Fujitsu LifeBook S2210 Review

by Andrew Reads (58,720)

The Fujitsu LifeBook S2210 is an AMD Turion X2 powered 13.3” screen notebook designed mostly for business users, but could suit anybody that needs a light notebook for work on the go.  The beautiful CrystalView screen, appealing design, low 4lbs of weight and good array of ports are all upsides to this notebook.  But lack of a rugged build and so-so battery life are downsides to the S2210.

The specs of the Fujitsu LifeBook S2210 as reviewed are:

  • Processor:  AMD Turion X2 TL-52 1.6GHz
  • Screen: 13.3” Crystal View XGA display
  • Hard Drive: 100GB 5400RPM drive
  • Memory: 2GB of RAM
  • Graphics: ATI Mobility Radeon 1150
  • Optical Drive: Dual-Layer Multi-Format DVD Writer (modular, can be removed)
  • Wireless: Atheros SuperAG (802.11 a/b/g), Bluetooth
  • Battery: Lithium ion 6-cell
  • OS: Windows Vista Business
  • Dimensions: 11.53" x 9.4" x 1.33"
  • Weight: 4.2lbs (3.8 with weight saver, 5.2lbs with power adapter and optical drive in)
  • Ports: 3 USB 2.0 ports, Mini S-video out, VGA out, Gigabit Ethernet port, FireWire port, Headphone out, Microphone in, Media card slot, PCMCIA Type II card slot
  • Warranty: 1-year

Fujitsu LifeBook S2210

Reasons for Buying

The S2210 under review here was provided for review purposes by Fujitsu and as such I cannot speak as somebody that made a purchasing decision over other notebooks.  Obviously the target market for the notebook is mobile business people, but those of you in school might be looking for a PC that’s easy to carry around campus, so you might consider it as well.  The 13.3” screen size is travel friendly, yet not so small that your favorite website won’t fit on the screen – a sweet spot for size versus ease of viewing if you will.  In the world of 13.3” screen notebooks, there aren’t many, but here are some other notebooks that compete with equivalent screen sizes:

The pickings are slim for 13.3” notebooks mostly because LCD manufacturers don’t like making them.  In Asia Fujitsu offers an Intel equivalent of the S2210 called the S6311 that uses a Core Duo processor, unfortunately Fujitsu does not market that notebook in North America or Europe.

Design and Build

The design of the LifeBook S2210 is very nice.  It’s black on the outside with charcoal grey and silver color accents on the keyboard and screen area.  You can’t go wrong with those color choices.  You could accuse the color choice as being bland, but it’s certainly professional. Steve Jobs has been wearing a black turtleneck for how many years now?  My point being, black never goes out of style, and it looks fine.


Top view of LifeBook S2210 (view large image)

The LED lights on the S2210 are what you could call pretty.  It uses the standard array of green, orange and blue indicator lights, but I like the fact they’re all sharply focused and small.  The blue light on the power button is a particularly nice feedback system for telling you that power is on.  I wish more manufacturers would illuminate the power button to make it stand out.


Media buttons right side (view large image)

I really like the speaker grill area and multi-media buttons at the top of the keyboard.  While the notebook looks all business elsewhere, the speakers and media keys indicate there might be a rebel inside ready to break out – you know, the after work hours side of the S2210 that’s ready to do something crazy like play a movie.


Media buttons left side (view large image)

Build wise the S2210 is good, but not great.  You’ll feel a bit of flex in the palm areas, nothing dramatic, but it’s there.  There’s a little bit of sink to the keyboard in the middle, it’s far from mushy and still very usable, but it’s not on par with some of the best business keyboards I’ve used such as a ThinkPads.  The lid uses a magnesium material for protection, but it’s a bit thin and you get some flex there I’d rather not see.  Same goes for the bottom area, the material quality feels good but it’s a bit on the thin side, push the bottom of the notebook where the optical drive is and you’ll see it flex.  The somewhat thinner material used of course keeps the weight down, you can’t have it all, I recommend buying a good sleeve to help protect the S2210.


