When I bought the Fujitsu LifeBook P5020D about six months ago, I told everyone it was the best piece of technology I had ever purchased. Amazingly the new Fujitsu LifeBook P7000 series has gone beyond the basics with their refresh, creating a machine that is vastly better in many areas. There aren t a ton of major upgrades, CrystalView screen aside, but the big wins lie in the details.
I m going to post a number of comments and pictures. I ll go more in-de
Side-by-side, the most obvious change in the P7000 series is the new black casing. It looks very nice, but it fingerprint prone. The internal parts like the wrist pad are a little different, so they don’t have the same problem. Are you ready for this? The fingerprint issue is my biggest complaint about the notebook. Moving on…
The bottom is pretty different. The RAM has been moved from under the keyboard to a much more user friendly spot. Fujitsu has covered the plate with suede to help keep the heat from being a factor. There are now two RAM slots, but the RAM is smaller, so you can’t use the same chips as the P5000 series. The battery is also a new size. I haven’t tested officially yet, but it feels like I’m getting an extra 30-60 minutes out of the battery.
Some of the best improvements have come with the ports. On the right side of the machine, the optical drive has been replaced with (left to right) a microphone, speaker out, two USB 2.0, ethernet, firewire, S-Video and VGA ports. The port cover doors are substantially better. Gone are the plastic parts, replaced with a rubbery joint. I broke off four VGA out port covers on the P5020. Notice also that the S-Video and VGA out are full size now, previously they required special dongles for the conversion to full size.
The optical drive has migrated to the left side now. It’s so slim I had to look hard to locate it. Those calling for a slot load will appreciate how thin this drive it. The tray is more sturdy than the P5000 as well. Above the tray are the CompactFlash and PCMCIA ports. Both have plastic inserts as placeholders. Be careful, they’re easy to lose. The P5020 has doors that pushed in with the PCMCIA card, I’m disappointed that mechanism is gone. To the left are the AC adaptor and phone line ports.
The front of the notebook is much improved. Gone is the bomber-style bulbous nose, replaced with a more refined flat front. To the left is the WiFi on/off switch. I went with the Atheros a/b/g/ wireless card. To the right of the switch is the Secure Digital/Memory Stick reader. The plastic you see in there is my Memory Stick Duo adaptor. My digital camera uses that form factor, so the converter lives in the reader so I don’t lose it.
The touchpad has been replaced with a new unit that seems easier to use. It’s more slick than the prior edition. The action buttons are much different. Where the P500 had knobs on the buttons, these are flat and flush with the wrist rest. I’m having mild trouble getting used to them, new buyers will get along fine. The up/down rocker has been replaced with the optional biometric scanner. So far the scanner is hard to get working properly, but the software offers a lot of promise.
But what about the display? As you can see from above, it’s very bright. I didn’t like, nearly hated the XBRITE in Sony’s TR series. The CrystalView from Fujitsu is much better though. It’s reflective, but not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. You can see in the top picture a little bit of the ambient light reflecting from the window. The reflection issue is more minor than I thought it would be, and a fair trade for the brilliant colors and improved brightness. The colors on the P7000 are more blue and white where the P5000 tends to be more yellow. I’m now a CrystalView convert.
Last but not least is the keyboard. It’s the same as the P5000, which is a good thing. The keys are responsive and nearly full size. Of course some like page up and page down require the function button, but those are the sacrifices with ultra portables. I took this zoomed up picture of the Shift key to illustrate the near translucent properties of the keyboard. It makes for a nice effect.
The other “big” improvement is the bump in processor from a PM 1.0 to a 1.1. I’m not feeling the extra power yet, it’s more to show a progressive improvement from a marketing perspective than anything else. My config is as follows; 512 RAM – single chip, 7200 RPM 60GB drive, XP Home, biometric scanner. Everything else is pretty much stock. I’ll be back in 2-3 weeks with the full review. Please post any questions you have or issues you want to see me cover in the review in the forums.