We take a close-up look at Fujitsu's latest 'no compromise' ultra-portable laptop
The Fujitsu Lifebook SH771 is a 13.3in ultraportable laptop that's designed for users who want an uncompromising feature-set in addition to a mobile form factor (it's around 25mm thick at its thickest point at the rear). The model we looked at weighs only 1.42kg, yet it includes two spindle devices: a DVD burner and a 640GB, 7200rpm hard drive.
The SH771 has a soft finish that feels incredible to hold and its construction is sturdy thanks to the use of a magnesium alloy chassis. There is plenty of attention to detail in the design as well, with subtle curves and colour that make the unit both a pleasure to use and to look at.
The input devices are little different from the norm. It includes a Synaptics scroll pad in addition to an 80x40mm touchpad. The scroll pad takes a little getting used to, especially if you are coming over from a laptop that supported two-finger scrolling (this model doesn't), and it can be programmed to perform a secondary function when you tap it, such as changing the volume level.
The chiclet keyboard has been designed in such a way that the gaps between the keys and the chassis make it spill resistant. It's a very comfortable keyboard to use, with soft keys that provide good travel and responsiveness.
You also get a fingerprint reader that uses radio frequency scanning
It's not a backlit keyboard, which we find disappointing, and Fujitsu says this is a conscious decision because it wants to provide the best possible battery life with this unit. We love the attention to detail on the keys though. They have a blue colour at their base that we at first mistook for a back light. It makes the notebook look quite stylish.
When you look at the sides of the SH771, it's evident that hardly any compromises have been made to the configuration despite it being a small and lightweight laptop. The right side has a built-in DVD burner, a USB port, a cable lock facility, an SD card slot and even an ExpressCard/34 slot.
The left side has the power port, Gigabit Ethernet, VGA, HDMI, two more USB ports (including one that supports USB 3.0), and separate headphone and microphone ports. You can see that the front of the unit also has a convenient wireless toggle.
This feature-set is probably a little overkill for the average user, and Fujitsu knows this. It's a laptop that's aimed at professionals and enthusiasts who require more flexibility out of their laptop than typical users.
The bottom view of the laptop shows us that it's upgradeable and it also has Fujitsu's now almost-famous filter design.
It's a removable piece of plastic that's not really a filter on its own; it's more of a scraper that can be used to remove dust build-up from the heat sink.
One of the most exciting aspects of this laptop is its modular bay, which can be used to house a plastic weight saver (one is included in the box), a second battery or even a Pico projector module. Yes, you read that correctly. The projector module isn't available yet, but it will be interesting to see how well it performs and if it's a viable alternative to an external projector for small meetings.
More realistically, the bay can be used to house an extra 27 Watt-hour battery. The main battery in the SH771 has a rating of 67 Watt-hours and it lasted 3hr 36min in our rundown test, in which we disable power management, enable Wi-Fi, maximise screen brightness and loop an Xvid-encoded video. Of course, the battery life will depend on the tasks you run and how bright you keep the screen. There is an Eco mode that can be used to disable any unnecessary devices while you run on battery so that you can get the most out of it.
The storage device in this model is a typical, spinning hard drive, but a solid state drive is an option. The pictured drive is a Toshiba MK6461GSYN SATA2 hard drive with a spin speed of 7200rpm and a capacity of 640GB. In CrystalDiskMark, it recorded a read rate of 114.9 megabytes per second (MBps) and a write rate of 113.6MBps. Not too bad at all. It also went well in our own file copy test, recording a rate of 36.55MBps when duplicating data from one location on the drive to another.
Our model came with 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM, but as you can see it has two memory slots. It's also available in 8GB memory configurations.
The SH771 has a glossy screen with a native resolution of 1366x768. Fujitsu says that it will introduce a model with a matte screen, but not for a while yet.
The SH771 is available with an Intel Core i5-2520M CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 640GB hard drive and Windows 7 Pro for $2188. Two Core i7 models are available for $2588: one with 8GB of RAM and a 750GB hard drive, one with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB solid state drive. They are all available now.
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