Fujitsu LifeBook N6210 Review (pics, specs)

by Reads (39,725)

by Andrew Hake, Missouri USA

The Fujitsu N6000 series is a desktop replacement notebook with one of the best screens in the business and features to match.  The specific unit being reviewed here is the Fujitsu N6210 which comes standard with an Intel Pentium M 1.86Ghz processor, 512MB of Ram (which has been upgraded to 1.25gb and soon to 2gb), and a single 80GB 4200rpm hard drive (this model allows for dual hard drives, I plan on adding a 100gb or 80gb 7200rpm drive as my primary), and a 17″ widescreen (with an aspect ratio of 16:10).

Fujitsu N6210 Notebook (view larger image)

Fujitsu N6210 Specs

  • Intel M 750 1.86GHz 533MHz
  • 512MB DDR2 533MHz (2GB Max)
  • ATI Radeon X600 (M24P) w/128MB PCI Express VRAM (Now available with Hyper Memory in the N6220)
  • RealTek High Definition Audio Driver
  • 17″ Crystal View WXGA+ TFT (1440 x 900) Display (Super Vivid Display 400:1 Contrast Ratio)
  • 80GB Hard drive (4200RPM) (available dual 100gb 7200rpm hard drives)
  • Dual Layer Multi Format DVD & CD Writer
  • 56K V.90 Global Modem
  • 10/1000mbps LAN
  • Intel PRO/Wireless 2915abg network connection
  • (4) USB 2.0 Ports, IEEE 1394 (Fire Wire) & S-Video
  • Memory Stick and SD and XD Slot
  • PC Card slot, ExpressCard slot
  • Integrated touchpad with intelligent scroll button; 103-key full-size keyboard with a separate 10-  key keypad; 19 mm key pitch and 3 mm key stroke
  • Silver Magnesium Encasing
  • 15.9″ x 11.6″ x 1.7″ / 2.08; approximately 10.12 lbs.
  • 8 Cell Lithium Ion battery (available 12 cell)
  • (Optional TV tuner available) I did not purchase the TV tuner as I wouldn’t use it very often, there was a review of the N6010 which uses the same tuner so please view the N6010 review.
  • Full specs are available on Fujitsu’s website here – http://www.computers.us.fujitsu.com/www/products_notebooks.shtml?products/notebooks/tech_specs/n6220_ts

Reasons for Buying

I purchased this notebook after looking at the Sony VAIO A-series and Toshiba Qosmio G-25.  I wasn’t looking for a hardcore gaming notebook just one that would give me the power I wanted and still be able to handle the latest games without a problem as I am a casual gamer.  I needed something that would also be able to handle some intensive graphics programs such as Softimage XSI, Maya, Photoshop etc.  I chose the Fujitsu over the others I saw mainly because of the screen, build quality and the unique features of the N6210 that the others just didn’t seem to have

Where and How Purchased, Shipping, Packaging, Software

I purchased my N6210 through one of Fujitsu’s resellers, (www.portableone.com).  The price without the $100 mail-in rebate was $1,749.  But PortableOne gave me the Dual layer DVD-writer for free as well as free 2 day shipping. (once Fujitsu was done building it, it was shipped very quickly and I had it within a week and a half from the day I ordered it).  It arrived well packaged with a very good User Manual, internet modem cable, startup guide, and all the Fujitsu driver and restore CD’s, as well as CD’s for Intervideo WINDVD, Sonic Record Now.  I ordered it with Windows XP Home edition (Media Center is now available) because I had little use for Professional.  The N6210 comes with little extra software, I only uninstalled Norton AntiVirus, Quicken, and Google Toolbar and Works 8.0, the only other software is Fujitsu’s and that is a Driver update program, as well as an Application Panel, which in my opinion is amazing, my girlfriend has a VAIO and from seeing that I know Sony likes to pack on the extra bloatware.

Full user manual, driver and application restore CD’s, Windows restore DVD (install DVD) (view larger image)

Build and Design

(view larger image)

(view larger image)

The design of the N6210 is a magnesium silver outer casing with a matte black keyboard area.  I am really in love with the way this thing looks.  A two tone silver and black package with a silver power button with surrounding blue LED, as well as a volume level indicator (0-15) and wireless switch and media control buttons.  At the front is a LCD display which indicates power, battery charging, battery life, HDD use, num lock and caps lock, it has a very nice looking reflective surface and the display is always bright.  It looks very professional and at the same time very beautiful, it isn’t some Dell monstrosity.  It is about average size when it comes to 17″ desktop replacements, it isn’t really thin and it doesn’t really seem thick either, just about in between, (the space is definitely used well).  But really when you look at it is doesn’t seem thick whatsoever.

