Fujitsu Siemens – Lifebook E-7010 review

compact but powerful notebook PC
Photo of Fujitsu Siemens – Lifebook E-7010
£1,440 + VAT

Fujitsu-Siemens has recently revamped its Lifebook range, making these notebooks smaller and lighter than earlier models. Top of the new range is the E-7010 powered by Intel’s new Mobile Pentium 4 Processor-M.

Stylish, in a silver and slate grey chassis, the E-7010 we looked at used a 1.7GHz CPU which drops to 1.2GHz when running under battery power, but it is also available with 1.6GHz and 1.8GHz versions of the same chip.

The reviewed system came with 256MB of 266MHz (PC2100) DDR memory, but if this isn’t enough for your requirements the motherboard can support up to 1GB through two SO-DIMM slots, access to which is easily obtained through a panel in the base of the chassis.

One of the drawbacks with the E-7010 is that all the indicators for battery charging, battery level, hard disk activity, etc. are graphically shown in a panel at the top of the keyboard, which obviously can’t be seen when the lid is shut; not ideal when you’re running an external monitor and keyboard.

The keyboard itself has large keys which are easy to use, and it is mounted far enough up the chassis to make typing comfortable. But although well-built, the whole keyboard does flex a considerable amount in use. The E-7010 uses a trackpad for the pointing device and this is accompanied by three mouse buttons.

The 14-inch TFT screen is driven by a powerful ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 graphics chip using 32MB of memory, which supports the screen in its native resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels at a maximum refresh rate of 200Hz with 32-bit colour depth. The graphics adapter can also support external monitors up to a resolution of 1600 x 1280 pixels, at a refresh rate of 85Hz.

Feature-wise, the E-7010 is well served. There is a 40GB hard drive, an 8-speed DVD-ROM drive and both integrated LAN and Wireless LAN, along with an integrated 56Kbps modem. All the major input/output ports are present on the back panel; serial, parallel, VGA, infra-red, single PS/2, S-Video out, LAN and two USB ports. The left-hand side of the chassis contains the wireless LAN, modem ports, Kensington Lock slot and two PC Card slots, one of which was occupied in our review system by a Smart Card holder.

The Lifebook E-7010 is a powerful notebook, and weighing just 2.2Kg it’s equally at home on the desktop or on the road. If you do use it on the road, it gives a reasonable two and half hours of battery life on a single 3,800mAh battery.

Company: Fujitsu Siemens

Contact: 01344 475 555


Verdict
The tweaks made to the Lifebook range appear to have been worthwhile. This notebook has all the features and performance you'd need in a package that leaves little room for improvement. We'd like to see a less flexible keyboard and perhaps the status LEDs moved to a more prominent position, but other than that this is a solid workhorse.