Bottom view of S2210 (view large image)

Screen

The S2210 bucks the trend by sticking with a standard 4:3 ratio screen and not using widescreen that every other laptop is fleeing to.  It is personal preference as to whether you prefer widescreen or regular format.  Outside of dimensions, the screen is XGA resolution (1024 x 768), Crystal View (glossy) and is very, very bright at full brightness.  This is a good thing; you can always turn brightness down if it’s too much for your eyes.  The colors really pop out of the screen, it’s excellent for watching movies or viewing pictures.  As usual with laptops, the screen’s vertical viewing angles are not so great, but horizontal angles quite decent.  Overall the screen is better than your average notebook; you just have to decide whether standard size and glossy screen are two characteristics that fit your needs.

Audio

The Fujitsu LifeBook S2210 comes with two speakers at the top of the keyboard area.  As usual with notebooks, they are somewhat tinny sounding and offer little to no bass.  The upside is that the speaker grill area looks nice.  Though there are several media buttons at the top of the keyboard, there are none to control volume.  Volume is controlled via an Fn + F8 (volume down) or Fn + F9 (volume up) keystroke.

Processor and Performance

Obviously with this system the focus isn’t on pedal to the metal speed, but rather providing enough performance to get work done while you’re on the go.  And the LifeBook S2210 does just that.  It’s no speed demon, but it’s absolutely fine for using Office applications and web browsing.  The 2GB of RAM seemed to be a big help in running Vista Business as I experienced no lag that I’ll sometimes get on systems with 1GB of RAM installed.  The benchmarks below tell the story of the expected average performance.

PCMark05 Results:

PCMark05 tests the overall performance of a system, below is how the S2210 faired relative to other somewhat similar notebooks:

Notebook PCMark05 Score
Fujitsu LifeBook S2210 (1.6GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-52, ATI x1150) 2,215 PCMarks
Gateway C120X (Intel Core 2 Duo ULV 1.06GHz, Intel GMA 950 graphics) 2,205 PCMarks
LG C1 (Intel Core Duo 1.2GHz, Nvidia Go 7300) 2,568 PCMarks
Toshiba R400 (Intel Core Duo ULV 1.2GHz, Intel GMA 950 graphics) 2,187 PCMarks
HP tx1000 (AMD Turion X2 2.0GHz, Nvidia Go 6150) 3,052 PCMarks
Asus R1F (1.66GHz Core Duo, Intel GMA 950 graphics) 2,724 PCMarks
Lenovo ThinkPad X60t (1.66GHz LV Core Duo) 2,860 PCMarks
Panasonic ToughBook T4 (Intel 1.20GHz LV) 1,390 PCMarks
Asus R2H (900MHz Celeron M) 845 PCMarks
Toshiba Tecra M6 (1.66GHz Intel T2300E, Intel GMA 950) 2,732 PCMarks

 

3DMark05 Comparison Results:

3DMark05 tests the overall graphic capabilities of a notebook. The S2210 is by no means intended as a 3D performance notebook, and the below results demonstrate that, included is a video to show you some of the choppiness you get with 3D graphics running on the S2210:

 

 

Notebook 3D Mark 05 Results
Fujitsu LifeBook S2210 (1.6GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-52, ATI x1150) 810 3DMarks
Gateway C120X (1.06GHz ULV Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA 950) 500 3DMarks
LG C1 (1.2GHz Intel Core Duo, Nvidia Go 7300) 1,392 3DMarks
PortableOne UX (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA 950) 590 3DMarks
Toshiba Satellite A135 (1.73GHz Core Duo, Intel GMA 950) 519 3D Marks
Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB) 2,092 3D Marks
Asus V6Va (2.13 GHz Pentium M, ATI x700 128 MB) 2,530 3D Marks
Fujitsu n6410 (1.66 GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB) 2,273 3DMarks
HP Pavilion dv4000 (1.86 GHz Pentium M, ATI X700 128MB) 2,536 3D Marks
Dell XPS M1210 (2.16 GHz Core Duo, Nvidia Go 7400 256MB) 2,090 3D Marks

 

Keyboard and Touchpad


A look at the keyboard and touchpad (view large image)

There’s not much to write home about regarding the keyboard, it gets the job done. As stated previously, there’s not too much flex, but there is some.  The key travel is kind of short and if you’re a light touch typist that’s fine, if you really like to jam on the keys and feel them travel a lot (like me) you’ll not be as happy. 

