Fujitsu LifeBook S7000 Review (pics, specs)

by Reads (38,699)

by Sutheep, Thailand

The Fujitsu LifeBook S7000 is considered a thin and light notebook.It sports a 14.1″ Crystal View LCD, which here in Asia is referred to as being a Super Fine screen.

Fujitsu LifeBook S7011 Specs and Features

  • Processor: Intel Pentium M Processor 725 (1.60GHz, 2MB L2 cache, 400MHz FSB), 855GME Chipset
  • RAM: 768MB DDR 333MHz
  • Hard Drive: Hitachi Travelstar 60GB at 7200RPM Ultra DMA100
  • Screen: 14″ SuperFine XGA TFT, 1024 x 768 pixels
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Professional (Fresh Install)
  • Battery: Up to 4.4hrs (6-cell Li-Ion 4800mAh)
  • Weight: Approx. 1.77kg (w/ Weight Saver Option)
  • Graphics: Integrated Intel Extreme Graphics 2 64MB (Shared)
  • Audio: SigmaTel STAC9751T AC97 codec with built-in dual Stereo Speakers
  • Communications: 56K V.92 modem, 100/10Mbps Fast Ethernet and Intel PRO/Wireless 2200BG network connection with Dual Antenna. Separate ON/OFF switch for wireless network connection
  • User Interface: Keyboard: 84-key, 19mm key pitch, 3mm key stroke. Touch Pad with Fingerprint Sensor
  • Card Slot: PC Card Type I/II x 2, SD Card/ Memory Stick PRO
  • Connector Interface:  USB 2.0 x 3, VGA (external display), RJ45 (LAN), RJ11 (modem), mini S-video out, IEEE1394, Headphone-out, Microphone-in, Power Adapter DC-in
  • Quick Launch Panel: Four Programmable Application Launch Buttons (Internet, Email and 2 other software)
  • Media Playback Panel: Four Functions: Stop/Eject, Play/Pause, Next, Previous
  • Security: BIOS Lock, Hard Disk Lock, Anti-theft Lock Slot, Fingerprint Sensor
  • Dimensions: 306mm (W) x 247mm (D) x 25.4mm min (H)

Competitors to the Fujitsu S7000

To tell you the truth, it took me almost a year to find a laptop that really called my name.  I looked at a couple of notebooks before I bought the Fujitsu S7011. The first notebook I looked at was the Sony VAIO S-series.  The VAIO S is very sexy with its beautiful widescreen. But the VAIO S also comes with a very hefty price tag and only a 1-year warranty. The next notebook I was on the verge of buying was the Dell Inspiron 700m. This notebook looks okay, I would say, it isn’t mind blowing. The screen size on the 700m is 12.1″, and is also a very nice widescreen format LCD. However, the 700m build and construction is mostly plastic and that was a turnoff for me. The reason I went to Dell in the first place was their price, it’s hard to at least not consider a Dell given their aggressive pricing. I then looked at the notebook I originally ordered, the Fujitsu S6230. I really wanted a 13.3″ screen. My cousin had bought this notebook, and although I hadn’t gotten a chance to play with it, I knew how it looked and its weight, size, etc. Unfortunately the dealer I dealt with called and told me that the LifeBook S6230 was out of stock and wouldn’t come in until mid-April. So while waiting I did a bit of research and found that the S6230 Asia Pacific version which comes with SuperFine, doesn’t have an S-video out port, no media card reader, and is almost the same weight as the LifeBook S7000 series notebook.

Reason for buying

A major reason I purchased the S7011 laptop was because of its weight. It’s approximately 1.8kg. I needed something I could carry on my shoulder everyday as I must walk to my office. Before the Fujitsu I had a Compaq Evo N1000V which weighed over 3kg and was breaking both my back and my shoulder! Another major reason I bought the S7011 was due to its screen. The screen Super Fine (same as U.S. Crystal View) is mind blowing. And the built-in fingerprint sensor gets oohs and ahhs from people around you when you log into windows with your finger.

Buying Experience

I ordered the Fujitsu S7011 at a local computer fair through a Fujitsu dealer. I actually booked a 13.3″ screen LifeBook S6230 at the time, but changed my mind later. I had the worst salesman ever. This sales guy kept pushing the date of delivery back day after day.  After a long string of hassles and problems with that particular sales person I went to another Fujitsu reseller and placed an order for the S7011.  I was given a brand new box right away as they had it in stock. After finding a stuck pixel on the LCD of that notebook, I returned it the next day and was promptly given another on which the screen was fine.  So that’s it for my buying experience and the moral of the story is to make sure to do a little research and buy from somebody reputable or you might have a bad experience like I did the first go around.

