capsule review

Fujitsu LifeBook A3120

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

    PCWorld Rating

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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