The touchpad is fine in size and slightly textured, so it’s easy to use.  The buttons are a little too clicky for my liking and they are kind of small, but the tactile feel is nice and they work well.  In between the mouse buttons is a fingerprint reader, you can also run your finger along this to scroll through webpages or documents. 

Battery

A lot has been written in other reviews of this notebook regarding poor battery life.  I found the battery life to be middling, but not awful.  With the screen set to half brightness, wireless on, and using the notebook for web browsing and other light tasks I got 2 hours and 17 minutes of battery life.  That’s not great, I’d prefer to see 3-hours out of this sized notebook, but it’s not awful.  One thing I did was switch Vista performance settings to Battery Optimized, which helped a great deal in extending battery life.  It also kept the system cooler by not running the processor at full force.

Heat and Noise

Initially I found the S2210 was generating quite a bit of heat, especially from the heat vent on the back left side.  You could really get a nice little hand warmer going, and you didn’t even need to be pushing the system hard to do this.  Right from bootup the fan would kick in and heat started spewing out.  After changing the Vista performance to “Battery Optimized” instead of the high performance setting it was set to by default, the heat was greatly reduced and it wasn’t as much of an issue.

The fan is audible for sure, but it’s not vacuum cleaner loud. Again, I’d prefer it were quieter and didn’t work as frequently as did, but you certainly can’t hear it over ambient room noise. If you’re in a library setting, you will be able to hear it.

Input and Output Ports

The S2210 comes with a good array of ports, let’s take a tour around the notebook to see what ports you get:

On the left side you get the power jack, mini-S-Video port (comes with an adapter), headphone out, microphone in, 4-pin FireWire. You can also see the main heat vent towards the rear.


(view large image)

On the front side you get the 4-in-1 media card reader and the wireless on-off switch.


(view large image)

On the right side is the optical drive, which is removable via the lever you see below it, and then a modem port, USB port and covered monitor out port.


(view large image)

On the rear of the notebook are two stacked USB ports and then the Ethernet LAN port on the left side.


(view large image)

 

Software and Support

Being a business notebook, the S2210 comes with a forgiving amount of bloatware — in fact there is little to none. The only piece of software I would think about removing and replacing with an alternative is the Norton Anti-Virus. That said, you should have some type of anti-virus on there so Norton is better than nothing if that was your other option.

The S2210 I have came with windows Vista Business. You actually have the option of configuring the S2210 with Windows XP Home if you go through Fujitsu.com. I know some will prefer that to the learning curve Vista might force you through.

The S2210 comes with standard 1-year warranty, you can upgrade to 3-year with international support if you find yourself travelling a lot.

Conclusion

The Fujitsu LifeBook S2210 is a decent notebook with good looks, the 13.3" screen size is really quite a sweet spot between being an ultraportable and larger 14" thin-and-light notebook. It’s easy to carry around, yet not so small that the screen is tough for viewing. Speaking of viewing, the screen is absolutely fantastic. The professional styling and cool looking media buttons would suit a practical but style conscious business person. The downsides to the notebook are the middling battery life, it runs a bit warm, and the keyboard could be improved. On the whole though there’s not much to complain about. The starting price of the S2210 is around $1,299 and the price as tested is $1,979. Personally I think the price is a bit high for what you get relative to other notebooks out there, but as always you can shop around to find better prices, so do your homework there.

Pros

  • Great style and professional but not stodgy look
  • Removable optical bay so you can get weight down or put in another optical drive
  • Beautiful and bright screen, excellent quality
  • Good selection of ports for this sized notebook
  • Nice looking and very usable media and shortcut buttons included

Cons

  • Runs warm, fan works a lot
  • Middle of the road battery life
  • Keyboard not rock solid, a bit of flex
  • Casing flexes in parts


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