Fujitsu – Lifebook L460 review

ultra-slim, modular notebook
Photo of Fujitsu – Lifebook L460
£2,095 + VAT (RRP) with Mobile Bay

Fujitsu’s Lifebook range of products, first introduced a few years ago, has built up a good reputation for style and reliability. This is the latest model in the range, and although the reliability part of the equation has yet to be proved, the Lifebook L460 certainly has style in abundance. It’s an ultra-slim machine with a 13.3-inch TFT screen, a full-sized keyboard and plenty of expansion options.

First, the style. Fujitsu has not been slow to respond to Sony’s forays into the ‘cute computing’ arena. The Lifebook L460 is two-tone silver and black, about an inch wider than its screen and just over an inch deep with the lid closed. It weighs just under two kilos and is eminently portable. There’s a large wrist-rest area beneath the keyboard – whose keys are light and comfortable – in which is housed a trackpad pointing device and two buttons.

As far as specification is concerned, the Lifebook L460 is powered by an Intel Pentium II processor running at 333MHz, and supported by Intel’s 440BX chipset. There’s a standard memory count of 32MB, which can be upgraded to a maximum of 160MB via a single upgrade slot, and a lithium-ion battery pack. The screen is quite clear and sharp, with a slider to control brightness, and is driven by a NeoMagic 128xd controller with 2MB of memory. Top resolution is 1024 x 768 with 256,000 colours (18-bit colour depth). Just below the screen are two speakers, powered by an Ensoniq sound chip, and there are audio ports and a volume control at the side.

Considering how thin this notebook is, Fujitsu has crammed in plenty of expansion options. There’s a single Type II PC Card (PCMCIA) slot, while at the rear are serial, parallel, VGA, USB, Infra-red and keyboard/mouse ports. There’s also a small connector for attaching the supplied floppy drive (which can be hot-plugged at any time), since the Lifebook L460 has no internal drives apart from its 4GB EIDE hard drive.

Optional gadgetry for the Lifebook L460 includes the Mobile Bay unit supplied with our review system. This can be plugged into the bottom of the notebook and can hold either a CDROM drive, or the floppy drive, or a second battery pack. Alternatively, those with more demanding requirements may prefer the Mobile Dock, which has CDROM and floppy drives plus port replication, a Fast Ethernet adapter, second battery holder and a Type III PC Card slot. Other options include DVD-ROM and SuperDisk (LS-120) drives, while the software supplied with the notebook includes anti-virus and cryptography tools.

Company: Fujitsu

Contact: 01344 475000


Verdict
Fujitsu's cunning knack of combining function with style continues with this Lifebook. The L460 is powerful enough for most users, has a pretty good screen and keyboard, is light and compact and yet can be easily converted into a desktop replacement system with DVD and Ethernet capabilities. You have to pay for good design, of course, but this is a stylish notebook with lasting value.