The Fujitsu Lifebook U772 ultrabook combines good performance, great looks, a razor-thin chassis, and fantastic battery life. It also has a 14.1″ screen, which is the ideal balance of portability and screen size.
Unfortunately, the Lifebook also disappointing screen resolution, especially on the larger display, and the keyboard isn’t any good if you plan to do any, you know, typing.
So do the Lifebook’s good qualities make up for its bad ones? Read on for my full review.
Price and features
At about $1,120 to start, the Lifebook U772 is just above the $1,000 ultrabook price point we are used to, but you get the newest “Ivy Bridge” Intel Core i5 processors, which are a bit quicker for data-crunching, and a lot faster for graphics.
I don’t think an extra ~$120 should deter anyone from purchasing a computer they will probably use for 3–5 years, and the speed boost is a big benefit, since graphics performance was a weak point for the last-generation, “Sandy Bridge” processors.
Outside, three USB ports, an HDMI port, and an ethernet port adapter are all the ports you will get. The display is 14.1″, running at 1366×768 resolution. You also get a fingerprint scanner, which theoretically makes logging in and out easier and more secure.
Inside, the base configuration that I tested comes with a 1.7 GHz Core i5 processor, 4 GB of memory, and a 128 GB solid-state drive.
As a nice bonus, the Lifebook comes with Windows 7 Professional, making it a little more suitable for business use.
Hardware and design
The Lifebook U772 looks great, with Fujitsu’s tasteful swoopy logo in chrome on the brushed aluminum lid. The bottom is also brushed aluminum, while the inside surfaces are etched black aluminum. It is very sturdy; picking up the Lifebook from a corner does not result in any flex, as far as I can tell.
Speaking of the lid, there is a magnet that is supposed to keep the lid closed, but it is to weak. This isn’t a big deal; it isn’t so floppy that it will fly open when you aren’t looking, or anything. It just feels a bit unfinished when the lid won’t snap shut securely.
The Fujitsu Lifebook U772 is a 14.1″ ultrabook, not 13.3″ like most of its competition. Disappointingly, though, the bigger-than-usual display is still sporting a 1366×768 resolution. It’s now clear that displays are going to go well beyond 1080p, whether it’s called “Retina” or something else, but the Lifebook has fewer pixels than a cheap HD TV. And, as I mentioned in my review of the HP Folio 13, 768 pixels going north to south really doesn’t give you much room for working on documents.
Resolution aside, the display is great. It is bright, and low-glare despite the glossy finish. Viewing angles are acceptable, but not impressive.
The keyboard is awful. I didn’t think it possible, but the Lifebook’s keyboard is even worse than the keyboard on the Toshiba Zenbook. Not only is key travel non-existent, but key presses don’t always register unless you are especially deliberate. The spacebar is particularly bad in this respect; pressing it near the edges almost always fails to register. While the key presses are The bumps on the F and J keys are virtually impossible to detect, which means you can only locate your fingers on the home row visually.
This keyboard is so bad, I wouldn’t recommend it to opposing counsel, as muchas Iwouldenjoy seeing theresultsfiledwiththe court. I would rather type on broken glass than try to finish a brief on this keyboard.
On the other hand, the trackpad is pretty decent, at least once you turn off the momentum option and turn on two-finger scrolling. It still flexes too much, but it is sensitive enough that you can actually click and drag with a reasonable expectation of success.
I hate bloatware or crapware, the unnecessary software often included by manufacturers with new PCs. Fortunately, the Lifebook is not bad in this respect, especially by comparison to the crapware-laden HP Folio 13. Still, you will want to take a few minutes to remove things like Norton Internet Security, and clean up the desktop.
Like most Windows PCs, it also comes with Office 2010 Starter Edition, which is handy. Of course, you will want to upgrade right away, unless you plan to use something else to create and edit documents.
What’s better, the Lifebook comes with Windows 7 Professional, instead of the Home edition that ships with most consumer-grade laptops. While you can certainly use Home for work, it’s nice to have Pro.
Overall, the Fujitsu Lifebook U772 feels a bit peppier than the “Sandy Bridge” ultrabooks I have reviewed. Especially when it comes to HD video playback, The third-generation processor seems like a meaningful upgrade. I didn’t experience any lag or skipping when watching HD video on Netflix or Hulu.
Battery life, though, is where the Lifebook really shines. Laptop Mag timed it at just over 7 hours, which squares with my usage. I spent most of the day working on battery power and still had plenty of juice left over.
I wasn’t blown away by the boot, sleep, and wake times, but maybe I’m just getting used to the speed of ultrabooks. If the Lifebook takes a heartbeat longer than the competition, most people won’t notice or care.
The speakers are weak and tinny. They are fine for listening to voicemail, but barely adequate for a Skype call in a quiet room. You’ll want headphones for anything more than that.
Who should buy this?
The Fujitsu Lifebook U772 has some excellent qualities. The size and weight are almost the same as the smaller 13.3″ ultrabooks, but you get a more comfortable screen size, a good trackpad, and an operating system upgrade. You also get a woefully inferior keyboard, limited port selection, and a disappointing screen resolution.
If you are anxious to get your hands on an Ivy Bridge ultrabook, and your anxiety is more pressing than the ability to use a spacebar, and you want a slightly-larger-than-normal screen, even if its pixel density is below average, then you should consider the Lifebook U772. Otherwise, I’d advise looking at the Dell XPS 14. If it’s anything like the Dell XPS 13, which I loved, it’s going to be the 14″ ultrabook to get.
Fujitsu Lifebook U772
Reviewed by Sam Glover on .
Summary: The Fujitsu Lifebook U772 ultrabook combines good performance, great looks, a razor-thin chassis, and fantastic battery life. But …
- Price and features: 4.5
- Hardware and design: 2.5 (the disappointing resolution and awful keyboard drag this score down)
- Included software: 4
- Performance: 4
Overall score: 3.75 (out of 5)