Why you can trust ZDNet
Our recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We may earn a commission when you purchase a product through our links. This helps support our work but does not influence what we write about or the price you pay. Our editors thoroughly review and fact check every article. Our process

‘ZDNet Recommends’ What exactly does that mean?

ZDNet’s recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNet nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNet's editorial team writes on behalf of YOU, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form

Close

Fujitsu Lifebook U938 First Take: A premium lightweight ultraportable

fujitsu-lifebook-u938-first-takeheader.jpg
  • Editors' rating
    Not yet rated

Fujitsu's U-series Lifebook laptops are slim and light, and ideal for the mobile professional. The 8th-generation Intel Core processor in the 13.3-inch Lifebook U938 should equip it to handle fairly demanding workloads too.

My review sample was a startlingly bright red, although conservative types may prefer the black option. Either way, the U938's size and portability really impress. It comes in under the magic 1kg mark by some margin at just 920g, and is a compact 309.3mm wide by 213.5mm deep by 15.5mm thick. It slots easily into the smallest of rucksacks or bags.

fujitsu-lifebook-u938-first-takemain.jpg

Fujitsu's 13.3-inch Lifebook U938 runs on 8th-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processors with 16GB or 20GB of RAM and SSD storage up to 1TB. This touch-screen ultraportable weighs just 920g (2.02lbs) and is available with LTE mobile broadband.

Images: Fujitsu

It will need a protective sleeve though. Like other Fujutsu laptops I've examined recently, such as the 15.6-inch Lifebook E558 and convertible 12.5-inch Lifebook P728, there's a fair bit of flex in the lid. It will therefore need some protection in transit -- and in any case, if you choose the red model you'll want to keep it scratch-free.

Fujitsu has squeezed a 13.3-inch touch-screen into a compact chassis, so the side bezels are a slim 7mm. The top bezel is larger, to accommodate the webcam. The screen itself is an FHD (1,920 x 1,080) panel that's quite reflective. The hinges rotate far enough for the screen to lay flat on a desk or table.

fujitsu-lifebook-u938-first-take-palmsecure.jpg

Rather than a fingerprint reader, the Lifebook U938 uses Fujitsu's PalmSecure biometric authentication.

Image: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

The Lifebook U938's keyboard is very light under the fingers, and has quite a loud click. Unlike the lid, it exhibits almost no flex. There's a double-width, double-height Enter key, and the arrow keys are almost full size. It's all very usable, and I managed full-speed typing without any issues. The touchpad is a little squished and the wrist rest rather shallow, but I'd rather sacrifice these to have a larger keyboard, so I think Fujitsu has made the right decision in this respect.

Fujitsu uses biometrics on a lot of its laptops, and in this case fingerprint recognition is eschewed in favour of PalmSecure, which reads palm vein patterns and needs blood to be flowing in order to work. There's a PalmSecure reader in the bottom right corner of the wrist rest. This can be used as a component in multi-factor authentication, as there's also a smart card slot on the laptop's left edge.

fujitsu-lifebook-u938-first-takeports.jpg

The U938 has 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB-C, HDMI and Ethernet (RJ-45), plus an SD card reader and a smart card slot.

Image: Fujitsu

Top ZDNET Reviews

Fujtisu has crammed plenty of connectivity options into the U938's compact chassis. On the left edge, in addition to the smart card slot, there's a 3.5mm audio jack, USB 3.0 and USB-C ports, and a full-size HDMI connector, plus a round-pin power jack. The right edge has an SD card reader, a second USB 3.0 port, and Ethernet port and a SIM card slot for the optional LTE mobile broadband.

fujitsu-lifebook-u938-first-takeethernet.jpg

The U938 is too slim to accommodate a standard RJ-45 Ethernet port, so Fujitsu has come up with an ingenious pull-out mechanism.

Images: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

The Ethernet port is noteworthy: the base of this laptop is just 10mm thick, so there's no room for a conventional full-size RJ-45 connector. So instead it slides out and swivels into position. It's rather flimsy, but very clever.

The Lifebook U938 runs Windows 10 Pro as standard. My review sample had an Intel Core i7-8650U processor with 20GB of RAM (one 16GB and one 4GB module) and a 256GB SSD. Storage options go up to 1TB.

See: 20 pro tips to make Windows 10 work the way you want (free PDF)

Fujitsu says the U938's battery should last up to 13 hours, but I'm doubtful about that in real-world use. In one three-hour session with the screen set to its default of 40 percent, which was perfectly good enough for working indoors, the battery depleted by 38 percent. I wasn't pushing the system hard -- just writing, streaming some music and reading a few web pages.

This is an expensive laptop. There are four variants available as I write, with a starting price of £1,149 (ex. VAT) for a Core i5-8250U model with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. My review configuration costs £1,798 (ex. VAT).

If you choose the Lifebook U938, you're not only paying for top-notch specifications and build quality, but also for excellent portability.

RECENT AND RELATED COVERAGE

Best 2-in-1 laptops, convertibles, and hybrid laptops for business 2018
2-in-1 devices that can function as laptops or tablets are a growing segment of the PC market. But which type and model of hybrid laptop should you buy? We explore the options and list some of the best.

New Windows 10 April 2018 Update build: Microsoft fixes Intel, Toshiba SSD crashes
But Microsoft recommends most users wait until it offers Windows 10 April 2018 Update for specific devices.

Huawei MateBook X Pro available in the US, special offers included
The 13.9 inch Huawei MateBook X Pro has a 91 percent screen-to-body ratio, immersive Dobly Atmos sound, and a unique pop-up, secure conferencing camera. The price is reasonable and when combined with the $300 gift card it's an even better deal.

Intel details first 10nm Cannon Lake chip: Coming first to Lenovo Ideapad 330
Intel posts a detailed spec of its first 10nm-process Cannon Lake chip, which will feature in Lenovo's Ideapad 330.

Lenovo launches full Windows 10 laptops that are cheaper than some Chromebooks (TechRepublic)
Their new line of IdeaPad laptops range from $250-$850, with features that could make them useful for business professionals.

Mobile device computing policy (Tech Pro Research)
Mobile devices offer convenience and flexibility for the modern workforce--but they also bring associated risks and support issues. This policy establishes guidelines to help ensure safe and productive use of mobile devices by employees, along with recommendations for IT pros responsible for administering and supporting those devices.

Read more reviews