- Beautiful design
- Excellent performance
- Business-friendly features
- Terrible keyboard
- Poor screen
- Weak speaker (yes, there's just one)
The Fujitsu Lifebook U772 is an absolutely beautiful Ultrabook that is ruined by a sub-par keyboard.
This is one of the classiest Ultrabooks we’ve laid eyes on to date – but can that make up for its subpar keyboard and high price tag?
Fujitsu might be better known in the professional world for its wide range of convertible notebook tablet PCs, but the Lifebook family isn’t going to be left out of Intel’s Ultrabook craze. Fujitsu announced several Ultrabooks for 2012 and the Lifebook U772 is a sleek-looking Ultrabook designed with business professionals in mind.
Build and Design
The first thing I noticed about the Lifebook U772 was its elegant design; it has an understated look with smooth, clean lines. I like the contrasting black and silver colors. There is not a hint of glossy plastic on this Ultrabook (save for the glossy display surface, of course) which is greatly appreciated. The attention to detail is impressive; there are no unfinished edges and all the parts fit together smoothly. As a matter of fact the keyboard and surrounding areas are one solid piece; it’s certainly not inexpensive to produce that part.
The chassis has a solid feel thanks to its metal construction; it’s hard to flex the chassis and no ripples appear on the screen when it’s pushed in on from behind. The chassis is impressively thin at less than 0.7 inches and for a 14-inch notebook is positively a featherweight at 3.15 pounds.
Input and Output Ports
The U772 has an above average number of ports for an Ultrabook including three USB and an HDMI port. It has Ethernet via an included dongle since the height of an Ethernet port is actually greater than the thickness of this Ultrabook. There is no VGA port. The only thing you’ll find on the front edge are status lights and there is nothing but a screen hinge on the rear side of the U772.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The U772′s full-size keyboard is the problem with this notebook. Its exceptionally short key travel (a few millimeters at best) means an almost total lack of tactile feedback; it’s hard to tell when a key is pressed down. The F and J keys do not have enough of a raised bump to place hands in the correct positions by feel. Additionally I had issues with the space bar; I tap it with my right thumb and it did not register half the time. Last but not least there are layout issues; the Home and End keys are secondary functions in the arrow key cluster. Programmers especially will miss having these as dedicated keys.
The Synaptics touchpad is a nightmare with factory settings. It has a ‘feature’ where the cursor continuously moves across the surface even after lifting your finger off it; it’s called ‘Momentum’. Once disabled the touchpad functioned normally. Once that’s done the touchpad is actually quite nice. It has a smooth surface and is accurate enough. This is a clickpad; press down anywhere to produce a click. Clicks are audible but not annoyingly loud.
Screen and Speakers
The U772 is available with an anti-glare screen surface but ours has the glossy one. This is unfortunate because there are too many reflections in well-lit environments. This 14-inch display has a disappointing 1366×768 resolution; as a business-oriented Ultrabook, it should have a higher 1600×900 resolution (which has approx. one-third more space). A higher resolution is unfortunately not available. There is simply not enough room to use two windows side-by-side with this resolution. The display itself is of low quality; there is a lack of saturation as colors look washed out and the viewing angles are poor; even a slight tilting of the display results in colors inverting. Brightness is good however. Normally I would be forgiving about the display quality but this Ultrabook is priced at north of $1,500; it should have something better. This same quality display can be found on a $400 bargain basement notebook.
The U772 has one tiny speaker that is oddly placed under the left side of the palm rest and is curiously aimed left too. It sounds awful even for voice-only applications like a Skype call. I won’t dock too many points for this oversight – this is an Ultrabook, after all – but this is the worst-sounding sound setup of all the Ultrabooks I’ve tested.