http://solutions.us.fujitsu.com, Price: $599
Just 1.02 inches thick and weighing 3.08 pounds,
the Fujitsu LIFEBOOK PH520 notebook
boasts many features that enable it to
surpass its higher-cost competitors.
QUALITY AND EFFECTIVENESS: The
LIFEBOOK PH520 is small, but it is a
powerful notebook featuring an AMD
Athlon II Neo K125 1.7-gigahertz processor,
a two-gigabyte DDR3 1333 MHz3
memory (clocked at 800 MHz by the chipset),
and a 320-gigabyte hard drive. It has
an attractive glossy red case that opens to
an 11.6-inch Crystal View WXGA HD display
that is crisp, bright, and easily read even
in sunlight. A six-cell Li-Ion battery lasts
5.5 hours and recharges quickly. The Fujitsu
comes with Windows 7 Professional and
Microsoft Office Starter 2010, which
includes limited-functionality versions
of Word and Excel but not
PowerPoint or Outlook.
EASE OF USE: The PH520 never feels
like a downsized notebook, though it can
be easily tucked into a tote bag and takes
up about as much room as a pad of paper.
Connections are a breeze with either Wi-Fi or Ethernet LAN,
and it is easy to transfer data using either the integrated
Bluetooth or the MemoryStick/SD card. The Bluetooth permits
quick data interchange with cell phones and MP3 players and
also connects to headphones, mice, keyboards, and Bluetooth
speakers. Though the keyboard and supersensitive, gestureenabled
touchpad both require a brief period of adjustment,
they function as well as their larger counterparts. The keys are
almost full-sized, and zooming, scrolling, and rotating pictures
require just the flick of a finger on the touchpad.
CREATIVE USE OF TECHNOLOGY: Nearly every feature
of the PH520 is a cut above average. From the vivid HD
display to the stereo speakers to its quick and powerful
performance, to the natural feel of the keyboard, this little
dynamo performs. Those who miss a CD/DVD drive will love
the DVD Sharing Application, a simple, user-friendly way to
share an optical disk drive with other PCs via wireless connection.
External drives are available and can be connected
via the USB port.
SUITABILITY FOR USE IN A SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT:
Many of the PH520’s features, such as the built-in Webcam
and HDMI port, will be useful in the classroom, and
the small size makes it ideal for classroom group work.
Teachers will appreciate the spill-resistant 82-key keyboard
and touchpad. Though it is not as expensive as other, comparable
laptops, the PH520 may still be beyond the means
of schools with limited budgets that are looking to equip
full classrooms. Rather than purchase a netbook of a similar
size, for a little more money schools can get a lot more in
value with the LIFEBOOK PH520 notebook.
—Mary Ann Karre
Despite its comparably low cost, the Fujitsu PH520
holds its own against competitors; it has more than
enough power and features to multitask in almost
any classroom situation. Educators will appreciate its
long battery life, built-in Webcam and microphone,
and external video port for connections to classroom
projectors. Streaming videos on the PH520 is a delight,
as images displayed on the backlighted HD screen are
crisp, clear, and visible in any light.