Fujitsu Lifebook U937 full review
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The Fujitsu Lifebook U937 is a business laptop about as far removed from a workstation as you can imagine. It's an incredibly light laptop, one of the lightest in the world to feature a full Core i5 dual-core processor rather than a CPU designed to consume even less energy.
It's hard to imagine a laptop better-suited to frequent business travellers, especially thanks to its wide range of connections.
However, considering the high price it's a shame a few finishing touches are missing, such as a glass-surface trackpad and keyboard backlight.
Price and availability
Fujitsu also makes a Core i7 version, for £1750. These are expensive laptops, clearly not aimed at small businesses looking to keep costs low. However, there’s an argument that their extreme portability may come with productivity benefits that merit the cost.
All Fujitsu Lifebook U937 models come with a 2-year warranty.
Design and build
The Fujitsu Lifebook U937 is a laptop that has the power and connections to satisfy business users — and almost anyone else besides — matched with very low weight. At 920g, it’s the kind of laptop that’ll have you looking inside a rucksack to check if it is even there.
Add slim 15.5mm thickness and you end up with something you can carry around like a pad of A4 paper. It is extremely convenient.
One of the key elements to this delightfully portable combo is magnesium. A light-but tough magnesium alloy is used throughout, keeping weight down while maintaining a good level of strength.
It is not strength that’s immediately apparent, though. While the magnesium alloy surfaced are roughened, there is a little flex to the lid. However, the smoother keyboard surround is very solid, with no experience-ruining sponginess between the keys.
Slightly unusual for a business laptop, the Fujitsu Lifebook U937 has a large Fujitsu insignia across its lid, where the trend is for a plainer look. However, this aside the U937 has a simple, uncluttered design.
It’s not hard to identify the kinds of buyer most suited to the LifeBook U937. Hot deskers, frequent business travellers and those who spend more time in meetings than at a desk could all do with a laptop this light and manageable. It’s the business equivalent of one of Apple’s slimmest MacBooks.
There are two full-size USBs, a USB-C, full-size HDMI and a full-size SD card slot. For business users there’s a Smartcard slot, Kensington lock socket and an Ethernet port.
Some versions of the Fujitsu Lifebook U937 also have 4G, with a SIM tray that pops out of a flap-covered port on the right side.
Keyboard and touchpad
One of the few complaints we have about the Fujitsu Lifebook U937 is that its keyboard is rather shallow. This is not uncommon in slim and light laptops, of course, but this one in particular seems more likely than most to be expected to do a lot of work, highlighting the issue.
The key action lacks much of the meatiness of the best keyboards, leading to a light, if fairly crisp feel. Switching from our usual older-generation MacBook Pro work laptop, it seemed like a downgrade. However, the Fujitsu Lifebook U937 still has a high-quality keyboard. You just need to get used to the light action.
Among the most odd aspects of the laptop is the lack of a keyboard backlight. This is virtually unheard-of in a model this expensive, and is a sore point when this is just the sort of machine we can imagine being used on an overnight flight with dimmed cabin lighting, or in a dim conference hall.
The trackpad too isn’t the all-luxury experience that might reasonably be expected given the price. It’s relatively small, in part because the lower portion is given over to separated mouse buttons.
All of this is fine when it’s in a large part a compromise of the slim, light, connection-laden design. But at this price we’d expect the Fujitsu Lifebook U937 to have a textured glass pad rather than the plastic type used here. Swiping a finger back and forth across a plastic pad feels less smooth, although much of the time it feels fairly similar to glass.
In the bottom right of the keyboard surround there’s a palm scanner, although the Fujitsu Lifebook U937 is also available with a more conventional finger scanner too.
The PalmSecure scanner uses an IR sensor to scan the pattern of veins in your palm. You don’t press it against the pad, just hover your hand over the black scanner square. A lot of the time it asks you to move your hand a bit, but it does work, and reasonably quickly. It can be used to login to Windows 10.
The Fujitsu Lifebook U937 has a surprisingly conventional screen for a business laptop. We normally expect to see non-touch matt screens in pure productivity machines, but this one has a glossy touchscreen.
It’s a 13.3-inch 1080p screen IPS LCD display with very good brightness and solid colour and contrast.
