- Integrated 3G/HSDPA
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on/off switch
- looks stunning
- Optical drive in docking station rather than integrated
- Intel Core Solo rather than Core Duo processor
Choosing appropriate notebook computers for different staff within an organisation can be a dilemma. What features do different people need, and how do you ensure that the upper echelons receive systems befitting their station in corporate life? Such questions are taken seriously enough within some organisations for notebook manufacturers to want to cater for the executive market, and Fujitsu Siemens has done so with gusto with its sleek and shiny LifeBook Q2010.
There are two Intel Core Solo-based systems in the Q series, and we examined the higher-end 'Executive' model. Among its features are support for 3G and HSDPA (the latter giving wide-area wireless connectivity at speeds up to 1.8 Mbps), a fingerprint reader and a docking station. However, it's the sheer style and ultraportability of this notebook that is just as likely to sell it, even though it costs a cool £2,441 (ex. VAT).
The Lifebook Q2010 exudes style and expense as soon as you lay eyes on it. The top is finished in piano lacquer, which is one of the reasons for the high cost of this notebook, and the super-shiny finish is very attractive. The Q2010 is supplied with a soft carrying case, and you'll need to use it if you want to keep the lacquer pristine; you'll also need to clean away greasy fingermarks regularly.
There's more expensive componentry inside the system, where titanium has been used to help keep the weight down. At 1.2kg, this is an extremely portable notebook -- something that's particularly impressive given the overall 'thin and light' dimensions of 29.7cm wide by 21.9cm deep by 1.82-1.99cm high.
The 12.0in. TFT display has a native resolution of 1,280 by 800 pixels. Fujitsu Siemens’ Crystal View system ensures that the screen is bright and clear, although it also makes it somewhat reflective. The integrated graphics subsystem can drive an external display at up to 1,600 by 1,200 resolution.
The keyboard is a little disappointing. The keys are rather small, and do not feel as responsive as some others in Fujitsu Siemens notebooks. A half-height row of function keys sits atop the number row. To the left of the keyboard is a column of four buttons flush with the surface along with the on/off switch, which glows a subtle white when the Lifebook Q2010 is switched on.
The two buttons marked '1' and '2' are user programmable, launching whatever program you choose. The one marked ‘R’ is for use with the supplied Recover Pro backup/recovery software across corporate networks. The fourth button, marked ‘E’, is Fujitsu Siemens' EcoButton, which turns off various ports in order to stretch the battery life further than Windows' built-in power management features can manage. The LED screen backlight further helps reduce power consumption.
The fingerprint sensor sits beneath the left and right select keys below the touchpad. Above the keyboard is a grilled panel containing the stereo speakers. A pair of digital array microphones is located one either side of the screen; one of the benefits of this arrangement should be improved VoIP call quality.
The Executive model of the LifeBook Q2010 comes with a second mains power adapter and a docking station. Among the docking station’s features is an optical drive -- lacking in the Q2010 itself. Two batteries are supplied as standard: the standard 3-cell 1,150mAh battery fits flush to the bottom of the system, while the 6-cell 5,200mAh unit is deeper, raising the back of the system to give a comfortable typing angle. Usefully, the docking station has a recess to accommodate the bigger battery.
The LifeBook Q2010 is powered by Intel’s ultra-low-voltage Core Solo U1400 processor running at 1.2GHz. There is 2MB of Level 2 cache and a 533MHz frontside bus. Our review unit had 1GB of RAM on board. Graphics are handled by the GMA 950 module integrated within the Intel 945GMS chipset.
There are plenty of wireless connectivity options. Bluetooth comes courtesy of Toshiba, while Wi-Fi is provided by Intel’s PRO/Wireless 3945ABG module. Ethernet is catered for by a Marvell Yukon Gigabit Ethernet controller. Although there's no infrared, you do get a Sierra Wireless HSDPA network adapter -- the SIM is securely tucked away beneath the battery. Your network operator will need to support HSDPA if you want to get the maximum 1.8Mbps data speed; if your operator does not yet support this, then you'll revert to 384Kbps 3G.
The 60GB hard drive spins at a moderate 4,200rpm. Fujitsu Siemens has not found room for an integrated optical drive into the LifeBook Q2010, but a DVD rewriter is built into the supplied docking station.
There are only two USB ports, one at the front and one at the back on the right-hand side. This edge also houses a FireWire (IEEE 1394) port, an ExpressCard slot, and a slot that doubles for VGA out and Ethernet via a cable adapter. THe left-hand side is home to an SD card slot and the audio ports.
There are two very useful buttons. On the front left edge is a rocker button for volume control: pushing this all the way up mutes the system, while pushing it in opens the on-screen volume control, while rocking it raises and lowers system volume. And on the front, on the right-hand side, there's a switch that turns the integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios on and off.
Fujitsu Siemens’ software bundle includes applications to work with the fingerprint sensor and Norton Internet Security.
Performance & battery life
The combination of a Core Solo ULV U1400 processor, 1GB of RAM, integrated graphics and a 4,200rpm hard drive isn't likely to break any performance records, and the LifeBook Q2010 duly delivered sub-200 scores under the MobileMark 2002 test (the fastest notebooks we've tested score well over 250). Battery life is better: we recorded 4 hours 34 minutes with the 6-cell 5,200mAh battery; if you smaller and lighter 3-cell 1,150mAh battery, however, you'll have to settle for around 90 minutes' life unless you apply very restrictive power management settings.
The LifeBook Q2010 is a very expensive notebook. Some of the cost is justified by the use of premium components such as weight-saving titanium, some by the fancy piano lacquer finish. But even taking these factors into account, you are also paying in part for the rarity value of this notebook and its 'executive' status.