Fujitsu Tablet Lifebook U939X review: A compact and lightweight 13-inch convertible

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  • Editors' rating
    8.0 Excellent
  • $1,599.00

Pros

  • Plenty of connections, including Ethernet and 2x Thunderbolt 3
  • Good battery life
  • Small, light and MIL-STD compliant
  • Touchscreen
  • Stylus with on-device charging
  • Mobile broadband option

Cons

  • Flexibility in screen and wrist-rest
  • Disappointing speakers

Fujitsu has an extensive range of Tablet Lifebook laptops, and the U939X is a 13.3-inch 360-degree convertible model. It's small and light, but packs in a lot of high-end features, including a stylus that sits in a housing on the base and Fujitsu's PalmSecure biometric authentication. Indeed, according to Fujitsu the U939X is "the world's lightest business convertible in its class". 

The U939X measure a compact 309mm wide by 214.8mm deep by 16.9mm thick, into which Fujitsu has squeezed in an Ethernet port, a housing for a rechargeable stylus and a touchscreen. With a starting weight of "approximately 1kg" depending on configuration, it slipped easily into my smallest backpack, and I didn't notice the weight at all. 

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The 13.3-inch Lifebook U939X is a 360-degree convertible laptop that comes in black and more flashy red colour schemes.

Images: Fujitsu

You might want to consider a protective sleeve for this laptop, though, as I found it easy to flex both the wrist rest and the screen. Although Fujitsu says the Tablet Lifebook U939X is MIL-STD-810G compliant, I'd want to carry it around in a sturdy sleeve just to be on the safe side -- after all, you never know when your backpack is going to hit the ground with a 'thunk'.

The Tablet Lifebook U939X is available in two colour versions. I was sent the black option, which will probably sit easiest in an office environment. There is also a red version with a crimson lid, base and hinges. This variant will definitely stand out in a crowd.

The hinge mechanism is sturdy enough to hold the lid in any orientation from standard laptop mode through tent and presentation (screen-outwards) orientations. It's disappointing that the keys don't lock down in full tablet mode. Such a light laptop lends itself to being held in one hand for tablet use, and the keys are vulnerable to heavy pressure under these conditions.  

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The keyboard has a two-level backlight. The camera between keyboard and screen is for use in tablet mode, when it becomes rear-facing. The stylus has a 'garage' in the chassis, where it also charges up.

Image: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

The keyboard is very light touch with a little resistance on the downstroke and a good spring back up. It's a little clicky, but not obtrusively so. The Enter key is wide and double height, making for a large target, and the cursor keys, while not quite full size, are generous. A keyboard backlight with two intensities is toggled via the Fn key-spacebar combination. 

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Above the Fn key row to the left is a small button that acts as a shortcut to Microsoft's Windows Ink. This can be configured for long and short press functions in the Fujitsu Function Manager app, which can also be used to make a few other settings, such as setting the fan in quiet or 'normal' mode, toggling the touchscreen, and viewing detailed battery status information.

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

There is a camera in the centre of the area above the Fn key row, a 5MP unit designed for use as a rear-facing camera when working in tablet mode. There's also an HD webcam with Windows Hello support in the customary above-screen location.

There's a bank of four status LEDs above the Fn key row to the right, with a further set on the front edge of the laptop, visible when the lid is closed.

The wrist rest houses a smallish touchpad with separate physical buttons, and a Fujitsu PalmSecure biometric sensor that reads palm vein patterns rather than the more usual fingerprints.

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At around 1kg, the 13.3-inch Lifebook U939X is compact and light enough to work well in tablet mode.

Image: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

The screen is a 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080 pixel) touchscreen with a matte, anti-glare finish. The short bezels are quite narrow, and Fujitsu has done what it can to minimise the chassis size. Indeed, when working in tablet mode, those thin short-edge bezels might become a bit irritating if they allow accidental screen touches.

