Fujitsu is back in the game with the new Lifebook U937 13.3-inch ultrabook, after years stuck in the wilderness with bland, uninspiring business laptops. The Lifebook U937 packs unique features in an extremely light body that makes Fujitsu's Lifebook range worthy of being on the shortlist for your next laptop.
At first glance, the Lifebook U937 looks like every other 13.3-inch ultrabook on the market. There's a choice of Intel i7-7600U, i5-7300U or i5-7200U CPUs, up to 20GB of DDR4 RAM (4GB on-board and a free SO-DIMM slot that'll handle up to 16GB), various capacity M.2 SATA or PCIe SSDs, an optional LTE modem, a 1080p 13.3" IPS panel that's available with or without multi-touch and a 720p webcam.
What makes the Lifebook U937 unique is that all that stuff is crammed in a 15.5mm thin chassis that weighs only 920 grams. That's right, a 15W TDP CPU and 13.3-inch screen in a 920g body. Fujitsu even jammed in a full-sized Ethernet port! Other 13in ultrabooks weigh between 1.1kg to 1.3kg, making the Lifebook U937 over 10% lighter than the competition.
Fujitsu pulled this off by using a magnesium lid and aluminium palm rest, both of which cut down on weight, but still maintain structural integrity. The Lifebook U937 passes the "hold it by the corner and swing it around" test with flying colours and no body flex at all. The lid does exhibit slight flexing when opened from the corner, but it isn't severe enough to make the Lifebook U937 feel cheap.
Such thin and light laptops usually make sacrifices to achieve the weight loss, but amazingly, Fujitsu hasn't cut any corners with the Lifebook U937. The spill-resistant chicklet keyboard is a pleasure to use despite no backlighting. The trackpad, whilst not up to Apple's lofty standards, is perfectly adequate. The display is a high quality Sharp IGZO IPS panel, not the traditional TN-type panels used to save weight. Not even battery life is compromised, with the Lifebook U937 holding a charge longer than many heavier ultrabooks in our battery benchmark.
You're probably also wondering how Fujitsu managed to get an Ethernet port in a chassis on 15.5mm thick. Thanks to a nifty piece of engineering, the Ethernet port slides out, almost like an SD card, then is pushed open to reveal a full-sized RJ45 socket you can insert an Ethernet cable into. As ingenious as it is, it does feel like it'll break as soon as someone trips or pulls on any connected cable.
It's a little disappointing to see the Lifebook U937 with a 7th-generation CPU when most other manufacturers have laptops with 8th-generation CPUs on the market now. Giving the Lifebook U937 four cores and even better battery life would have put it at the top of the ultrabook heap and possibly, made it the best ultrabook ever.
The other disappointment is PalmSecure, an optional sensor near the trackpad that scans veins in the palm of your hand to log in to Windows or boot the laptop. In theory, it's a cool feature. Wave your hand over the sensor and you're logged in. But in practice, it's a disaster. Registering a palm took over 15 minutes of getting a palm hovering in just the right spot for the sensor to detect the veins. Detecting is faster, but still fraught with errors and incredibly frustrating compared to the increasingly common Windows Hello sensors on other ultrabooks.
Fujitsu has done an excellent job with the Lifebook U937. It's the lightest ultrabook on the market by a decent margin and doesn't skimp on anything to get there. If Fujitsu replace PalmSecure with a depth sensor for Windows Hello and upgrade the Lifebook U937 with Intel's latest 8th-generation CPUs, it would be the best ultrabook on the market without a doubt. Despite those minor issues, the Lifebook U937 is a brilliant unit if you want the lightest full featured laptop around.
PCMark 8 Accelerated Battery Test: 5h 16min
PCMark 10 Professional Edition: 2966
3DMark Fire Strike (1080p) Graphics Score: 514