Fujitsu M2010 Review

by Kevin O'Brien Reads (39,785)
  • Pros

    • Great looks
    • Solid feeling chassis
  • Cons

    • High price
    • Some odd default settings
    • Small standard battery

by Kevin O’Brien

The M2010 is a new netbook to hit the market from Fujitsu, which is their first Atom-based model to date. Offering good looks and good build quality it is marketed as a “Mini-Notebook” aimed at casual users who want a small platform to surf the web or check email. In this review we take a look at all aspects of the M2010, to help you find out if this netbook is right for you.

Our Fujitsu M2010 features the following specifications:

  • Operating System: Windows XP Home
  • Processor: Intel Atom N270 Processor 1.60GHz (533MHz FSB, 512K Cache)
  • Memory: 1GB DDR2 PC2-6400 SDRAM
  • Internal Storage: 160GB 5400 rpm SATA HDD
  • Display: 10.1-inch diagonal LED-backlit WSVGA (1024×576)
  • Graphics: Intel GMA 950
  • Wireless: Atheros 802.11b/g, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • Expansion: 4-in-1 media card slot
  • Ports and connectors: (3) USB 2.0 ports, VGA OUT, power connector, RJ-45/Ethernet, stereo headphone/line out, stereo microphone in, 1.3 megapixel webcam
  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 10.2″ x 7.4″ x 1.3″
  • Weight: 2 lbs 8.8oz (3lbs 5.2oz with adapter).
  • Power: 3-cell Lithium-Ion battery (10.8V, 2.4Ah, 26Wh)
  • Warranty: One-year international warranty
  • MSRP: $449

Build and Design
From the start Fujitsu made a great looking netbook. The M2010 has an excellent glossy metallic red paint job inside and out with glossy piano black plastic surrounding the top of the keyboard and around the screen. I really think Fujitsu took a step back and thought before they came up with a netbook to launch into a saturated market … and found some interesting ways to make it stand out. Whatever approach they took it worked.

Build quality is excellent with no squeaks and creaks around the chassis, and only minor flex from larger plastic surfaces. Even the screen hinges feel great with good tension when pivoting the screen and a very smooth action when in motion. On the bottom of the notebook we find the standard “Fujitsu Felt” underneath the processor location, which helps limit the amount of heat that can transfer into your legs when you are using it on your lap. This is standard across every Fujitsu notebook I have ever seen.

Access to internal components is handled through a single panel on the bottom of the notebook, but it only lets you swap out the wireless card and system memory. The hard drive requires further disassembly … something that the average user might not want to undertake. Still, this was probably a poor choice, since memory and storage are the only areas of expansion and upgrade for netbook users.

Screen and Speakers
The glossy display on the M2010 looks great, which is the case with many LED-backlit netbook displays. Colors are rich and vibrant, with deep contrast and excellent black levels. Peak brightness levels were great for viewing in bright office conditions, with my preferred setting right at the 50% mark. Viewing angles rate average, with colors starting to invert 20 degrees forward or back. Horizontal viewing angles were much better, extending until the screen bezel and reflection started to obstruct the view of the panel.

The speakers rate average compared to netbooks, and below average compared to most notebooks. Peak volume levels were fine for listening in a small room, but didn’t have much power to fill a larger room. Bass and midrange were not present, with only higher frequencies coming through. Headphones would be preferred for really enjoying music or a movie.

Keyboard and Touchpad
The keyboard is the primary area that I feel Fujitsu should have spent more time developing. Compared to almost every netbook on the market right now, it has one of the smallest keyboard layouts, which feels really cramped. While HP set the trend for one of the best netbook keyboards, manufacturers such as ASUS have been following a similar path, expanding the keyboard to make it as wide as the chassis allows. Fujitsu keeps a wide border around the keyboard, which looks good with the glossy red finish, but doesn’t allow as large of a typing surface. Despite the small size the keyboard itself feels very good. Support is excellent, with barely a hint of flex under heavy typing pressure. Individual key action is smooth, with very little key wobble when you try to move the top of the key around. Noise is minimal while typing, with a muted high-pitch click when each key is pressed.