Power button and Volume level indicator (view larger image)

Silver magnesium and black casing with a lid the does not leave smudge prints (view larger image)

Front LCD Display shows, Power, charge indicator, battery level indicator, Num Lock and Caps Lock and it is very shiny! (view larger image)

Front View of N6210, speakers with ports, very sturdy latch, LCD indicators, subwoofer port under that, and infrared sensor for optional TV Tuner remote to the right of the woofer port (view larger image)

Left side View of N6210, Cable lock adapter, mic input, headphone/audio out jack, expresscard slot, PCMIA Car Slot, and below is location of optional TV Tuner which I did not purchase (view larger image)

Back View of N6210, AC Power Jack, Ethernet and Modem jacks, 2 USB 2.0 ports, VGA Port, S-Video out, Single USB 2.0 Port, and Firewire 1394 port (view larger image)

Right side View of N6210, MemoryStick/SD/XD card reader, USB 2.0 Port, and Dual-Layer DVD burner optical drive (view larger image)

Bottom view of N6210, from top left, space for second HDD, processor and GPU space, space for RAM, Battery, Subwoofer, and the Primary HDD with Intel wireless card underneath that (view larger image)

The build quality is one of the best I have seen, The casing is very sturdy, the screen has very little flex for its size and I saw no rippling what so ever, the screen lid is excellent.  As the notebook is about 10lbs I’m not sure how it would hold up in a major fall, but I’m not really willing to test that out!  It may be too heavy for some as well as the larger size of the screen but for me it is perfect. It will fit in my backpack and isn’t a problem for me to carry at all. (But I am a strapping young 19 year old lad :P)  It feels like such a quality product all around, which has seemed to be the case with everything from Fujitsu.

The Display

Ok, I had a little fun with the camera on this one (brightness is exaggerated) (view larger image)

Honestly a picture will never do this screen justice but this is the best example I could get (view larger image)

I would have bought this laptop for the display alone.  Before I made my purchase I read some reviews and every single one couldn’t say enough about the excellent Crystal View screen.  The N6210 has a 17″ Widescreen Glossy Crystal View WXGA display which is just brilliant.  The native resolution is (1440×900) and the X600 supports up to a 1600×1200 resolution for external displays, I found this to be the sweet spot for a display this size, I honestly think any higher would just be overkill and be more trouble than it’s worth, also, I can run almost any game at the native resolution so the video card is matched well.  The only screen that I have seen that was brighter than this was a VAIO display and just slightly, but the Sony display’s colors just can’t compare to the absolutely perfect blacks and whites that this screen offers.  If you buy this notebook be prepared for countless people to stare at and try to touch your screen.  Do not let them touch it as they will leave a finger smudge (which is normal for this type of screen) and ruin its glory.  The screen has absolutely no dead pixels and no light leaks what so ever.

The viewing angle of the N6210 screen is quite good as well. You can read the screen from any angle and horizontally the only distortion that occurs is a slight orange hue on the grays and whites, I am very impressed by the viewing angles for this massive screen (view larger image)

Here is an example of the size of the pixels of this screen, please check the full size image to appreciate the quality (view larger image)

Another example of the pixels (view larger image)

Sound

Left speaker with speaker port on far left (view larger image)

This is another pretty amazing aspect of this notebook.  Notebooks speakers generally suck, let’s face the facts.  Fujitsu must not have heard of this however.  The N6210 has two front speakers with large ports and quite a large subwoofer on the bottom of the case, the sub also has a port that is right under the front LCD display.  It is hard to write about how good the sound of the speakers are so here is an example: I listened to a song by Gwen Stefani with my girlfriends Sony VAIO K-series (a 2 year old Japanese model) and my N6210 side by side.  With the Sony on full blast my N6210 could completely drown it out with the volume level on 8.  Even watching movies and playing games are enjoyable with these speakers. Very impressed with the speakers on my N6210.  (Don’t get me wrong, the notebook speakers will never compare to my Logitech Z-2300 200 watts/ 400 peak watts setup, but they are the best speakers I have ever heard on a notebook)

The Realtek ALC 260 does a fantastic job of powering my Z-2300’s, my roommate has a Creative Audigy 4 for his desktop (and the exact same speakers) and I can get just as loud and clear has him, and when we combine our forces we can shake our entire floor, literally all the light fixtures in the ceiling start to vibrate!  Trust me when I say the Logitech Z-2300’s are amazing and the Realtek HD Audio will definitely do a great job of powering them.  I was thinking of getting the Creative Audigy 2 ZS for a notebook, but I may pass as I don’t think it would make much difference.

