capsule review

Fujitsu LifeBook N6460 Desktop Replacement Laptop

At a Glance
  • Fujitsu LifeBook N6460

    PCWorld Rating

Fujitsu's new flagship desktop replacement laptop spoils graphics professionals with a stunning work environment and tons of storage. That's one big thing it has in common with its predecessor, the LifeBook N6420, but the newer N6460 is also a better entertainment unit. Battery life is shorter--it ran out of juice in less than 1 hour in our recent tests--and it still leaves Bluetooth fans out in the cold. But all in all, the Fujitsu LifeBook N6460 is an improvement over the N6420.

The N6460 is bulky, measuring 2 inches thick and weighing almost 10 pounds when configured with a single hard drive. However, both creative professionals and discerning home users will appreciate its rich design. A 370-nit 17-inch screen is standard, even in the base $1499 configuration. The screen is twice as bright as most screens, with vivid colors and easy-to-see details, making entertainment more fun and close work more comfortable.

New to the N6460 are a free ExpressCard analog/digital TV tuner and a Windows Media Center remote control so you can watch TV on it right out of the box. To accommodate heavy storage needs or easy backups, you can order the N6460 with dual hard drives--our 10.2-pound $2749 (as of 11/27/07) unit arrived with an impressive 500GB of total storage. Fujitsu has also switched from an HD optical-drive option to the increasingly popular Blu-ray, included with our model ($500).

Our test laptop came loaded with Windows Vista Ultimate. Your operating system choices include other flavors of Vista, but not Windows XP.

Speed was good. Equipped with 2GB of RAM and the top-of-the-line 2.2-GHz Core 2 Duo T7500 processor, plus the new 1GB Turbo Memory option ($50), our test laptop turned in a WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score of 82. That mark was five points ahead of the score of a similarly equipped HP Compaq 8710p, but two points shy of the result we saw from its cousin, the Fujitsu LifeBook A6110. Though it didn't manage the fastest 3D gaming scores we've tallied for a notebook, clocking in at 39 frames per second in Doom 3 and 98 fps in Far Cry, the N6460 is more than capable of playing the latest first-person shooters.

Battery life, however, was very disappointing, especially for a laptop with a 2-pound power adapter. Running down in just under 1 hour, the N6460's six-cell battery pooped out 82 minutes sooner than the A6110's and more than 2.5 hours faster than the HP Compaq's. Compared with the average battery life we've seen from 21 currently tested desktop replacements, the N6460 expired 90 minutes sooner. And though we can't make a strict comparison because our tests have changed somewhat, the N6460's battery ran down about 25 minutes more quickly than did that of its predecessor, the N6420.

Nevertheless, as a portable workstation this handsome dark-gray laptop with piano-black hinges excels. Among other impressive features is a true, full-size keyboard with the spacing, stroke, and dedicated keypad of a desktop keyboard. A full set of slots handles all types of media cards, from SD Card to ExpressCard. The subwoofer-boosted stereo speakers are better than most. Fujitsu rounds out the package with a nice printed manual, a full set of backup discs, and Microsoft Works 8.5. The only changes we'd ask for are more side-mounted USB ports (all but one are on the back), an integrated Bluetooth option, and an instant-play button so you don't have to wade through Windows to watch a DVD or listen to music. 

If a top-shelf desktop replacement with a superb screen is what you're after, you can't go too wrong with the Fujitsu LifeBook N6460.

--Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    This graphics-friendly unit has a brighter-than-bright screen and two-hard-drive design perfect for easy backups.

    Pros

    • Dazzling screen
    • Accommodates two hard drives

    Cons

    • Terrible battery life
    • Heavy
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