[UPDATE: The original review referred to a Fujitsu laptop for life promotion, which Fujitsu has informed us is not available in Australia. We apologise for the error.]
The Lifebook S7220 doesn’t make a very good first impression – this is one bland laptop. Its black and silver garb fails to catch the eye, and the smooth, plasticky finish doesn’t bode well for its long-term looks.
Look closely and you’ll discover a hint of subtle sparkle on the lid, but it isn’t enough to bring this rather dull, plasticky design to life. And those slightly cheap looks can be applied to the screen, keyboard and trackpad, none of which are what you could call best of breed.
The keyboard is comfortable enough to type on, despite feeling a little tacky, but it suffers from some confusing layout choices, with the Enter key too narrow and the Delete key in the wrong place. The trackpad works well, but is too small and cramped, and the alternative trackpoint, which is set into the keyboard, is accompanied by some truly horrid buttons just below the spacebar.
The screen isn’t much better: it’s 14.1in across and sports a bog-standard 1280 x 800 resolution, but we’d expect more of a laptop costing more than $2500. Although the backlight is even, the colour quality isn’t, with washed out, muted tones the order of the day.
It’s a shame, as elsewhere the S7220 is a solid enough portable. In the engine room is one of the faster Intel processors – a 2.53GHz T9400 – and this is complemented by 3GB of RAM and a sizeable 320GB hard disk. It’s enough to push the S7220 to a highly respectable score of 1.26 in our application-based benchmarks. Take note, though, the integrated Intel graphics won’t have you playing modern games at any great frame rate.
As it’s a business machine, the hard disk is shock-protected, so your data should survive if you ever have occasion to drop the laptop on the floor. To further extend the machine’s corporate credentials there’s a fingerprint reader nestling between the trackpad buttons, complete with TPM 1.2 module, plus a smart card slot on the right-hand edge of the base, an embedded HSDPA modem, and a collection of shortcut buttons just above the keyboard.
These include a handy eco button, which lets you power down the optical drive, PC Card and network adapters with a single click, and a shortcut key to a lightly modified version of Vista’s Mobility Center.
These practicalities are matched by the S7220’s build. The Lifebook might look plasticky, but the chassis is stiff and sturdy and the screen protection is generous. We gave it a good manhandling and it stood up to the abuse well, with only a little bit of rippling evident as we twisted, prodded and poked. The keyboard is splashproof, so should stand up to the odd coffee/tea/wine spillage, and the warranty is pretty good – a three-year collect-and-return policy as standard.
Meanwhile, battery life is fine, but below the best. The 500mAh battery – the same as Lenovo’s ThinkPad T500 – helped it to last 3hrs 56mins in our light-use tests, with intensive use shortening this to 1hr 11mins. The T500 managed 5hrs 40mins under light use and our current business laptop A-List choice managed six hours.
The S7220’s unexceptional battery life compounds our feelings that it is, at its heart, a deeply average laptop. The screen is a disappointment, the chassis isn’t particularly light, the ergonomics aren’t the best, and the price is too high, especially with the Lenovo T500 costing less.