along with an Intel WiFi Link 5300 wireless networking adapter, it forms the holy trinity of the Intel Centrino 2 platform. The rest of the configuration comprises 4GB of DDR3, 1066MHz memory, a 320GB, 5400rpm hard drive, and a GeForce 9300M GS graphics adapter.
All of these components combined to produce a fast score of 102 in our WorldBench 6 test suite; this score is almost as fast as it gets for a notebook. It will easily run any office applications you throw at it, and it's great for multitasking. Its time of 1min 11sec in the Blender 3D test was an expected result, but its time of 1min 21sec in our MP3 encoding test was about 9sec slower than expected. Still, it's a fast notebook with plenty of power and storage capacity for photo editing and even editing and rendering video files. Don't use it for gaming though; its 9300M GS adapter only scored 1942 in 3DMark06, which isn't a fast result.
Aiming to simultaneously please users of modern and legacy devices, the E8420 offers more ports and slots than most traditional notebooks. It still carries ports from yesteryear, which might be welcomed by companies that still use serial-, parallel- and PC Card-based devices, yet you also get an ExpressCard slot and HDMI, USB and FireWire ports.
The notebook's serial and parallel ports sit on the spine, along with a D-Sub port, two USB ports and an Ethernet port, which means the unit's battery sits underneath and towards the front of the base. It's an 8-cell, 5200 milliampere hour battery, and it lasted exactly two hours in our worst-case scenario run-down test. Luckily, the unit ships with a power saving utility that allows you to switch off all unnecessary devices (such as the optical drive, 56Kbps modem and the FireWire port) so that you can squeeze more life out of it while you travel. Strangely, it doesn't switch off the Bluetooth and wireless networking modules. You'll have to switch these off separately.
You can also give it more battery life by plugging a second battery into the unit via its modular optical drive bay.
Aesthetically, the notebook has a modern two-tone colour scheme, yet it retains a '90s-looking monochrome, single-line LCD screen. This screen is used instead of bright status lights to let you know if the wireless module is enabled, the power level of the battery, and to indicate hard drive activity and lock-key status. It's not an illuminated panel, so you won't be able to see it at night.
To the right of this screen lie number keys and an 'enter' button which can be used to fire up commonly used applications, but which also look like they can be used to enter a security PIN for entering the system. We couldn't find a security application for these keys, but the Lifebook Application Panel software lets you elect which applications the numbers should invoke.
The 15.4in widescreen display's native resolution of 1680x1050 makes it feasible to have two windows side by side, and it's also not a bad screen to watch videos on. It has a thin frame along the sides, but it is slightly thicker at the top to make room for the webcam. Its hinge is stiff, so it should stay in position even if you use the notebook on a bumpy taxi ride. And speaking of bumpy rides, the E8420 has shock detection for the hard drive which can park the heads as soon as it detects excessive vibration or shock.
For typing, the notebook's spill-proof keyboard is roomy, and its keys produce good travel. However, it does feel a little bouncy and we hate the location of the 'delete' key, which is not in the top-right corner. Navigation is by way of a touchpad and a TrackPoint-style pointer. There isn't a switch to disable the touchpad if you only want to use the pointer. (By the way, if you ever do spill liquid on the keyboard, power down and turn the notebook upside-down immediately to drain it.)
At 2.75kg, the E8420 doesn't feel too heavy, and its overall size makes it quite easy to carry — even in a backpack. For the office, there is an option to use a port replicator, so you can plug straight in to external peripherals and mains power without having to tinker with cords and settings, and security can be implemented via the included fingerprint scanner. This can be used to log-in to the system, and it can also be used in conjunction with Omnipass to make it easier for you to log in to password-protected sites. The fingerprint reader also doubles as a scrolling device, which is very handy when viewing long documents.
What it all boils down to is that the E8420 is a great business tool. It has more ports and slots than your average notebook, it feels well built and it's fast. It could use more niceties, such as an illuminated keyboard or a nightlight, 'sleep-and charge'-style USB ports, and perhaps some manual controls for the volume and touchpad. These are things Fujitsu might like to look into for the next model.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Acer Swift 7
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Lexar® Portable SSD
Google Daydream VR headset
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Huawei Mate 9
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Dell XPS 13 laptop
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Android struggling in tablets as Windows 10 2-in-1s come on strong
- Samsung unveils Galaxy Book, a Windows 10 tablet aimed at the Surface-curious
- Everything we think we know about Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S3
- Lenovo's ThinkPad P71 will work with HTC, Oculus VR headsets
- Lenovo's Yoga A12 Android 2-in-1 has futuristic touch panel keyboard
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCProject Support OfficerNSW
- FTSupport and Operations Team LeadNSW
- CCMicrostrategy DeveloperVIC
- TPImplementation Business Partner - Business ModernisationNSW
- TPInsights ManagerWA
- TPBusiness AnalystVIC
- FTEnterprise ArchitectQLD
- TPProject Manager | HealthQLD
- FTInfrastructure Architect (Adelaide Based)VIC
- CCFirewall EngineerNSW
- FTClient Delivery ManagerSA
- CCData Engineer (Java/ Data/ Big Data Developer)VIC
- CCFront End DeveloperNSW
- CCSenior System AdministratorVIC
- TPMicrosoft Dynamics DeveloperNSW
- FTDatabase DeveloperNSW
- FTSenior Technical Consultant - SQLACT
- CCWicked Front-End DeveloperQLD
- CCTest Capability LeadNSW
- CCDigital Communications ManagerNSW
- CCLevel 1/2 SAP Support AnalystACT
- CCProject Manager (Event Management)NSW
- FTFull Stack DeveloperQLD
- TPSenior Business Project ManagerNSW
- TPIteration ManagerNSW