Fujitsu already has a reputation for being one of the best manufacturers of notebooks and the new Lifebook SH530 which comes with a spill resistant keyboard and an Intel i5 processor is no exception. It is a good value for money notebook and is easy to take with you.
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While the 13.3-inch LED backlit display screen is good, it is housed in a flimsy lid which concerns me because one of the biggest areas of complaint is the failure of the display screen due to external pressures caused when it is pushed into a bag.
Running Windows 7 Professional, the Fujitsu Lifebook 5 series offering has all the bits you’d expect from a notebook manufacturer. It comes with 2GB of memory, an Intel i5 CPU running at 2.53Ghz, 500GB hard drive, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, VGA, ExpressCard slot, SD card reader, HDMI and even dedicated microphone and headphone jacks which allow you to use your favourite headphone or headset. The unit also has a built-in webcamera to be used for Skype, Yahoo Messenger and other Instant Messaging programs with video capabilities.
However, one weakness that this notebook has is that it only has three USB ports (one e-SATA). For example, if you connect a wireless mouse to the notebook, you are left with two USBs port for an external storage device and an iPod/iPhone. My tip if you are buying this type of notebook is to buy a USB expander that will give you additional ports for accessories.
The model we reviewed had a burgundy red casing with black trim. One area where Fujitsu has excelled is the layout and size of their keyboard, and this model is no different. Keys were big and tactile, while the trackpad was responsive.
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Unlike other notebooks, the SH530 does not come with a lot of bloatware. The notebook only comes pre-installed with Cyberlink PowerDVD and YouCam, Norton Internet Security 2010, and Roxio Creator LJ. Users can maximise the operating system by purchasing another 2GB memory stick, although Fujitsu should have included 4GB of RAM in the first place to avoid opening the hardware compartment.
The unit is quick to boot up although running multiple applications tend to slow the unit down. This notebook can rip CDs to iTunes, encode movies and edit photos albeit at a slow pace. The notebook garnered a score of 3478 on 3DMark06, which means that you play older games with ease. Playing the latest graphic-intensive games is definitely not an option.
Finally, the unit lasted for about 110 minutes on our battery drain test, which is not as good compared to other notebooks that push battery life to more than 120 minutes. Better bring your charger if you plan to use it for a long time.
The SH530 is available now for $1399.