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Ever since I bought my first notebook, which at the time was a very powerful machine that also weighed a tonne, I have realized that what I really want is something much more portable while still offering enough power to serve my needs. As a journalist you have slightly different needs from most laptop users, but it seems that more and more notebook users want a blend of power and portability.
The Fujitsu-Siemens Lifebook P7010 is one of the smallest notebooks I have ever come across. Although there are smaller machines around, few can boast the same amount of features as the Lifebook P7010. Considering that it measures only 261 x 199 x 35mm (WxDxH) and weighs a very reasonable 1.5Kg with the optical drive fitted, it’s the ideal companion for anyone that needs to carry their computer around with them everywhere.
The most prominent feature is the 10.6in widescreen display which offers a native resolution of 1,280 x 768. The display is similar to that seen on a lot of recent Sony laptops although Fujitsu-Siemens calls the technology Crystal View rather than X-Black. The screen is however slightly dim and could do with a better backlight, as even at the brightest setting, white doesn’t look quite white. The lack of brightness is highlighted by the screen coating which should produce a very vibrant image, but lacks its intended impact.
There is no dedicated graphics chipset and the Intel 855GME graphics core is hardly suited for gaming, but apart from this it is powerful enough to cope with everyday tasks. The integrated graphics share 32 or 64MB of the 512MB total system memory. This can be expanded up to 1GB, but as there are two 256MB modules already in use, you’d have to discard one of these if you want to upgrade the memory. Also, the Lifebook P7010 is using 172pin Micro-DIMMs, so memory upgrades could be a costly affair, since these modules are not as common as normal laptop DIMMs.
You won’t get the most powerful processor in a tiny machine such as this, but Fujitsu-Siemens has done the smart thing and fitted a 1.1GHz Pentium M 713 Ultra Low Voltage processor. However, this is based on the older Pentium M core with only 1MB of cache instead of the newer Dothan chips with 2MB of cache. As if to make up for the processor, you get a capacious 80GB hard disk, spinning at 5,400rpm – this is a massive hard drive for a machine this size and comes as a very pleasant surprise.
Our review sample was supplied with a modular CD-RW/DVD-ROM combo drive from Matsushita that writes to CD-R media at 24x, CD-RW at 16x, while also reading DVD-RAM media. Fujitsu-Siemens also offers models with DVD writers as standard and the optical drive can be replaced by a second battery for the hardcore road warrior. If you’re an avid photographer you might find the CompactFlash slot or the combined SD/MMC/MemoryStick Pro slots handy. There is also a single Type II PC Card slot thrown in for good measure.
The Lifebook P7010 is a fully Centrino branded laptop, which means that you get Intel wireless networking as standard - the PRO/Wireless 2200BG adapter supports both 802.11b and 802.11g wireless standards. On top of this there is built-in 10/100Mbit Ethernet and a 56k V.90 modem. However, there is no integrated Bluetooth or infrared, which is a real shame, especially considering the target market for a laptop such as this. WiFi hotspots are great, but it’s good to know that if you can’t find one you can download your email via your mobile phone, but that option isn’t available with the P7010. On the upside, Fujitsu-Siemens has fitted a hardware switch on the front of the Lifebook P7010 that allows you to enable or disable the wireless antenna so that you can use the laptop on aeroplanes, and save battery life when you don’t need to be connected.