Price (RRP): $2,999
Reviewer: Anthony Fordham
After seeing a few Core 2 Duo notebooks, it’s clear that manufacturers are struggling to decide whether to include faster CPUs or better graphics chips to meet their price points. Fujitsu seems to have chosen Apple’s route – give the punters a better processor but don’t fuss with the graphics because this machine isn’t going to be used for games.
In fact, the E8210 compares directly to the MacBook Pro 15 inch at many levels, from CPU to memory to weight. It has a less powerful graphics chips and shorter battery life, but comes in $200 cheaper – and since it’s a PC you’ll be able to get a good discount from almost any shop.
While other notebooks in this price point (and even more expensive units) are satisfied with the 2GHz Core 2 Duo, the E8210 uses the 2.16GHz chip. The power advantage of those extra 160MHz is going to be hard to detect though, and we would certainly have preferred a more robust graphics chip.
Still, the RADEON Mobility X1400 is a modern chip that can easily handle all but the very latest games. It will struggle with new releases, however.
Fujitsu builds very solid machines that have a few extras. The E8210 includes a fingerprint scanner and, oddly enough, an old-school rubbery mouse pointing device in the middle of the keyboard.
This machine also comes in a magnesium alloy body, which certainly does a lot to make it feel like a very high quality device.
Set up for the LifeBook is pretty typical for a Windows machine. There’s some fiddling, some unfriendly dialogues to work your way through, but once again everything is straightforward. There are no special extras for setting up a wireless connection – it’s a matter of finding the switch, then clicking the tiny icon in the system tray. Here’s hoping Vista will improve this!
The E8210 is very much a work machine. It will play movies just fine, and as mentioned, handles older games with no trouble, but there’s no danger of this becoming your primary entertainment device. It’s just too serious! Thanks to the metal casing though, it does feel like the E8210 can travel the world with you and be your transit-lounge buddy for keeping up with work and communicating with friends.
But the graphics chip really does let it down in the end. At this price, it’s reasonable to expect a machine that can tackle anything. If it has 2GB of RAM we could forgive anything, but a single gigabyte is going to feel a mite cramped when Vista finally rolls out.
If you have a job to do and don’t want to be distracted by foolish PC-based pursuits such as gaming, then this is the machine for you. As mentioned previously, it has comparable build quality and performance to the MacBook Pro, but costs $200 less and has a fingerprint scanner for extra security.
Maybe it won’t excite you or form part of your ultra-stylish digital life, but the LifeBook E8210 will get the job done. We just wish it could play the latest games too.