The stylus lives in a housing on the front right of the chassis and charges when docked. It's relatively thin, and some people might find it a little fiddly to grip, but long enough to use like a pen. The on-device housing makes it less likely to be lost, and more likely to be ready for use when needed.

The Fujitsu Tablet Lifebook U939X can be configured with an Intel Core i5-8265U, Core i5-8365U or Core i7-8665U processor, comes with 8GB or 16GB of RAM and can accommodate SSDs with 256GB, 512GB and 1TB capacities. My review sample had a Core i5-8365U, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.

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Fujitsu's clever pop-out mechanism allows the slimline U939X to offer a full-size RJ-45 Ethernet connection.

Images: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

Fujitsu provides plenty of connectivity. It doesn't match Dynabook (the newly rebranded Toshiba) in its continued support for VGA (most recently seen in the Tecra A50), but it does run to a standard Ethernet port, which is fitted into a space on the right edge of the Tablet Lifebook U939X that's just 10mm high via a clever pop-out mechanism. This mechanism feels a little flimsy, but many will prefer it over having to carry a dongle or dock.

Fujitsu also finds room on this edge for a full sized SD card reader, a USB 3.0 port, the on/off switch and a SIM caddy for the optional LTE mobile broadband. This edge also houses the stylus dock (or 'garage', as Fujitsu likes to call it). There's a little lanyard loop for tethering the stylus. 

On the left edge is a round-pin power input, a pair of USB-C slots, both with Thunderbolt 3 support. There is also a full-size HDMI port, a second USB 3.0 port and a 3.5mm headset jack. Towards the front is a SmartCard reader.

The speaker grilles are towards the front of each side -- a good location given that this laptop can be used in a range of orientations. Sound output could be better, though. Top volume is too quiet to reach across a table of more than four or five people, and bass tones are poor. This is disappointing on a laptop with so many other impressive features.

Fujitsu claims 15 hours of life from the Lifebook U939X's battery. I used it for my everyday computing workload (writing into web apps with multiple Chrome windows open, often via two browser instances, streaming music frequently and video occasionally) with screen brightness at the recommended 40% level (which was fine for my work environment). In a typical five-hour work session the battery depleted to 55%.

Obviously more compute-heavy workloads and/or higher screen brightness will deplete the battery quicker. Still, most knowledge workers should get through a typical working day using this laptop away from a source of mains power. 

Conclusions

Fujitsu's Tablet Lifebook U939X is a lovely little convertible laptop. Its compact size and light weight make it very portable, and the chargeable stylus in its own housing is a big plus. The array of ports and connectors is very impressive, and Fujitsu has even provided two webcams. Downsides? Flexibility in the screen and wrist-rest, and disappointing speakers.

