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Sunday, 31 December 2017 20:36

REVIEW: Fujitsu's U937 ultralight touch notebook is a winner

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Want the lightest, ultra-thin notebook at 779 grams with a touch screen, 2 x USB 3.0 ports, Ethernet, USB-C, HDMI, 7th-gen Core i5, SSD and plenty more? Fujistu has the answer.

Apple has its 12-inch MacBook, starting with a Core m3 processor, 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD from AU $1899, without touch screen, and which for everyday office work, does actually work beautifully, especially with macOS.

However, in the business world, a machine running Windows 10 is usually the order of the day, and most people wanting an ultra-thin, lightweight machine would be looking at machines like the HP Spectre, the Lenovo X1 Carbon, the Dell XP3 13, the Alcantara-coveved Surface laptop and others.

Now comes Fujitsu, the Japanese technology company that not only continues making the incredibly well featured and super lightweight, red, U937 touchscreen 'Lifebook' notebook computer with robust magnesium aluminium housing, not only with a massively enviable technological heritage of the highest order, but also one of the few computers still to be made in Japan!

The company developed its first computer in 1954, the FACOM 100. In 1956 the company released the FACOM 128 and in 1960, the FACOM 138a, and all these decades later, Fujitsu reports the 128 and 138a are not only still operational today, but are the world's oldest working computers.

Fast forward to 2018, and Fujitsu has released the U937 Lifebook, a computer that if Apple had manufactured would send Macophiles into spasms of sheer delight, given its two USB 3.0 ports, its USB-C port, its incredibly cool slide-out and lift-up Ethernet port that slides into the side of the U937's svelte and slim frame, 3.5mm jack, SD card port, TPM-enabled, with Kensington lock socket and full-size HDMI-out, although no Thunderbolt 3.

Apple could only manage a single Thunderbolt 3 port that is also USB-C port, which can be expanded to be anything via dongles, along with a 3.5mm jack, at a higher weight to boot - with a slower Intel processor in the base configuration.

Obviously, it is all horses for courses – if you need macOS in the smallest possible footprint, only a MacBook will do, but if you need a business-class Windows 10 Pro machine in the smallest possible footprint, then the Fujitsu U937 is decidedly impressive.

It even features a Palm vein sensor print reader that is dramatically more accurate than any fingerprint reader, and while Apple's 12-inch screen offers Apple's Retina-class high resolution display, Fujitsu has a larger 13.3-inch Full HD screen anti-glare display (with WQHD displays an option), alongside 4G/LTE capability being another option to consider.

Obviously you can spec up the MacBook and competing Windows 10 ultrabooks to faster processors, with the Fujitsu U937 no exception.

It can be configured up to a Core i7 vPro processor, with up to 20GB of DDR4 RAM and a 512GB M.2 PCIe SSD, although the standard configuration with a Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM and 256GB SSS with non-touch screen retails from AU $1483.95, with the touch screen model around $1799, all the way up to a Core i7 model with 20GB RAM and 512GB SSD without touchscreen for around AU $2543.

Retailers can confirm street pricing for touch-screen equipped models. 

The Fujitsu U937 is the lightest notebook I've ever held, and due to its having a real Core i5 processor, it has the kind of desktop-class performance you'd expect.

I am testing the model with 512GB storage, and while I'm a Mac user these days through and through, I have been very impressed with the stylish red U937 I've been reviewing - and everyone I've shown it to has been mightily impressed by the ultra light weight yet full suite of features.

Battery life is also impressive. At three quarters of full power mode, I can see the Battery Bar Windows app (the Basic version is free) reporting nine hours of battery life. At full battery life mode, I can see the Battery Bar app reporting a whopping 16 hours and 46 minutes of battery life remaining.

As for the rest of the experience for me in testing the U937, there are only two things I wish were different. The first is that I wish it had a backlit keyboard, something I take utterly for granted on MacBooks and many Windows devices, with the keyboard otherwise a pleasure to type on, and it would be pretty incredible if it also ran macOS, as it would be the touchscreen Mac that Apple refuses to make, and which can only be achieved via apps like Duet, Teamviewer, AirDisplay and others.

That said, here on the cusp of 2018 as I type, Windows 10 has matured a great deal and is not only a decent operating system but the one most business people are using.

So, if you are a business user and want the lightest PC ultrabook it is possible to buy, the Japan-made Fujitsu U937 is an extremely impressive device, right down to including two physical left and right mouse buttons on the trackpad.

Indeed, if you want an authentic Windows 10 experience, it is hard to go past this particular Fujitsu, or the S series of this same model which has a thicker base for even longer battery life.

You'll find more information on the U937 at Fujitsu's website here

Here's Fujitsu's corporate video on the U937, which talks of the slightly heavier 990 gram model that is also available:

 

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One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.