346cd/m brightness with the backlight maxed enables outdoors use and the 788:1 contrast is reasonably good, making blacks appear satisfyingly deep in a normal, properly-lit room.
It covers 95.3% of the sRGB colour standard, enough to appear very well-saturated without the potentially over-excited look of a wide colour gamut screen. Coverage of the deeper Adobe RGB and DCI P3 gamuts is much less comprehensive, with 66.4% and 70.4% respectively, but the Fujitsu Lifebook U937 isn’t exactly sold as a laptop for design and graphics professionals.
It’s the kind of screen we’d be more than happy to use for work and play.
The Fujitsu Lifebook U937 we’re reviewing has a vPro Intel Core i5-7300U processor. This is a solid dual-core processor with a standard clock speed of 2.5GHz and a Turbo mode of 3.5GHz.
vPro tells you the Fujitsu Lifebook U937 is made for business, allowing for better remote access to the system, which may be essential for certain companies’ IT protocols.
Even for less security-obsessed users, though, the Fujitsu Lifebook U937’s is a very versatile laptops given its size. Its use of a full dual-core i5 rather than the lower-power Y-series kind makes it better for slightly more challenging jobs like editing of large image files, and handling huge, macro-packed spreadsheets.
As a dual-core laptop with 8GB RAM very high intensity tasks aren’t the Fujitsu Lifebook U937’s native area, but it’ll handle them as well as any slim and light model.
It scores 8351 points in the Geekbench 4 CPU benchmark, very similar to the score seen in the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, which is an obvious alternative to the Fujitsu Lifebook U937.
Our review unit has a 256GB SSD, and it’s a rather snappy performer, with write speeds of up to 1482MB/s and reads of up to 3313MB/s.
Gaming performance is, predictably, a weaker area, though. It relies on the integrated Intel HD 620 chipset, matching other models in this class, and therefore only able to play older games at respectable speeds. Deus Ex: Human Revolution runs at 19.7fps at Low settings, 720p resolution, dropping to a dismal 5.3fps at 1080p, Ultra settings.
Alien: Isolation is playable at 720p Low settings, managing an average 32fps. However, playing it “as intended” at 1080p with the graphical effects switched on, the frame rate drops to an unplayable average of 13fps.
When performing light tasks, our Fujitsu Lifebook U937 makes some very quiet, very high-pitch noise. You’d have to dissect the laptop to find out exactly which component makes it, but you can only notice it by putting your ear up to the keyboard.
As soon as you start stressing the Fujitsu Lifebook U937, even by extracting a large zip file, the fans start up. Typical of a very slim, small laptop, the fan noise is quite noticeable thanks to the small diameter, high rpm fan.
You can’t help but notice the noise as the pitch gradually rises after kicking in, like a tiny jet engine preparing for take-off. The laptop responds to the changing stress level quickly, but this potentially makes the fan all the more noticeable, its speed and therefore pitch happy to change almost constantly with some tasks.
However, this is just the price of stopping an extremely light laptop from overheating without significant performance throttling.
The Fujitsu Lifebook U937’s battery cements this as a near-perfect laptop for roving workers. Playing a 720p video on loop at 120cd/m brightness, a comfortable level for indoor use, the battery lasts nine hours and 20 minutes.
Longevity is enough for a full day’s work. However, if shedding 300-400g is a nice addition rather than the top priority, the Lenovo ThinkPad Carbon X1 does outlast the Fujitsu by two hours, and offers a better typing experience.
Fujitsu Lifebook U937: Specs
- 13.3-inch (1920 x 1080) 1080p 165ppi IPS LCD glossy
- 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-7300U vPro (3.5GHz boost) 2 cores, 4 threads
- Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
- Intel HD 620 GPU
- 8GB 2400MHz DDR4 RAM
- 256GB PCIe SSD
- 802.11b/g/n/ac single-band 2x2 MIMO
- Bluetooth 4.1
- 1x USB-C 3.1
- 2x USB 3.0
- Kensington Security Slot
- PalmSecure IR pad
- RJ45 Ethernet
- SDXC card slot
- stereo speakers
- HD webcam
- Single mic
- 3.5mm headset jack
- UK tiled keyboard with numberpad
- two-button trackpad
- 50Wh lithium-ion battery, removable
- 309.3 x 213.5 x 15.5 mm
- 2-year warranty
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