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Specifications

General
Packaged Quantity 1
Embedded Security Trusted Platform Module (TPM 2.0) Security Chip
Processor / Chipset
CPU Intel Core i5 (8th Gen) 8265U / 1.6 GHz
Max Turbo Speed 3.9 GHz
Number of Cores Quad-Core
Cache 6 MB
64-bit Computing Yes
Features Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
Cache Memory
Installed Size 6 MB
RAM
Memory Speed 2133 MHz
Configuration Features provided memory is soldered
Technology LPDDR3 SDRAM
Installed Size 8 GB
Rated Memory Speed 2133 MHz
Storage
Interface Serial ATA-600
Memory
RAM 8 GB (provided memory is soldered)
Max Supported Size 16 GB
Technology LPDDR3 SDRAM
Speed 2133 MHz
Environmental Parameters
Humidity Range Operating 20 - 80%
Display
LCD Backlight Technology LED backlight
Widescreen Display Yes
Image Aspect Ratio 16:9
Monitor Features 4k levels of pressure sensitivity, anti-glare, magnesium lid
Type LED
Touchscreen yes
Diagonal Size (metric) 33.8 cm
Display Resolution Abbreviation Full HD
Audio & Video
Graphics Processor Intel UHD Graphics 620
Memory Allocation Technology shared video memory (UMA)
Sound Stereo speakers, dual array microphone
Audio Codec Realtek ALC255
Hard Drive
Type SSD
SSD Form Factor M.2
Capacity 256 GB
Hard Drive Features TCG Opal Encryption
Input
Type Tablet Pen, keyboard
Features multi-gesture touch pad, pen slot
Communications
Wireless Protocol 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0
Wireless Controller Intel Wireless-AC 9560
Wired Protocol Gigabit Ethernet
Features Wake-on-LAN (WOL)
Optical Storage
Drive Type no optical drive
Type none
Processor
CPU Type Core i5
Generation 8
Manufacturer Intel
Clock Speed 1.6 GHz
Card Reader
Type card reader
Supported Flash Memory SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, SDXC Memory Card, microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC
Battery
Run Time (Up To) 13.16 hour(s)
AC Adapter
Input AC 120/230 V (50/60 Hz)
Connections & Expansion
Interfaces Headphone/microphone combo jack
2 x USB-C 3.1 Gen 2/Thunderbolt 3/DisplayPort 1.4 (Power Delivery)
HDMI
LAN
Memory Card Reader Yes (SD Card, SDHC Card, microSD, SDXC Card, microSDHC, microSDXC)
Header
Brand Fujitsu
Product Line Fujitsu LIFEBOOK
Packaged Quantity 1
Miscellaneous
Color matte black
Security Trusted Platform Module (TPM 2.0) Security Chip, fingerprint reader, smart card reader
Features 15W power delivery, BIOS Absolute Persistence, Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) support, administrator password, hard drive password, system password
Compliant Standards FCC Part 15 B, FCC Part 15 C, FCC Part 15 E, FCC Part 22, FCC Part 24, FCC Part 27, ICES-003 Class B, MIL-STD-810G, RSS-210, RoHS, UL, WEEE, WHQL, cUL
Manufacturer Selling Program Fujitsu Express Buy
Theft/Intrusion Protection security lock slot (cable lock sold separately)
Security Slot Type Kensington security slot
Networking
Data Link Protocol Bluetooth 5.0, Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11ac, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n
Remote Management Protocol CIM, DMI
Ethernet Controller(s) Intel I219-LM
Wireless NIC Intel Wireless-AC 9560
Monitor
Diagonal Size 13.3 in
Image Brightness 330 cd/m2
System
Notebook Type thin and light
Mechanical Design 360° flip design
Platform Windows
Hard Drive Capacity 256 GB
Embedded Security Trusted Platform Module (TPM 2.0) Security Chip
Security Devices SmartCard reader, fingerprint reader
Dimensions & Weight
Width 12.2 in
Depth 8.5 in
Height 0.7 in
Manufacturer Warranty
Type 1 year warranty
Environmental Standards
ENERGY STAR Certified Yes
Physical Characteristics
Weight 34.56 oz
Power
Min Operating Temperature 41 °F
Max Operating Temperature 95 °F
Operating System / Software
OS Provided: Type Windows 10 Pro 64-bit Edition
Type Fujitsu Function Manager, McAfee LiveSafe (30 days trial), Microsoft Office (Trial), Power Saving Utility
Video Output
Graphics Processor Intel UHD Graphics 620
Graphics Processor Series Intel UHD Graphics
Video Memory
Memory Allocation Technology shared video memory (UMA)
Input Device
Backlight Yes
Interfaces
USB-C Ports Qty 2
USB-C Features USB Power Delivery
Comment Power Delivery
Service & Support
Type 1 year warranty
Service & Support Details
Type limited warranty
Full Contract Period 1 year

Where To Buy

Price
$1,599.00

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Where To Buy

Fujitsu Tablet Lifebook U939X

Part Number: XBUY-U939X-B01
Price
$1,599.00