Form & Design

The Fujitsu LifeBook S7011 has a 14.1″ screen. This notebook has an attractive and eye catching look.  The build of the notebook feels very strong, when pressing the lid to see if ripples appear on the front LCD I found that they did not, you’d have to press very hard on the lid case to see even a small ripple appear. The body of the notebook is also very strong, and the hinges for opening and closing the screen are very firm. The palm rest area does not flex very much, you have to give it a really good push there to see the flex. The design is very basic but appealing; it has a black magnesium alloy lid with a Fujitsu LifeBook emblem in the middle. Overall the S7011 looks very professional, and best of all it is very light for a 14.1-inch screen notebook.

The Screen

The 14.1″ Super Fine LCD screen is what really blew my mind when first investigating the LifeBook S7011. It has a 1024 x 768 (XGA) resolution screen that’s coated with a reflective material just like the Sony X-Brite style LCDs. But in my opinion this screen looks much better than the Sony X-Brite screen such as that comes on the Sony VAIO S Series.  All colors are shown correctly, there are no spots and the screen is evenly lit. There doesn’t seem to be any type of backlight leakage. Text shows up crisp and sharp. The first S7011 I got had a stuck pixel on the screen, but I was able to change it the next day.

Speakers

The speakers on the S7011 are adequate. They might be a bit on the small side, but they’re loud enough for light music. The sound is clear thou. There isn’t any bass coming from it. I’d suggest you to use headphones for movies or music.

Processor and Performance

The performance for this notebook is better than your average thin and light with the configuration that I got. The S7011 by default comes with an Intel Pentium M 725 (Dothan) 1.6 MHz processor. I got the S7011 configured with a Hitachi Travelstar 60GB hard drive spinning at 7,200RPM and with 768MB of RAM. With this configuration It took me 48secs to boot into Windows (BootVis).  Overall this laptop is very snappy and responsive. The S7011 is very quiet, the fan almost never comes on when I’m doing such things as surfing the net. As for the overall heat generated from the notebook, it’s a bit warm on the right palm rest, but only if after extensive use. The heat on the right side is caused by the Hitachi hard disk under this area. I haven’t tried playing games with the S7011 as of yet so I cannot comment on gaming performance.  Since the graphics are integrated the expectation would be for a poor gaming experience using this notebook for 3D type games.

Benchmarks

I ran Super Pi to calculate the length of time it took the S7011 to calculate Pi to 2million digits of accuracy.

Comparison of notebooks using Super Pi to calculate Pi to 2 million digits (plugged in):

 Notebook Time to Calculate Pi to 2 Million Digits
Fujitsu LifeBook (1.6GHz Dothan Pentium M) 2m 06s
Fujitsu LifeBook N3510 (1.73 GHz Alviso Pentium M) 1m 48s
IBM ThinkPad T41 (1.6GHz Banias Pentium M) 2m 23s
Compaq R3000T (Celeron 2.8GHz) 3m 3s
Dell Inspiron 600m (1.6 GHz Dothan Pentium M) 2m 10s
Dell Inspiron 8600 (1.7GHz Banias Pentium M) 2m 28s

When plugged in I got a time of 2m08s.  I had Norton System Works 2005 running in the background while doing this test.

Keyboard & Touchpad

Fujitsu LifeBook S7011 Keyboard and Touchpad (view larger image)

The keyboard is really good overall. There is a little flex to the keyboard, but you have to give the keys a hard push to notice this. The layout of the keys is almost perfect for my needs.  The only exception being that for the Home and the End keys you need to press the function (FN) in and then press the Pg-Up for Home or Pg-Dn for End. Fujitsu has done a good job placing the Ctrl key where it supposed to be thank goodness.

As for the touchpad, coming from using my Compaq notebook, this touchpad seems very responsive. The texture of the actual pad is not slippery, and the cursor goes where you want it to go. The touchpad is made by ALPS. The touchpad buttons are well made and you can feel them bounce back when pressed for good feedback responsiveness. Overall the touchpad is good.

Input & Output Ports
 
Most of the ports are on the sides of this notebook, only the LAN and 2 USB 2.0 ports are on the back. There are 3 USB 2.0 ports total; 1 on the right side and 2 on the back side that are right aligned. I plugged in a USB Bluetooth adapter to one port on the back and found the fit seems kind of “tight”, not sure if that’s the adapter or the port causing the problem. Next to the USB port on the right side is the modular bay release, then the modular bay itself. Next to the modular bay is the 56K modem. Then there is the Kensington lock socket.

