Fujitsu LifeBook M2010 netbook

Fujitsu has dabbled in ultra-ultraportable machines for a while now, having released the LifeBook U810 and U820 tablet PCs. Now the company is ready to take baby steps into the netbook market, with its M2010. To be honest, though, this isn’t the bold move that Fujitsu should have–or could have–made.

Fujitsu’s M2010, according to company spokespeople, is geared a bit more toward kids. While not exactly child-size, the machine’s keys seem reminiscent of the keyboard on the 10-inch Acer Aspire One: a little on the smaller side, but with perfectly serviceable buttons. At least the arrow keys are large on the M2010. And you’ll need them–though the touchpad has a nice, textured surface, its size is about average for a netbook. That’s hardly a crime, but since we’re seeing new netbooks (like the Toshiba NB205) crop up with larger touchpads, I’m greedy and I want to see more, if only for the sake of my aching hands.

As for the screen, colors popped. Despite having the same screen size and glare-inducing coating as the Toshiba, and a slightly lower resolution (1024 by 576 pixels), the M2010 produced colors that seemed a little more vibrant and didn’t get lost in the shadows.

Overall, the design of the Fujitsu M2010 is uninspired. Its two-tone, hard-plastic case can be eye-catching, depending on the color you order (our flashy red unit drew a couple of double takes here at the office), but this 2.5-pound netbook doesn’t look much different from other models on the market. Its configuration–three USB ports, an SDHC card reader, a Webcam, one VGA-out, ethernet, and headphone and microphone jacks–is fairly standard, too.

Fujitsu doesn’t add much to the mix beyond Bluetooth and a few bits of bundled software. Roxio Creator LJ saves files out to external drives, as does the simple but extremely effective MyRecovery software (a three-button interface for creating and restoring system backups). Otherwise, you get the standard-issue Windows XP netbook experience (Microsoft Works, 60-day trial of Microsoft Office and all).

The performance? Let’s just say that it’s fairly average in some cases. The guts of this wee PC vary little from those of most netbooks, consisting of a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 CPU, 1GB of RAM, and a 160GB 5400-rpm hard drive. And with a score of 34 on WorldBench 6, it falls right in line with the performance of most current netbooks. The battery life dragged down its score the most. Fujitsu claims that the M2010’s three-cell battery hangs on for 2.5 hours, but it was more like 2 hours, 5 minutes in our tests. That’s a far cry from what we’ve seen from machines like the Samsung N110, which lasted for over 8 hours in the same test conditions.

In the end, Fujitsu didn’t produce a bad machine–just a fairly average one. In a market already brimming with wannabes, I would have liked to see Fujitsu deliver more-daring designs, such as what it did with the U810, the U820, and the N7010 (which embedded a second touchscreen into an all-purpose portable). Plenty of other netbooks offer better performance for less. Might I suggest the Asus Eee PC 1008HA?

PC World (US)

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