capsule review

Fujitsu LifeBook A3120

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Fujitsu LifeBook A3120 Notebook

    PCWorld Rating

    The price is right, but this consumer notebook's performance scrapes the bottom.

This consumer laptop is pretty to look at and has a unique dual-mode touchpad that you use for writing. And at 6.4 pounds, the unit is light for a notebook wielding a 15.4-inch screen. But awful battery life and so-so speed will knock the Fujitsu LifeBook A3120 out of contention for many frequent travelers, as well as for some serious desk jockeys.

If you're weary of black-and-silver laptops, the Fujitsu LifeBook A3120's cream-colored exterior, spill-resistant keyboard, and light-gray bottom make for a refreshing change. The touchpad included in our review model's $1299 price (as of 5/9/07) has a special "point and write" mode that lets it double as a small notepad you can use within selected applications to jot notes and draw.

Among the A3120's many features are plenty of ports, including five for USB peripherals alone. A TV tuner is an option with this Vista Home Premium laptop. Also, you can buy a remote control from Fujitsu to use with the Media Center entertainment applications (and you'll probably want it--the notebook has dedicated up and down volume buttons, but you must press them repeatedly to make a change). Otherwise, the system's design is good, featuring ExpressCard and PC Card slots with spring-loaded doors, and audio ports and a wireless communications switch that are conveniently located on the front.

Performance leaves something to be desired, though. Equipped with 2GB of RAM and a 1.8-GHz Turion 64 X2 TL-56 processor, the A3120 managed an unimpressive WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score of 55. The 120GB hard disk's 4200-rpm spin speed and the integrated graphics chip didn't help the performance, especially in 3D games, which were unplayable. That said, the hard disk does work with a software utility to create a hard-disk protection system to guard against data loss due to excessive vibration or shock. Less-demanding tasks such as image editing in Photoshop are a bit slow but doable. Be sure to take along the AC adapter: In our battery tests, the A3120 lasted a mere hour and a half on one charge.

With such poor battery life, the LifeBook A3120 is a less-than-appealing choice for mobile warriors, and its speed is too sluggish to make it work as a desktop replacement. It's a looker, but its beauty is only skin deep.

Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    The price is right, but this consumer notebook's performance scrapes the bottom.

    Pros

    • Great screen and keyboard
    • Luscious case colors

    Cons

    • Disappointing performance
    • Weak audio
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