The M2010 offers a smaller Synaptics touchpad with a smooth matte finish. During our tests it was easy to operate with no discernable lag (after some settings adjustment). Initially we found the touchpad to coast after you brought your finger off the surface, which felt very similar to a laggy touchpad. We found a Synaptics feature called “Momentum” was enabled, and once turned off made the touchpad motion feel much nicer. The touchpad also offers some multi-touch functionality, including Flick, Pinch, and ChiralRotate, used to rotate a selected object 90 degrees. No option for two fingered scrolling was found. The touchpad buttons are setup with a seesaw button which is flexible enough that both buttons can be pressed at the same time. Feedback when pressed is minimal, with a loud click when engaged.

Ports and Features
Port selection on the M2010 is average compared to most netbooks on the market, with three USB ports, VGA out, headphone/mic, and SDHC multi-card reader, and LAN connection. Fujitsu also includes a Kensington lock slot if you feel the need to securely attach the netbook while it is unattended.


Front: Activity lights


Rear: Battery


Left: AC power, VGA, one USB


Right: SDHC multi-card reader, headphone/mic, two USB, LAN, Kensington lock slot

Performance and Benchmarks
Initially system performance of the Fujitsu M2010 was well below average compared to similarly configured netbooks. wPrime, which tests just the processor was giving results in the range of 180 seconds, whereas it should be around 120 seconds. Other benchmarks were also giving results that were much slower than expected. After updating drivers across the board with little success, we hopped into the BIOS to see if there were any odd settings. As it turns out the BIOS allows you to switch HyperThreading on or off, with the default setting being off. Once this was turned back on the M2010 sped up and was performing in line with other netbooks. We don’t know if this is a preproduction issue or not, but if you purchase this netbook checking the BIOS option should be the first thing you do after taking it out of the box.

With optimal performance settings the M2010 performs quite well in day-to-day tasks that you might expect from a netbook. HD video decoding and gaming aside, netbooks are great for web browsing, editing photos, typing documents, and just about anything you might want to do while traveling abroad or even to your couch. Boot and shutdown times once the OS had settled from the initial boot were very good, although this is with the AV software removed.

wPrime processor comparison results (lower scores mean better performance):

Notebook / CPU wPrime 32M time
Sony VAIO TZ (Core 2 Duo U7600 @ 1.20GHz) 76.240 seconds
HP Pavilion dv2 (AMD Athlon Neo MV-40 @ 1.60GHz)
103.521 seconds
ASUS Eee PC 1000HE (Intel Atom N280 @ 1.66GHz) 114.749 seconds
ASUS Eee PC 1008HA (Intel Atom N280 @ 1.66GHz) 116.030 seconds
ASUS Eee PC 1005HA (Intel Atom N280 @ 1.66GHz) 116.421 seconds
HP Mini 2140 with HD screen (Intel Atom N270 @ 1.60GHz) 123.281 seconds
Fujitsu M2010 (Intel Atom N270 @ 1.60GHz) 124.499 seconds
Acer Aspire One (Intel Atom @ 1.60GHz)  125.812 seconds
Lenovo IdeaPad S10 (2009) (Intel Atom @ 1.60GHz) 126.406 seconds
Samsung NC20 (VIA Nano ULV U2250 @ 1.30GHz) 173.968 seconds

 

PCMark05 measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance):

