Fujitsu Siemens LifeBook P8020 review
Fantastic battery life and a transflective screen aren't enough to justify a price tag this high.
Review Date: 3 Apr 2009
Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray
Price when reviewed: £1,322 (£1,520 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Ultraportables have had a tough time of it in recent months, with a veritable herd of cheap netbooks trampling all over their previously pristine territory. And when you can buy a 10in or 12in laptop that's perfectly usable for writing email and browsing the internet and has a 3G modem built in for under £500, why spend any more?
Most manufacturers have responding by paring down their offering of smaller, what could be seen as 'traditional' ultraportables, in favour of more powerful laptops with larger, higher-resolution screens. So it's hard to see where this compact offering from Fujitsu Siemens fits in.
The P8020 is a truly old-school ultraportable business laptop. It boasts a 12.1in screen, which brings it squarely into line with the latest breed of netbook, but the 1,280 x 800 resolution is no higher than its ultra-cheap siblings despite the huge price premium.
The other problem is its power. Like the Lenovo X300 and Macbook Air before it, in order to provide decent battery life from its six-cell 8,700mAh battery, the P8020 features one of Intel's low voltage processors - a 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo SU9400 backed up by 2GB of 1,066MHz DDR2 RAM.
But though this is significantly more powerful than a netbook, its score of 0.73 in our application-based benchmarks doesn't offer enough of a performance boost to push it up to the next level, where serious multitasking and the use of processor intensive applications is possible. Compared to a score of 1.14 from Lenovo's equally compact 12.1in X200, for example, this LifeBook P8020 is a real lightweight, and its Intel integrated graphics fail to add ballast.
Another area where ultraportables normally attempt to differentiate themselves is in weight, ergonomics and design. Lenovo's X-series of laptops, for example, boast superb keyboards and rock solid build quality; Toshiba's R600 is almost unfeasibly insubstantial; Apple's Macbook Air is fantastically slim and drop deap gorgeous.
The Fujitsu Siemens has none of these advantages. Despite a positive key action, its keyboard feels cramped and fiddly; we much prefer the keyboard on the Lenovo X200. It weighs 1.34kg, which is not much lighter than the larger 13.3in Lenovo X300 and, save for slightly sparkly, sculpted lid, it's not exactly the last word in technological bling. We didn't much take to the build quality either: the metal screen hinges feel durable enough, but the lid plastics feel cheap and over-flexible and the rest of the chassis, clad in matte black, isn't much better.
So, is there anything about this laptop that beats the competition. Well, the screen, while low on resolution, is extremely bright and punchy. It's also able to boast the considerable advantage of being transflective. From working in sun-lit train carriages to browsing the internet on a summer's day, you'll be able to see web pages and documents crisp and clear instead of having to squint or turn the brightness all the way up.
Its business credentials are second to none: there's a built-in HSDPA modem - a must in a laptop at this price - plus dual band draft-n WiFi courtesy of Intel's WiFi Link 5300 chipset, a fingerprint reader and some useful manufacturer-installed utilities. Plus, there's a DVD-writer built-in, a feature no netbook we've reviewed can lay claim to.
- Toshiba beats retreat from consumer PC market
- Google to follow Apple with device encryption
- U2 and Apple working on "new music format"
- Ellison steps down: but who's really running Oracle now?
- Audioboo to become Audioboom in app revamp
- Apple slaps down Google and police, as it takes high ground on user privacy
- Amazon releases high-end Kindle Voyage Touch
- What's on this week's PC Pro podcast?
- Virgin carpeted again for broadband speed claims
- Microsoft set to make more job cuts
- How to check your identity hasn’t been sold to the hackers
- Tim Cook: this is how much TV has changed since the 70s
- Westminster wins the .London battle
- 20 years of PC Pro: from deep pan pizza to virtualisation
- Five reasons why the Apple Watch leaves me cold
- Apple Watch, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus: Tim Cook's Apple back with a bang?
- BT Home Hub 5: how to get maximum speed
- 20 years of PC Pro: one-star reviews (including "the worst tablet we've ever seen")
- 20 years of PC Pro: our best covers
- Why we've closed the PC Pro forums
- The 7 best Chromebooks of 2014
- iPhone 6 vs Galaxy S5: is the Apple or Samsung flagship smartphone right for you?
- How to install iOS 8 without deleting apps and data
- The best smartwatches of 2014: what's the best smartwatch?
- Nexus 6 (X or Shamu) release date, price and specs rumour roundup
- Best of IDF: top tech and memorable moments from Intel's tech show
- How Apple Pay works and how to use it on your iPhone 6 or Apple Watch
- Tech of the future... and the British boffins building it
- Abuse magnets: the people behind corporate Twitter accounts
- Putting people at the centre of software design
- How to sell more ebooks on Amazon
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office