capsule review

Fujitsu LifeBook A6110 Desktop Replacement Laptop

At a Glance
  • Fujitsu LifeBook A6110

    PCWorld Rating

    Brisk speed, a great screen, and a dual-mode touchpad highlight this nicely priced desktop replacement.

The $1499 (as of November 16, 2007) Fujitsu LifeBook A6110 is a great, affordable desktop replacement laptop. Though short on battery life and multimedia zing, it offers brisk speed, a nice screen, and an overall pleasing design. If you dabble in drawing programs, the touchpad's dual mode is a bonus.

The A6110 would not be our first choice for the road. Though the 7.5-pound weight is not bad, the laptop's 2.3-hour battery life fell just short of the 2.5-hour average of 19 currently tested desktop replacement laptops. Its speed, on the other hand, was very impressive. Compared with two similarly equipped notebooks (an HP Pavilion dv9500t and an HP Compaq 8710p), our 2.2-GHz Core 2 Duo T7500-equipped unit's WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score of 84 was 15 percent and 9 percent faster, respectively, a big enough difference to be noticeable. Just don't count on loading the machine up with Unreal Tournament: The integrated video memory rules out 3D games. Serious listening without headphones is out, too, as the speakers are weak and wispy-sounding.

Otherwise the design is excellent, highlighted by an eminently readable 1280-by-800-pixel, 15.4-inch screen. Fujitsu offers a choice of two screens with different levels of brightness (gauged by nit count). The 300-nit screen, which we saw a few months ago on this laptop's predecessor, the LifeBook A6030, is a nice kick up in brightness from the usual laptop fare. But the A6110's 450-nit screen is positively brilliant, with rich, bright colors yet almost no attendant glare--a dream screen well worth the extra $50.

The keyboard is a little clackety but comfortable and supplemented by an upper row of five user-programmable quick-launch buttons. Interestingly, the touchpad doubles as a tiny tablet that you can write on with your finger or with an included digitizer pen. In what was my second attempt at using one of these Point-and-Write touchpads, I failed once again to make recognizable letters appear in the on-screen Tablet PC Input Panel. For me, at least, too much hand-eye coordination is required to watch the screen while writing in a very small, separate area. The Point-and-Write touchpad is a great input alternative, however, for drawing and paint programs, where strokes are often more freeform. That would be reason enough for me to splurge on this $100 option, especially since Fujitsu throws in a fingerprint reader with it.

The 200GB hard drive is big for the price. The laptop also offers lots of USB ports (five in all), and both PC Card and ExpressCard/54 slots. Our test machine had the Windows Vista Home Premium operating system, bundled with Microsoft Works 8.5. For an extra $100, you can get Vista Business but without a bundled productivity application (except a 60-day trial of Microsoft Office Professional 2007). Wi-Fi with a dedicated switch is standard, and Bluetooth is a reasonable $30 extra.

For the money, you just can't go wrong with the Fujitsu LifeBook A6110.

--Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Brisk speed, a great screen, and a dual-mode touchpad highlight this nicely priced desktop replacement.

    Pros

    • Touchpad doubles as writing surface
    • Great screen, good price

    Cons

    • Below-average battery life
    • Barely-there speakers
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