The market of mobile computers today offers a wide model range for each user’s particular needs. On one end of the range there are large desktop-replacement machines with a screen diagonal of 14-15” which can accomplish almost any computing task. They are of course more mobile than desktop PCs, but you won’t want to move one about with your own hands unless in want of some physical exercise. Such notebooks boast an excellent performance but are severely limited in the time of autonomous operation; some desknotes come without a battery at all. Such “heavyweight” devices can thus be regarded as portable, but not quite mobile computers. PDAs are in the opposite market sector: they are easily transportable but their performance is limited to a very narrow scope of tasks and their ergonomics is poor. Somewhere in between these two extremes one can find a distinct category of compact devices with a rather small screen and low power consumption and weight, which are, however, sufficiently fast and ergonomic. These devices are meant for frequent voyages and are designed with long battery life in mind. They are called sub-notebooks.
On seeing a regular sub-notebook one might suspect it to be deficient in many respects, but this is not quite true. Today’s technology allows putting an advanced enough configuration into a really small case that would even fit into a lady’s handbag. Yes, it wouldn’t be comfortable to play a game on a computer with a 10” screen and an integrated graphics core and sub-notebooks are not generally positioned as gaming stations, but working in office applications and watching movies should be fun because most sub-notebooks have a widescreen display and a high resolution typical of larger notebooks.
Such models are offered by nearly every major notebook manufacturer and the German computer giant Fujitsu Siemens Computers is among them. It is the LIFEBOOK P7010 notebook from this company (the letter P denotes a professional solution) that is going to be the subject matter of this review. On a last-year press conference it was said to be the lightest (1.3kg) full-fledged professional notebook. So this model has been around for quite a while, but hasn’t yet become out-dated. The manufacturer claims the cutie to be made in Japan, but the label on its bottom reads “Made in Germany”, probably because the company’s headquarters are located in Augsburg, Bavaria.
The original configuration of the sub-notebook has changed a little over the time. It was at first equipped with a Banias-core Pentium M 718 Ultra Low Voltage (1.1GHz clock rate), but the sample that we are about to test has a Dothan-core 1.2GHz ULV processor that is a part of the first-generation Centrino platform on the Intel 855GME chipset. The original combo-drive has also been replaced with a DVD-burner.
The current configuration of the Fujitsu Siemens LIFEBOOK P7010 is similar to that of the Sony VAIO VGN-T2XRP/S that we have tested recently on our site. So besides describing the sub-notebook from Fujitsu Siemens I am going to compare its performance and battery life to those of Sony’s product.