Fujitsu M2010 netbook

Fujitsu M2010 netbook

The bigger Fujitsu M2010 netbook offers a brighter screen than predecessor, but it is slower in performance tests

Make no mistake, netbooks when compared with full-featured notebooks or PCs, do not perform the same tasks with the same speed due to less CPU power and the small form factor. Netbooks are perfect for running basic tasks while you're at home or on the road. The Fujitsu M2010 is one such netbook, which can be used for word processing, cropping photos and playing movie and music files.

With this new model Fujitsu improves on the previous release — the M1010 netbook — but the M2010 netbook also lacks some of the features that made the Fujitsu M1010 stand out from other netbooks in the market. The M1010 netbook has a native resolution of 1024x600 for its 8.9in screen, whereas the M2010 netbook has a 1024x576 resolution for its 10.1in screen; the M1010 has an ExpressCard/34 slot for expansion, the M2010 only provides USB 2.0 ports for expansion.

The Fujitsu M2010 improves on the M1010 netbook when it comes to battery life — as it ships with a 6-cell battery as standard. It's a bigger unit, which means it has bigger keys, as well as better hard drive performance (a 5400rpm drive as opposed to a 4200rpm drive). Plus it is well built and sturdy while featuring a new stylish design. Indeed, Fujitsu has designed this netbook to be appealing, not only to students, but also business customers considering a small and light netbook, with attractive looks. However, the price tag is better suited to business customers rather than student buyers.

It costs $749, which is a little on the high side for a netbook, especially as it only includes a couple of new features, but the higher price is due to the two-year warranty, which is double what the other netbook manufacturers offer. The Fujitsu M2010 netbook has a digital microphone that can pick up directional audio while ignoring background noise, as well as an LED backlit screen. Fujitsu has also pre-installed ThinkFree Mobile, a free Microsoft Office-compatible office suite that makes the Fujitsu M2010 immediately ready to use.

The rest of the Fujitsu M2010's configuration is standard for a netbook. It’s specifications include an Intel Atom N270 CPU that runs at 1.6GHz (an N280 will be offered, too), 1GB of RAM, integrated graphics, and a 160GB, 5400rpm hard drive (a Fujitsu MHZ2160BH G2 model). Surprisingly the M2010 performed slower than expected in out tests. In the iTunes encoding test, where we convert 53min worth of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3s, it recorded an averaged a time of 10min 28sec, which is slower than its predecessor the Fujitsu M1010.

The slow CPU performance was also recorded in the Blender 3D rendering test, which averaged 11min 05sec, over four minutes slower than the class-leading ASUS Ess PC Seashell 1005HA achieved. The hard drive averaged a transfer rate of 20.58MBps in our tests, which what we expect from a 5400rpm model. Despite the slow CPU performance, you can still use the Fujitsu M2010 effectively for running office applications, browsing the Web and running media files, but you won't want to perform CPU taxing tasks such as photo editing or file compression.

Netbook keyboards are not designed for prolonged typing sessions, but the Fujitsu M2010 keyboard feels solid — it doesn't bounce each time you hit a key — and the keys travel well. We like the touchpad which is responsive, although its buttons are quite stiff and made of a hard plastic. We prefer softer, rubber touchpad buttons as they don’t make a loud clicking sound when pressed.

Physically, the unit has a solid feel, and it's relatively heavy (1.3kg) because it ships with a 6-cell battery (the ASUS Eee PC Seashell 1005HA has a 6-cell battery and is 1.2kg, for example). The base feels sturdier than other netbooks we've tested, and the lid protects the screen. Even when you flex the lid, the LCD screen does not show any signs of stress. In Fujitsu’s tests of how much pressure the M2010 netbook can withstand, the company claims the lid can bear the brunt of a distributed 200kg force. Each point on the lid can withstand approximately 35kg. The hinges holding the screen are stiff and the screen won't lose its position if you are using the Fujitsu M2010 in the back of a cab or on a bumpy bus ride.

In our battery tests, the 6-cell battery lasted 3hr 35min in the video rundown test, in which the screen brightness is full and the wireless radio is enabled. When we used minimum brightness, running the same test the Fujitsu M2010 lasted four hours. Obviously the tasks you perform on the Fujitsu M2010 netbook will determine battery life, for example viewing Flash-heavy Web sites, which require more CPU processing, may drain the battery faster than our tests.

Overall, we like the Fujitsu M2010 especially the sturdy build and comfortable keyboard, but we liked the ExpressCard/34 slot and higher resolution screen found on the M1010 netbook — and we wish it had been included in this version too. The Fujitsu M2010 is a good choice if you want a stylish netbook with a bright screen that you can comfortably use outdoors and on the road.

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