Fujitsu LifeBook P3010 notebook

A very attractive and well-priced notebook that's a little underdone

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Fujitsu Australia LifeBook P3010 notebook
  • Fujitsu Australia LifeBook P3010 notebook
  • Fujitsu Australia LifeBook P3010 notebook
  • Fujitsu Australia LifeBook P3010 notebook
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Well built, good screen, great keyboard

Cons

  • Single-core CPU, no HDMI, relatively short battery life, small palm rest and touchpad

Bottom Line

The Fujitsu LifeBook P3010 is an attractive, highly portable notebook that can be purchased for $899. It's not very powerful, and its battery life is short, but it's not designed to be a powerhouse. For creating office documents, watching videos and browsing the Web, it will be fine.

Would you buy this?

Fujitsu's LifeBook P3010 is an 11.6in notebook with plenty of style and reasonable performance. It's designed for business users who want something fashionable, small and functional for creating content and running presentations; the best part is that it's not expensive.

The Fujitsu's LifeBook P3010 costs $899 and is based on an AMD Athlon Neo MV-40 CPU, which is a single-core processor that runs at 1.6GHz. This laptop isn't as expensive, nor as powerful, as the Fujitsu LifeBook P3110, which runs a dual-core Intel Pentium SU4100 CPU and cost $1099 when we reviewed it. The P3010 is almost identical to the P3110 in terms of design, except that it has a compartment between the CPU fan and the exhaust vent. This is similar to the Fujitsu LifeBook T5010, but on the P3110 there is no actual lint/dust catcher attached to the cover, it's just a cover that you can remove to dig out any lint and dust that's collected. The layout and types of ports are identical.

You get three USB 2.0 ports, a VGA port, headphone and microphone ports, and an SD card slot. There are no modern connections such as HDMI, eSATA, ExpressCard or Gigabit Ethernet; at the P3010's price point, we can turn a blind eye to most of these omissions. After all, you can use a USB dongle if you need 3G access, and many business projectors are still furnished with VGA instead of HDMI. The notebook also comes with 802.11n wireless networking.

The slight balance problem we noticed in the P3110 is still present on the P3010 and so are the small palm rest area and touchpad. The LifeBook P3010 also uses the same keyboard, which has 18mm-wide alphanumeric keys and is a joy to type on. The keys have ample travel, are tactile and they don't bounce or rattle. Typing on a flat surface is very comfortable, but because of the small palm rest area, typing on an uneven surface, such as while resting the notebook on your lap, will be uncomfortable.

The touchpad is not as comfortable as the keyboard; although it's responsive, it's too small. Gesture software is loaded by default, so sometimes you'll end up scrolling down a page when all you wanted to do was move the pointer. We'd prefer a TrackPoint-style device on a notebook with such a small palm and touchpad area.

Using the notebook on your lap will be uncomfortable due to heat generated by the system's components. The P3010 gets noticeably warm after a few hours of use, and the heat also travels up through the left USB port; a USB key plugged into this port will get warm. The cooling fan runs quickly and audibly when the CPU is processing a heavy load, but there is a setting in the BIOS that allows you to run the fan in 'silent' mode.

When it comes to performance, the AMD-powered LifeBook P3010 isn't as fast as the Intel-powered LifeBook P3110. In fact, it's approximately half as fast. This was shown in our Blender 3D rendering and iTunes MP3 encoding tests, in which the P3010 recorded times of 4min 36sec and 3min 59sec. The P3110 recorded 2min 19sec and 2min 09sec, respectively. Both notebooks have 2GB of DDR2 RAM and a 320GB, 5400rpm hard drive. The key differences are in the CPU and graphics departments. As we've mentioned, the P3010 has a singe-core AMD Athlon Neo MV-40 running at 1.6GHz, while the P3110 has a dual-core Intel Pentium SU4100 running at 1.3GHz.

The P3010 ships with an integrated ATI Raden HD3200 graphics adapter, while the P3110 has an Intel GMA 4500 integrated graphics card. They both offer similar performance of around 1100 marks in 3DMark06; the P3010's graphics allow it to be used comfortably for editing photos, viewing videos and creating presentations, but you can't use it to quickly render real-time 3D graphics. In other words, it's no good for gaming unless you're playing board games.

While the Intel-based P3110 is faster, it's also more expensive. If you don't mind that you'll have almost half the CPU performance, then the few hundred dollars you save might make the P3010 appealing. However, it is also inferior when it comes to battery life. In our video rundown test, in which we loop an Xvid-encoded video while the screen brightness is maximised, the wireless radio is enabled and the power saving schemes are disabled, the P3010 lasted only 2hr 40min. This is on par with many netbooks, but it's a far cry from the P3110's 4hr 35min; both notebooks use a 6-cell battery mounted between the L-shaped hinges of the screen and just above the keyboard.

The P3010's screen has a native resolution of 1366x768 and it possesses good brightness and contrast. However, it is a glossy screen and reflections can be a problem. We like how tough the lid is — you can use a good amount of force on it before puddles appear on the LCD screen — and the base is sturdy, too. There are access panels for the RAM and hard drive that make it easy to upgrade these components.

Overall, the Fujistu LifeBook P3010, even though it's not as fast as the Intel-based LifeBook P3110, is a worthy option for anyone looking to purchase a small notebook with a comfortable keyboard. It's available at a good price point and it's sturdily built; it also looks very attractive. We just wish it had a dual-core processor and some more modern connectivity options.

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