Fujitsu Lifebook P7230 is 10.6" laptop with everything you could imagine starting from almost full-size keyboard layout, DVD burner, Wifi, Bluetooth, 40GB Harddrive (this sounds to small but sometimes you have to trade off with the size as well.), SD/SDHC slot and the last but not least PCMCIA slot. All these things weights only less than 3lbs (2.95lbs to be exact.) Very impressive engineer from Fujitsu. However, there are a lot of compromise in this machine as well as you will see later on.
Well, I have this for about 2 weeks, so it might not cover everything you need to know but surely cover almost everything you should know for one device. Fujitsu Lifebook P7230 is a third Fujitsu I have bought following Lifebook S2020 & S2110 over past 3 years. I like everything on them, besides 2 parts: one is screen which has mediocre view-angle screen and power connector on the machine itself since the longer we plug in and out, the looser that connector will be. It's really is. You know? It's pretty to have the same connector on almost every single model, but could Fujitsu have any better type? Now, it's a good time to move on to this baby.
The reason why I bought this is my sister wants a machine which is light and small enough to carry anywhere. More importantly, it should have a DVD drive for her to watch DVD while laying over abroad. Last but not least, it must be reasonable price, or cheap enough for grab. I finally found that Fujitsu P7230 has everything she need and it is 2007 model which is discontinued--EOL a while ago. Thus, it is available only on the Fujitsu outlet. After seeking for a good spot for a while, I was able to grab this baby for $780 (new unit with 1 year international warranty). Yes, it's worth than $500 Eee indeed, at least IMHO. Let's see if you are agree.
Fujitsu P7230 Specs:
- Processor: Intel Core Solo U1400 (Ultra Low Voltage 1.20GHz)
- Memory: 1GB RAM (1-DIMM slot, 2GB Max)
- Hard Drive: 40GB 4200RPM 1.8" Toshiba MK4007GAL
- Graphics: Intel GMA 940 (Integrated graphics)
- Screen: 10.6” WXGA (1280 x 768) LED Backlight
- Wireless: 802.11 a/b/g Wi-Fi (Intel 3945), Bluetooth
- Size: 10.74"(w) x 7.91"(d) x 1.07/1.18"(h) (272.9 mm x 200.9 mm x 27.1/29.9 mm)
- Weight: 2.93lbs (1.33kg) (with optical drive and battery in)
- Fingerprint Reader with optional scroll ability
- Main battery: 6-cell Li-Ion: 10.8V, 5800 mAh, 62 WHr (optional 6-cell modular bay battery: 10.8V, 2300 mAh, 25 WHr)
- OS: Windows Vista Home Premium
You may notice that there are quite unusual parts like Intel Core Solo and 1.8" hard drive. Not only are these 2 you not likely to find in ubiquitous system but they are really effecting the performance of the machine.
Intel Core Solo -- It's based on Core technology, but it has only one core, unlike its popular sibling Core 2 Duo. But one thing that Core Solo leads dramatically is power consumption since Core Solo U1400, for example, needs around only 5.5W maximum comparing to 10W, 17W, 35W of ULV, LV, and normal Core 2 Duo respectively.
1.8" hard drive -- this is a big trade off for ultra portable device since not only does it spins at 4200rpm but also has a small plate which means the data would transfer less per round too. Anyway, it's still adequate for everyday use. The transfer rate is about 25MB/s or less. If you want more depth, you check out at tomshardware.com. There is a useful article about this drive.
Build & Design
For this day, I think P7230 is kind of thick for its class, but thin and light enough to give people a wow factor. The one I have is matted white plastic chassis and has a matted pink on the cover. You can feel from the first touch that you need to be careful using it since it feels like a dirt magnet, probably I only have a black notebook which is pretty hard to see any dirt. However, opposite to what we feel, the notebook itself is solid. It may be not like a tank, but sturdy enough to use on the go everywhere. Plus you could take DVD burner off to save the weight as well; Fujitsu doesn't forget providing the cover in this situation too. That's quite a good thought here.
LED status is another thing Fujitsu has learned from a mistake in the past (no light at all); now all status indicators come with an array of LEDs which is not too bright because of a plastic cover. This way it looks like eye candy which is very cute. In sleep mode, power button, however, does blink all the time; IMO they should have a dedicated spot for it instead since it's annoying sometimes.
