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The features don’t stop there though as you will also find a four-pin FireWire connector, two USB 2.0 ports, a D-SUB connector and an S-Video out, as well as microphone and headphone sockets. The headphone socket also doubles as an optical S/PDIF, so you could output a digital audio stream to an external processor or amplifier. Apart from the USB ports and the microphone and headphone sockets, all other ports are covered by small protective flaps - although these can get in the way at times, they do keep dust and dirt out of the ports.
The keyboard is excellent for such a small machine, but it takes a while to get used to, since it’s so much smaller than a desktop keyboard or even standard notebook devices. That said, once you are used to the dimensions, a decent typing rate can be achieved. The keyboard covers the laptop from edge to edge, so it has been given as much space as possible. I’m also happy to say that most keys are where you would expect to find them and the only possible improvement would be to increase the size of the comma and full stop keys.
The touchpad works well and is just right in terms of responsiveness, although on a small machine like this a trackpoint would make more sense - it takes up less space than a touchpad and is generally easier to use on a small device. By pressing the Fn button in combination with the F4 key you can disable and enable the touchpad, which can be handy if you find yourself tapping it accidentally while typing. Just above the keyboard are the speakers and a set of icons that give you visual indication of the charging state of the batteries as well as the power button, complete with blue LED – there had to be a blue LED somewhere after all.
There are a couple of downsides to the Lifebook P7010, like the noisy fan that spins up from time to time. It's not as bad as some notebooks we’ve had in the lab though and you will only notice it in a quiet room, but it is something to consider if you’re sensitive to sound pollution. It also gets very hot at the bottom right hand side, just behind the fan vent and where the CPU is placed. Although Fujitsu-Siemens has fitted a suede patch over the hottest part, it still gets uncomfortable after a while if you have it on your lap.
The single most impressive feature of the Lifebook P7010 is the battery life – despite its miniscule dimensions, this little beauty managed over five hours battery life in MobileMark 2002. However, that is two and a half hours short of what Fujitsu-Siemens claims, but in general use you’ll probably find that the battery lasts longer than when being benchmarked by MobileMark. The performance numbers might not be overly impressive with a SYSMark 2002 score of 131, but this is still more than enough for day to day office applications, email and web browsing – most of which will be the staple diet for a slim and light machine like this.
As the Lifebook P7010 belongs to Fujitsu-Siemens' professional line of laptops it appropriately ships with a copy of Windows XP Professional. You also get a copy of Norton Ghost 2003 in the box which is handy for backups. Finally there is a set of modem adaptors that allow you to use the Lifebook P7010 in several central European countries – although you’ll hopefully be connecting via a WiFi hotspot.
Even though it’s not perfect the Lifebook P7010 is definitely the kind of notebook that I’d want and even one I would consider buying, assuming I had deep pockets. But at £1,547.43 including VAT it is a little bit more than many people would be willing to pay. That said, slim and light notebooks often appeal to those users that are more concerned with style and portability than cost, but even taking this into account, the lack of integrated Bluetooth or even infrared robs the Lifebook P7010 of a Recommended award.
If you’re in need of a lightweight notebook with a good keyboard and battery life, the Lifebook P7010 should be on your shortlist if you can afford it, but just make sure you’re not going to need to connect to your mobile phone.
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