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Fujitsu LifeBook N6470 Review

Historically, Fujitsu has made some of the nicest, most well-constructed portable business notebooks around. The company's more consumer-oriented laptops are more of a mixed bag, however, offering features sets that clearly target home users but lacking the strong styling cues of some of its competitors.

In a specs sheet comparison, our 17-inch Fujitsu LifeBook N6470 review unit seems competitive enough. Of more concern is the fact that the N6470, while a solid performer in most respects, may not do enough - in terms of styling or build quality - to justify its slightly high price and entice buyers.

Full specs for the specific N6470 configuration used for this review are as follows:
  • Screen: 17-inch WXGA+ (1440x900)
  • Processor: 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T8300 (800 MHz FSB, 3MB L2 cache)
  • Hard Drive: 250GB, 4200 RPM SATA x 2 (500GB total capacity)
  • Memory: 3GB DDR2 667 MHz SDRAM (2GB + 1GB)
  • Optical Drive: Dual-Layer Multi-Format DVD-R
  • Ports and Slots: Five USB 2.0, IEEE 1394, multi-format (SD/SDHC/MMC/MS/xD) card reader, HDMI, VGA, S-Video, 10/100 Ethernet, modem, PC Card, ExpressCard, microphone in, headphone out
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n)
  • Graphics: ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2600 (256MB shared and 256MB dedicated memory)
  • Operating System: Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Dimensions: 15.8 x 11.5 x 2.0 inches (WxDxH)
  • Weight: 10.2 pounds
Styling and Design

There's not a lot to say here, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your perspective. For a comparatively expensive, high-spec notebook, this LifeBook doesn't do a lot to assert itself visually. The gray plastic (yes, it's all plastic) top vies for the most boring and empty piece of 17-inch real estate we've seen come through the office in awhile.

Opening the lid, things don't get a lot better: a glossy black plastic insert complete with wireless hard switch, volume control, and a four-way controller that can be configured to either provide multimedia controls (play, stop, etc.) or serve as a set of user-defined program "quick access" buttons suggests the N6470 as a multimedia-focused desktop replacement. The rest of the LifeBook's control surface, however, doesn't really follow through on this idea, with a bland keyboard and touchpad design.

Overall, acres and acres of monotonous gray plastic don't commit any styling atrocities, but don't do a lot to distinguish the LifeBook either.

These days, most desktop replacement notebooks include a multimedia remote - often with some sort of innovative in-body storage solution to make sure you can always find the remote when you need it. Fujitsu chose to move in another direction: make the remote so outrageously large that it becomes impossible to lose site of it.

The button layout is fine, and the remote is solid enough: it's just the size that makes it seem ridiculous, even for a notebook that's barely portable itself.

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