Fujitsu Siemens – LifeBook P8020 review

ultraportable notebook with 3G mobile broadband
Photo of Fujitsu Siemens – LifeBook P8020
£1,507 + VAT

The P8020 from Fujitsu Siemens is a lovely looking ultraportable notebook with a lot of plus points. But it is expensive and so may be out of the price range of many of us.

The piano-black chassis design of this notebook makes it look a little more consumer-grade than it really is, which may put some executives off, but may lure some consumers. Build quality is generally good with the base section in particular being tough and solid. However, there is a bit of flex in the lid which means the screen doesn’t get quite the protection it could.

At 1.3kg the P8020 is certainly light enough to qualify as an ultraportable, and its measurements of 280mm wide, 210mm deep and 28 – 37mm thick make it appropriate for just about any bag. Of course, these dimensions mean the screen is small. Its 12.1 inches deliver 1280 x 800 pixels natively, though the P8020 will send 1920 x 1200 to an external monitor. The screen is slightly reflective but offers good viewing angles, particularly on the horizontal plane.

The keyboard is necessarily small, and those with larger hands might find it too cramped for comfort. The keys themselves are responsive, though, and we had no trouble touch-typing. There is a fingerprint scanner between the left and right mouse buttons and above the screen is a 1.3-megapixel webcam.

The Intel Core 2 Duo SU9400 processor runs at 1.4GHz and has 3MB of Level 2 cache. Our review sample had 2GB of RAM with the maximum set at 4GB. With 802.11a, b, g and Draft-N all supported, mobile broadband to 7.2Mbps, Bluetooth and gigabit Ethernet all here, the connectivity options are exemplary. Fujitsu Siemens’s 3G Watcher software had no trouble working with our Vodafone SIM for mobile broadband connections.

Storage options include a 64GB solid state disk (SSD), 320GB mechanical hard drive and the 160GB hard drive on our review sample. There is a DVD optical drive on the right side of the casing, and Fujitsu Siemens has also found space for a PC Card slot, three USB 2.0 connectors, Firewire, SD card reader, VGA-out and microphone and headphones jacks.

On a video playback test the Fujitsu Siemens P8020 managed three and a quarter hours of non-stop movie action, though sound quality from the stereo speakers was somewhat insipid. In everyday computing you can use Fujitsu Siemens’ Eco mode, accessed via a button sitting above the keyboard. This selectively turns off elements of the notebook to help conserve power.

Company: Fujitsu Siemens

As ultraportables go this is a neat offering. The built-in optical drive is a boon and the build is solid. It is expensive, though, and as always with ultraportables, some people may find it a little cramped.