Notebook PCMark05 Score
Sony VAIO TZ (1.20GHz Intel Core 2 Duo U7600, Intel GMA 950) 2,446 PCMarks
HP Pavilion dv2 (1.60GHz AMD Athlon Neo, ATI Radeon HD 3410 512MB) 2,191 PCMarks
ASUS N10 (1.60GHz Intel Atom, NVIDIA 9300M 256MB) 1,851 PCMarks
Toshiba Portege R500 (1.20GHz Intel Core 2 Duo U7600, Intel GMA 950) 1,839 PCMarks
ASUS Eee PC 1005HA (1.66GHz Intel Atom N280, Intel GMA 950) 1,637 PCMarks
ASUS Eee PC 1008HA (1.66GHz Intel Atom N280, Intel GMA 950) 1,564 PCMarks
Acer Aspire One (1.60GHz Intel Atom, Intel GMA 950) 1,555 PCMarks
ASUS Eee PC 1000HE (1.66GHz Intel Atom N280, Intel GMA 950) 1,535 PCMarks
Fujitsu M2010 (1.60GHz Intel Atom N270, Intel GMA 950) 1,523 PCMarks
Samsung NC20 (1.30GHz VIA Nano ULV U2250, VIA Chrome9 HC3) 1,441 PCMarks
HP Mini 2140 with HD screen (1.60GHz Intel Atom, Intel GM1 950) 1,437 PCMarks

 

3DMark06 comparison results against netbooks @ 1024 x 768 resolution:

Notebook 3DMark06 Score
HP Pavilion dv2 (1.60GHz AMD Athlon Neo, ATI Radeon HD 3410 512MB)
1,520 3DMarks
ASUS N10 (1.60GHz Intel Atom, NVIDIA 9300M 256MB) 1,417 3DMarks
Samsung NC20 (1.30GHz VIA Nano ULV U2250, VIA Chrome9 HC3) 151 3DMarks
ASUS Eee PC 1005HA (1.66GHz Intel Atom N280, Intel GMA 950) 127 3DMarks
Acer Aspire One (1.60GHz Intel Atom, Intel GMA 950) 122 3DMarks
ASUS Eee PC 1008HA (1.66GHz Intel Atom N280, Intel GMA 950) 116 3DMarks
HP Mini 2140 with HD screen (1.60GHz Intel Atom, Intel GM1 950) 112 3DMarks
ASUS Eee PC 1000HE (1.66GHz Intel Atom N280, Intel GMA 950) 92 3DMarks
Sony VAIO P (1.33GHz Intel Atom, Intel GMA 500, Windows Vista) 88 3DMarks
Fujitsu M2010 (1.60GHz Intel Atom N270, Intel GMA 950) 83 3DMarks

 

HDTune measuring hard drive performance:

 

Heat and Noise
Compared to other netbooks the M2010 runs a bit on the warm and loud side of things. Under normal use temperatures settle in the mid 80′s around the top surface, and after it has warmed up the fan likes to stay on. Under any heavier load the fan noise is considerably louder than most notebook fans. This can be common on some netbooks, since the fans are so small they have to spin very fast to move any measureable amount of air.

Battery
The M2010 didn’t impress us with its performance in our battery tests. The standard battery Fujitsu includes with this model is a small 3-cell 25Wh battery which doesn’t compare well to 6-cell batteries you would get in this price range from other manufacturers. Another problem we ran into was the default BIOS settings relating to HyperThreading being disabled. With it disabled, during our battery test with the backlight set to 50% and wireless active the M2010 managed 2 hours and 17 minutes. With it turned on, power consumption dropped by 1 to 1.5watts at idle, increasing our results to 3 hours and 12 minutes. With a larger battery the system could have easily competed with newer netbooks, but with the 3-cell limitation results were less than stellar.

Conclusion
The Fujitsu M2010 is a late arrival to the netbook market, offering very good looks and build quality, but with a high price and not so excellent performance. Compared to some of the newer netbooks on the market its benchmarks fall towards the bottom of the list, and battery life came up way short with the 3-cell battery. With its good looks and high build quality it seems to be pushed towards business customers, which might explain the higher price. Overall for if the price was about $100 less it would be much more attractive.

Pros:

  • Great looks
  • Solid feeling chassis with high quality components

Cons:

  • High price
  • Some odd default performance settings
  • Small standard battery


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