Fujitsu S7000 Right Side (view larger image)

On the left side we have a VGA port that is covered with a plastic cover for dust protection, this cover looks and feels high quality. Next to the VGA port is the air-vent and then Firewire port. There also is also a mini S-Video port, you need a special cable to run from this and mate with a regular sized S-Video adapter.  The mini S-Video port looks exactly like a headphone socket. Next to the mini S-Video comes the microphone-in and headphones out port. Surprisingly this notebook came with 2 PCMCIA ports, which is cool I suppose, but I still can’t find a way to fill even one of them with an accessory that makes sense for my needs.  Oh well, nice to have two there anyway!

Fujitsu S7000 Left Side (view larger image)

On the front of the laptop there is a Wi-Fi switch, this is very ergonomically placed for easy access. Next to this switch is the MS/SD card slot.

Fujitsu S7011 Front Side (view larger image)

Fujitsu S7011 Bottom side (view larger image)

Wireless

The S7011 is equipped with the Intel Pro Wireless 2200BG mini PCI card. It immediately detected my wireless network at home. I went downstairs from where my wireless access point is and started surfing the net, the connection was kept at 24MBps, which is not bad, considering one floor distance. I’m disappointed this notebook doesn’t have an Infrared port, the US version has. You can even see on the back of the notebook where the port should be (next to the USB on the back) . Also slightly disappointing is the S7011 doesn’t come equipped with Bluetooth.

Battery

This notebook’s battery is amazing. I have not precisely timed it to the minute, but I can reach 3.5 hours of use on battery easily. You should be able to get more if you set the power scheme to battery optimized. I am very happy with the battery, seeing more than 4 hours on the taskbar excites me!

Operating System and Software

Included disks with the Fujitsu S7011

This notebook came with Microsoft Windows XP Home, preinstalled. I swapped the Hitachi hard disk and did a fresh install of Microsoft Windows XP Pro. Then I loaded all the Fujitsu drivers from the recovery disk and installed all the programs from the CD that it came with. Most of the programs Fujitsu includes preinstalled and on the recovery disk are useful. There are, Application Panel — for controlling the media buttons, Fujitsu Diagnostic — for testing hardware, Update Navi — for updating drivers, Omnipass — for the fingerprint scanner, Cyberlink Power DVD, Cyberlink Power Producer, Sonic Record Now. They also bundled Norton Antivirus in the box, but I didn’t use it.

Pros

  • Very light for 14.1″ notebook
  • Excellent battery life
  • Mind-blowing LCD display (Crystal View)
  • Professional design
  • Quick launch button/Able to control media.
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Very quiet

Cons

  • Fingerprint and finger smudges on the alloy case when the light catches it at a certain angle, if there’s little light in the room then you can barely notice it.
  • Home & End keys have to use FN key.
  • No Bluetooth/ No Infrared
  • Only one LED indicator light
  • No backlight on LCD status display

Conclusion

This notebook is perfect for anyone on the move. It’s also good if you want a notebook you can upgrade yourself as you can change the optical drive, not all notebooks offer this. So if you want a light weight, professional looking, 14.1″ beautiful screen, and long life battery notebook, this S7011 is for you.

Pricing and Availability

Extra: Changing the Hard Drive

Picture 1 (view larger image)

Ok, so you want to swap the stock hard disk with something faster or that has more storage volume. First you open the hard disk cover. This might be a bit hard. You can see in the first picture I included a blue target sight. This is where you have to fiddle a bit; you have to be gentle with it. It is very tricky; it’s like a small hook, slowly pull it to right, it should come off. Spend some time with it and you’ll soon see how it works.

Picture 2 (view larger image)

Once you get the cover opened, you’ll see it as in picture 1. Now see where the red arrow is pointing, this is where you grab the black plastic ribbon and pull.  Let me tell you it’s stuck like glue, so might want push it also where it the connector is. Careful though, you don’t want to rip the 56k modem wire.

Picture 3 (view larger image)

Now it will look exactly like picture 2. In picture 3 you can see that the hard disk is removed from the enclosed in aluminum foil. Remove it carefully (not ripping the ribbons). Now insert the new hard disk. Then place it in the compartment and push it toward the IDE connector. Make sure your pins are aligned correctly. Once done, you can close the compartment. When closing the panel, you might have to push the panel to the right side a bit so it can close properly. Place back the screws and tighten them. Voila, it’s done. The hard disk you took out you can put it in an external closure, I have included pictures.

Good Luck!


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