Fujitsu Lifebook PH530: netbook or a notebook?

As much ridicule as Apple received when they launched MacBook Air without an internal optical drive it’s hard to imagine PC manufacturers doing the same but they are.

By Magnus Nystedt

Published: Sat 9 Oct 2010, 9:34 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 3:52 AM

Fujitsu is one of the latest examples of this and their Lifebook PH530 is a very thin and light notebook suitable for users who are not quite happy with the typical performance of netbooks.

The PH530 is about the size of a netbook. It has perhaps a slightly larger footprint but it’s definitely thinner than most netbook models. Taking out the optical drive reduces the thickness and to be honest I rarely need an optical drive anymore anyway and the same is probably true for many of you.

The size means this portable computer can accommodate a bigger keyboard compared to typical netbooks. I found it a bit hard to get used to some details of the keyboard layout but overall the feeling it produces is pleasant, even for longer typing sessions. There’s a sticker on the PH530 next to the keyboard that says “spill resistant.” That’s not something I tested of course but it’s a very clever thing to put in a notebook.

As an ultra-portable it’s obviously important to have decent battery life and the PH530 delivered almost 5 hours of practical use on “EcoSettings” when I was working on this article. For a standard battery in a PC like this that’s impressive.

What’s perhaps surprising is that inside there’s an Intel Core i3 processor running at 1.2GHz. That may not seem like a lot of speed but I can tell you the PH530 has more than enough speed for most regular notebook tasks. There’s also plenty of storage space thanks to a 320GB hard drive.

One thing that impressed me greatly was how cool and quiet the Fujitsu remained even though it was pushed quite hard at times. I can’t even remember ever hearing a fan and I had no problem placing the PH530 directly on my lap. Clearly some brilliant engineering went into that aspect of this Fujitsu product.

The main downside with the PH530 is the reflective display, both the actual screen as well as on cover. It’s not that I mind glossy screens but in this computer it seems extra reflective and it’s just very annoying in many situations.

On the outside of the display (11.6-inches, 1366 x 768) we find shiny plastic. It looks very good as long as it’s clean. Unfortunately with the material and finish they’ve selected, it attracts a lot of marks from fingers, dust and dirt. If you just pick up the PH530 a few times you will see what I’m talking about.

In conclusion, the Dh3,000 price tag for Fujitsu Lifebook PH530 is high compared to netbooks but you do get quite a bit for your money; the performance is excellent, it’s thin and light, has a high-resolution display, it runs very cool and has good battery life.

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