Sub woofer on bottom of the N6210 (view larger image)

Performance

The Fujitsu N6210 is available with the Intel Pentium M 750 1.86Ghz processor with Centrino Mobile Technology.  This is the latest technology from Intel at the time, and as you may have read with other reviews of this processor it really is one of the best choices for a notebook.  It can handle whatever I throw at it (which includes running Softimage XSI, Maya 7 and Photoshop at the same time, with a few firefox browsers open as well, not to mention Itunes).  Basically I would find it hard to disagree that this is the best notebook processor available at this time ( I realize a 2.26ghz Pentium M is available, but it isn’t available on the N6210, but the price to performance increase just isn’t worth it).  The only bottleneck in my system right now is the 4200rpm hardrive, I plan on upgrading to two 7200rpms eventually so this isn’t a problem.  I do however recommending getting dual hard drives to begin with so you won’t have to get another HDD encasing and screws (which is available from Fujitsu or portableone.com).  I also recommend to get 512mb of RAM and just upgrading yourself as it is extremely easy and much more cost efficient. (I have one 256mb stick (that came with the notebook) and one 1gb stick of Corsair (I will get another 1gb stick of corsair soon as the price is constantly falling)

Benchmarks

Below are the HD Tune 2.51 results for the included Hitachi 80GB 4200RPM hard drive:

It really seems that the 4200 rpm hard drive is a bottleneck in the system, but is still by no means slow, I would recommend a 5400 or 7200rpm option or upgrading it yourself. But a 4200 rpm will be fine for most people.

Below is a comparison of the N6210 Super PI Results (Super Pi is a program used to calculate Pi to 2 million digits of accuracy) with other notebooks:

Notebook  Time
 Fujitsu LifeBook N6210 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)  1m 40s
 Dell Inspiron 9300 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)  1m 39s
 Sony VAIO FS680 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)  1m 53s
 IBM ThinkPad T43 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)  1m 45s
 Asus Z70A (1.6GHz Pentium M)  1m 53s
 Fujitsu LifeBook N3510 (1.73 GHz Pentium M)  1m 48s
 Dell Inspiron 6000D (1.6 GHz Pentium M)  1m 52s
 Dell Inspiron 600M (1.6 GHz Pentium M)  2m 10s
 Sony VAIO S360 (1.7 GHz Pentium M)  1m 57s
 HP DV4170us (Pentium M 1.73 GHz)  1m 53s
 Sony VAIO S380 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)  1m 45s

3DMark 05 score: 1660 (with latest 5.11 Ati Mobility Drivers)

The 3dMark score was pretty impressive compared to other online results; the only result with a X600 that was higher was one that was over clocked. Mine is not.

Another very interesting point is that 3dMark said my card had 256mb of video memory which may mean that it is in fact using hyper memory. My card was listed has having 128mb of video memory in display settings however, so maybe the BIOS needs to be updated for it to list it as 256mb.  I also ran the test with the N6220 video driver installed and got similar results.  Others with the N6210 please post if you believe your X600 is using 256mb of video memory with hyper memory as well.

I play every game that is available on Steam (Half-Life 2, Day of Defeat: Source, etc.) and this machine can handle them without problems,  Lost Coast with Full HDR is pretty taxing on the card so it only runs Lost Coast at about a 20fps average, it is playable but the lower fps is noticeable, but I am not a hardcore gamer so that is ok with me. 

FEAR also runs decently on my system and I can enjoy what it has to offer, the X600 can’t compare to a GeForce 7800 GTX but it can handle the needs of any casual gamer and a lot of hardcore gamers as well.

Battery

The battery life of the N6210 is about average for a 17″ desktop replacement with an 8 cell battery, it is rated to last 2 hrs (there is a 12 cell battery available which is rate to last about 2hrs 45 min. I believe) I take it to my art history classes every day and it will easily last for 2hrs on low to medium brightness, when using word processing programs.  I have managed 1.5 hrs while watching a DVD which is acceptable for me; if they would allow you to set the brightness lower than they do you could probably manage a little bit longer, The battery will last quite long however if you need to keep some programs open while in stand by mode, (sometimes I will open an internet browser window before I disconnect from my network and I can’t go to a wireless hotspot so I can view the page while disconnected).  The battery life isn’t phenomenal but I didn’t expect it to be, it is exactly what I needed however.

Wireless

This is my first experience with wireless internet and I couldn’t be happier, the Intel 2915 Card is very good and has a good UI program as well.  Very easy to use, just turn on the switch and click connect. Also has very good range, I go to an art school and live on the 3rd floor of a 4 story dorm building, from my floor I can get good signals from wireless networks students have set up on the top and bottom floors, but I am always plugged into the network anyway.