The screen has no latch as you see, it uses the hinge mechanism to hold the screen place both open or close. I guess it's because they tried to keep the screen as thin as possible. Although the screen is very thin and light, you still cannot open by one hand; you have to hold the body a bit while opening as well. (because the whole body weight is too light to support)
For the viewing angle, it's just only acceptable as what we usually have on Fujitsu notebooks. That's sad; why Fujitsu doesn't put better screen, like the one on T2010, on all their notebook.
For screen quality, if you overlook a viewing angle, it's pretty good one, small and sharp. 10.6" screen with pretty high resolution--1280 x 768--has plenty of screen estate for daily work.
Keyboard & Touch pad
For keyboard, the layout is like typical Fujitsu keyboard. Size is very comfortable to touch type on; there is no flex. One thing I concerned is dedicated Page-up/down which usually place at arrow key is gone to be with up/down plus fn key. Otherwise is really good.
For touch pad, it's really strange to have a rough plastic cover the pad. It does feel different, but the sensitivity and response is very good as it should be. You could customize features in control panel though. For both left and right button, I really like that there is no "click" noise from them, but find that it's required a bit more than usual pressure to click which need some time to get used to. The fingerprint between two button are very responsive, probably the best I have ever used. (maybe it's because a software side as well)
Since laptops recently most has arrays of ports on the side which I don't like at all, I found that at least Fujitsu is kind enough to put Gigabit Ethernet and modem port on the back. So that I don't have to have messy cables around my laptop much.
On the front, there is only SD/SDHC slot and a vent which I don't notice a hot air coming out from it.
On the right, there are DVD burner, USB port, and power port. Sometimes I found it's very awkward using USB port since the power cable blocked it.
On the left, there is a lock slot, VGA port, microphone, headphone jack, air vent, IEEE1394 4pin port, USB port, and PCMCIA slot. Honestly, I don't like an alignment of all the ports much. I rather prefer USB on the half back to on the front like this.
The performance of Wifi is average. For example, I see about 5-6 routers around my room while the strongest Wifi I have can see about 9 routers or so. About throughput, it's about the same as others though.
For Bluetooth, it's working as it should. I could transfer files to my treo without any hassles.
Heat & Noise
This machine doesn't build much heat really; but weird thing is the fan (I guess it's CPU fan) kicks out so often and it's LOUD, loud enough to called noisy when you are not in a good mood. I tried to set Fan level as low in BIOS, but it doesn't help much. I guess I have to live with it probably.
This is probably the best thing of this machine since the power management of Intel Core Solo, LED backlight and 1.8" hard drive are pretty darned good. As far as I observed, it consumes around 7W on average and 12W maximum. Thus I easily achieve 5 hours with Wifi connection all the time. In this case I set the brightness about 70% or so. If I dim the screen brightness to the lowest I could see and turn Wifi off, sometimes I could go upto 6 hours too.
I can't imagine if I swap the DVD burner with bay battery which is about half capacity of the main battery, we should get about 7-8 hours without worry finding an outlet. That's going to be awesome.
One thing I haven't mentioned yet is ECO button, it's similar to Battery Stretch feature on Thinkpad which means the machine will shut any unnecessary peripheral device, such as DVD burner, Wifi, Speaker, etc, off to get the maximum battery life. However, I don't see any significant advantage over taking care myself, but one thing, fan kicks off much less often than usual.
This is the weakest point for any ultra-portable machine because the smaller a device is means the even smaller speakers are as well. I can barely hear in normal environment. It's gotta be in quiet environment to hear anything clearly.
The internal mic doesn't support in some programs which are very bad. I need to use an external microphone instead. Fujitsu should provide better driver for this very soon; but since this is not a current model, I can't see any chance of having that.
Another issue is still in the sound scope. Not only do speakers not have power enough, but when we use headphone, it's still not very loud as well. I think this might be a driver issue rather than hardware. I hope to have an updated sound card driver to fix this issue as well.
PCMCIA fake card that cover slot is a real mess on this machine. It's not even stable in the slot, I can take it out without using the switch. In other words, it might slip out unintentionally. I prefer to have a slot cover instead of this.
All in all, I'm pleased with this pink baby with how small, portable, and light it is. And the most important factor for mobility this day is fantastic battery life. Even though it has some weaknesses, it wouldn't effect your work directly. Otherwise, for this particular color, I'm sure that girls would love to have it. For guys, there is an alternative, all black model, also.
Sorry guys whom you want to see any benchmarks on this device, I really don't have time to finish them all. However, that's really not a point of this machine. I hope you guys understand the limit.
- impressive battery life
- light, small, portable
- mediocre view-angle screen
- a lot of noise from fan (CPU?)
- some sound card driver issues.
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