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Fujitsu UH572 review

This ultabook is barely relevant now; but, on the other hand, I've been using this ultrabook for about 6 months, which allows me to cover things not covered by other reviews. Perhaps, it would be of interest to people who consider buying used laptops.

Overview

 Fujitsu UH572 is a cheap and light ultrabook. For me, the weight is a very important factor, as I often move around with an open laptop in my hands (sometimes even typing while I hold it one hand). Anything heavier than 1.6 kg is unacceptable. On the other hand, I need fast CPU and lots of RAM for the work I do, so netbook-like devices are not an option. And I can't afford high-end ultrabooks, so I'm glad that devices like UH572 are available. Here are specs of the one I got:


  • Intel Core i5-3317U (1.7-2.6 GHz, 3 MB cache, 2 cores/4 threads, Ivy Bridge)
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 500 GB HDD
  • 32 GB iSSD (SanDisk i100)
  • Intel Centrino Wireless-N2230 b/g/n
  • (see the rest of specs in datasheet)

The alternatives were:

  • Dell Vostro 3360
  • Fujitsu UH552 (same thing without iSSD)
  • Lenovo IdeaPad U310
  • Samsung NP530U3B
All of these laptops have a lot in common. ( recommend notebookcheck.net for detailed reviews.) I ended up wtih UH572 for a couple of reasons:

  • It has good keyboard layout, similar to what I was using before.
  • Keyboard looks a bit weird, but I find it quite convenient, and I could type on it right away without any re-learning period.
  • I like to have an iSSD.
  • I planned to upgrade RAM to 8 GB, and Fujitsu appears to be easiest to ugprade. (It has one empty slot so I just need to buy 4 GB module
  • It has a slot for a wireless (3G) card.

Keyboard

I admit it does look a bit weird, and many reviews reported that it has cheap feel, it yields under pressure.

Well, it isn't important. It is important that it is quite comfortable and  it allows me to type fast without getting tired. (And it was an important factor that I didn't need to adjust to it.)

Also smaller keyboard with smaller keys is good for typing in less than optimal position, like when laptop is in your lap, or when you hold it with one hand and type with another.

So I'm quite satisfied with the keyboard. (Even though most review said that it is bad.)

Display

Just like with keyboard, most reviews report that display isn't good. However, I disagree: it's one of the best displays I've ever used.

Somehow it is perfect for displaying text: all letters looks very nice and I can comfortably read even small font, as all letters are very legible.

Otherwise, I can't say anything bad about colors, angles, contrast, etc. It is a cheap display, but it is a very good cheap display.

Operating system

I need to use Linux for work, so I installed Debian GNU/Linux 7. It was pretty straightforward aside from installation of wireless driver: I had to download it from Intel and supply it during installation. But somehow Debian installation script had problems with recognizing a flash drive with file on it. Anyway, I found some way to force the damn thing to eat my file and from that point it was smooth.

Also I had to add i8042.notimeout to grub config to get touchpad working.

Touchpad

This laptop is equipped with Synaptics Clickpad. I have mixed feelings about it.

When you just need to move cursor around if OK, it is also quite good at recognizing gestures.

On the other hand, clicking is a bit problematic. In theory, clickpad is convenient: touchpad itself is a button, so you don't need to move your finger. In practice, it's pretty much impossible to click with precision: neither touch-clicking, nor clickpad-clicking is very accurate.

Same thing with dragging: in theory you can do it with one finger and it is straightforward. In practice, it doesn't always work very well.

Right-clicking is even a bigger problem: you need to aim at a particular area of a clickpad, and it's even more finicky.

So, I would prefer separate buttons.

Also, sometimes (perhaps when fingers are a bit wet) touchpad goes totally crazy).

iSSD 

Part of iSSD is used for a special hibernate-to-SSD feature which is enabled by the chipset Intel created for ultrabooks. It is much faster than normal hibernation.

The rest is supposed to be used by ReadyBoost cache (on Windows).

But I decided to use whole disk for the cases when I need fast I/O (and I need it from time to time), so I formatted whole disk as ext4 (if you do this, note that it is important to reboot after you've deleted existing partitions; otherwise your fs will be corrupted when system hibernates -- it checks if partition exists only on boot).

SanDisk i100 has pretty good specs, both reads and writes are fast, and it's pretty durable. At least in theory.

However, in my case it died after 10 minutes of use. I believe firmware is shitty and it somehow managed to corrupt its internal state during intensive I/O. Now it stops responding soon after Linux tries to read from it.

I have to delete this device after each boot to make suspend working:

sudo bash -c "echo 1 > /sys/block/sdb/device/delete"

Maybe it works fine with ReadBoost, but it's disappointing that device with great specs can't be used.

Wifi

Well, it seems to work fine, and doesn't crash Linux, which is great. 

Video card

I rarely use 3D (if ever), so I can't say if it is good or not, but at least it works.

It has HDMI output, and this version of Debian with GNOME 3 has nice support for external displays. Basically, I can just plug in HDMI cable, close the lid -- and desktop moves to external display. Then I disconnect HDMI cable and it moves back to laptop's screen. Neat.

It didn't work that well on my previous laptop: it required a reboot to initialize external display properly.

Sound

Internal speakers suck.

CPU

I was surprised how fast it worked compared to my previous AMD Neo laptop. Automatic frequency scaling, 4 threads. Nice!

Case

More-or-less standard for ultrabooks, particularly, cheap ones. Aluminium. Lid isn't particularly strong, yields under pressure. Base is pretty rigid, which is good.

Fujitsu engineers had a brainfart when they designed indicators: all indicators are inside, so it isn't possible to tell whether notebook is on, sleeping or off without opening lid a bit.

Hinge is pretty stable and angle isn't bad, but plastic cracked a bit around hinge. (Might be might fault.)

Thermal

Fan works only if CPU is in use. Fan can be pretty loud if CPU usage is high, but it doesn't get very hot.

Battery

According to Fujitsu, it can work on battery life is up to 7 hours. But that's on lowest brightest setting and without wifi/bluetooth/3G.

In practice, it last for ~4 hours. (Maybe more on Windows?)

Charging is surprisingly fast. Charger is unusually compact.

Conclusion

It is hard to say whether I recommend this ultrabook, as it has both good and bad sides.




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