Keyboard and Touchpad

N6210 full size keyboard with full size number pad (view larger image)

N6210 Touchpad with central scroll button (view larger image)

This is yet another area where the N6210 shines.  The keyboard is hands down my favorite that I have ever used (including any desktop keyboards, with maybe an exception to MS’s new laser desktop keyboard, that thing is really phenomenal)  It is very quiet and the keys are spaced very well, flex is also not an issue at all.  Another great feature is the full size number pad, I didn’t really care about it at first but I find that I use it all the time.  Having the number pad also places the regular keyboard in the exact right spot to not interfere with the speakers, (your wrists do not cover up the speakers when you are typing.  The touchpad is very good also, I can only compare it to my girlfriends VAIO and I must say the VAIO pad feels rough compared to this one, it is very responsive and smooth to the touch, and the buttons are placed well.  It has the tap to click feature, which can be turned on and off and fully adjusted. The scroll button is a nice feature when you are mobile and it also has touch scrolling, but none of those ugly arrows Dell puts on the touchpad.  The N6210 has an Fn button to turn the touchpad on/off which is a nice feature to have.  Mute and Screen brightness are also adjusted with Fn buttons.  It has a 19mm key pitch and 3mm key stroke.

Above the keyboard is a wireless On/Off Switch and DVD and movie controls, The power button and volume level indicator and volume control buttons, I must say it is nice to have the volume control instead of using the function key.

Ports and Input

The N6210 has good amount of ports and inputs, the only one that is really missing is ad DVI input (it would be nice to have but I don’t really plan on buying an external monitor so I don’t need it) and it does have VGA.

  • Multinational 56k V.90 modem and 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN (back)
  • Four USB 2.0 (3 on back one on right side)
  • IEEE 1394 Firewire (back)
  • S-Video Out (back)
  • External video (VGA) (back)
  • One PCMIA slot (left)
  • ExpressCard slot (left)
  • One card reader for — Memory Stick, SD, and xD cards (right)
  • Security lock slot (left)
  • Power jack (back)
  • Dual Layer DVD burner (right)
  • Volume control buttons (above keyboard)
  • Wireless LAN On/Off switch
  • DVD and movie control buttons
  • Mic Input and Headphone/Audio out jack

I am very pleased with the amount of ports on the N6210. The only thing I would like to see is a DVI port as that may be important to some people interested in this notebook.

Heat and Noise

When I looked at reviews of the computers I was interested in I noticed that the biggest complaint about the Fujitsu N6010 (the N6210 took it’s place and has now been replaced by the N6220, which offers media center edition) was the amount of noise that the fans made, it wasn’t that they were noisy, they just turned off and on all the time and were somewhat annoying, this was entirely fixed with the N6210, noise is absolutely not an issue, I often leave my notebook on to finish long downloads and the computer is right under my bed (it is a raised bed with a desk underneath) and I don’t even hear it.  The optical drive is also very quiet.

It also stays quite cool, you will notice a little warmth left of the touchpad as that is where the primary HDD is but it isn’t an issue at all.  The fan does a great job and it definitely pumps out some hot air when doing heavy gaming, but if you hear the fans when gaming you really need to turn up the volume and enjoy yourself :D.

Customer Support

Both PortableOne and Fujitsu are top notch when it comes to customer service.  Portableone will answer any question almost instantly by email.  Ivan will email usually within 1 minute, amazing.  Fujitsu is good as well, I used their help chat and was very impressed, the person I chatted with was very knowledgeable and helped me with my touchpad driver problem (When I installed intellipoint 5.3 I lost my touchpad control features in the mouse control panel, I had to reinstall the touchpad driver, this was a problem with the MS software which they have now fixed with IP 5.4)

I have not had any serious issues with my computer so I haven’t had to get any replacement parts, etc. but from my knowledge I won’t have any problems with portableone or Fujitsu.
Top notch customer service!!

Pros

  • Absolutely unbeatable screen, it can’t get much better than this
  • Great Keyboard and touchpad (numberpad is a great feature)
  • Great design and style
  • Well built
  • Very good speakers, best I’ve heard for a notebook
  • Powerful in every aspect
  • Fantastic Customer support from Portable one and Fujitsu
  • Available dual hard drives
  • Very good placement of Ports/Card reader/Jacks
  • Great sound Driver (RealTek ALC 260)
  • Very light on pre-loaded software
  • Comes will all driver and restore CD’s and Great User Manual
  • Flat black and silver scheme matches all my technology products 😛 PSP, Camera, phone, Speakers, Mouse, Headphones, and WACOM Tablet.
  • Unique, few people know how good Fujitsu is or what Fujitsu is
  • Power brick is quite small compare to Sony

Cons

  • No DVI port (I wouldn’t use it but others may)
  • Screen is so good people want to touch it all the time!
  • No integrated Bluetooth, even though I wouldn’t use this anyway
  • Hardcore gamers would like to see an X700 GPU or maybe a Geforce 6800 Go

Conclusion

I couldn’t be happier with my purchase overall, every con I could think of really didn’t matter at all to me.  The N6210 is definitely a great machine and I can highly recommend it to anyone looking for a laptop with one of the best screens available, a great design, great build, and great features all around. Highly recommended

Pricing and Availability: Fujitsu LifeBook N6210


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