Fujitsu’s latest refresh of its S-series is the LifeBook S6520. Although the chassis design has remained largely identical for the last three generations, the S6520's processor is fast and punchy and the screen is big and bright.
Although Fujitsu could be labelled as unoriginal for releasing a laptop with the same body as the one found on the Lifebook S6410 and the Lifebook S6510, an argument could also be made that it is sticking with a good design. What is certain is that the sleek lines of the device look good, with very little wasted space.
When we picked the device up, the first thing we noticed was the unit’s surprising lack of weight. Coming in at a mere 1.8kg, the LifeBook is very easy to use on the go; this is aided by the laptop's full-sized keyboard, which makes typing a breeze.
The keyboard felt a little flimsy and had a tendency to shake every time we hit a key, but the unit we had was pre-production and hopefully the issue will be solved when the final version is released.
The S6520’s 14.1in display with a native resolution of 1280x800 was mostly excellent, with good brightness and great colour contrast. Movies and images were reproduced very well, and the viewing angles were for the most part brilliant, with the exception of the vertical viewing angle.
Under the hood, the unit didn’t disappoint. A 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T9400 processor kept things running smoothly, as did the 2GB of DDR2 RAM. The 320GB hard drive that comes with the LifeBook spins at 5400rpm (it is partitioned into two equal parts by default).
The WorldBench 6 score of 95 fulfilled our high expectations for this notebook. This score means that users will have no problem multitasking, editing images or encoding movies.
In our iTunes benchmark, where we convert 53min of .WAV files into 192Kbps MP3s, the Fujitsu’s time of 1min 16sec was a few seconds slower than we expected, but that shouldn’t detract too much from this zippy machine.
Unfortunately, the relatively weak processing power of the integrated Mobile Intel 45 Express graphics chipset did detract a little from the device, with 3DMark 06 providing a score of 1005. This will barely allow you to play older titles such as F.E.A.R., and woe betide anyone who attempts to run a DirectX 10 game such as Crysis. In Fujitsu’s defence, this laptop is aimed squarely at business users, not gamers.
Business users will love the device's excellent battery life. In our DVD rundown test the S6520 lasted a sturdy 2hr 19min, which means plenty of use between recharges.
The expansion options are somewhat outdated, with no HDMI ports or ExpressCard slots being available. Instead, a D-sub port sits behind a latch on the left side of the unit near its PCMCIA card slot, below which is a 4-in-1 card reader (xD, SD, MS, MSPro). On the other side are three USB 2.0 slots, a 56Kbps modem and the DVD-RW drive. A FireWire S400 port sits on the front of the unit.
Network connectivity capabilities are excellent, with 802.11n wireless and Gigabit Ethernet built in, along with a Bluetooth module for picking up signals from compatible devices.