Fujitsu's Lifebook E743 may lack the glamour of an ultrabook, but it is a well-designed business portable that is sturdy and offers decent performance, plus the unique ability to fit an optional projector module for giving presentations.
Built to last, good connectivity, good expansion options including Bay Projector module
Relatively bulky compared with ultrabooks, Intel vPro only on select models
£ 863 + VAT (as reviewed)
Model: Lifebook E743
Display: 14in, 1600x900
Processor: Intel 2.6GHz Core i5-3230M dual-core
RAM: 4GB (max 16GB)
Wireless connections: 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth, optional 3G/4G mobile broadband
Ports: Ethernet, 3xUSB 3.0, USB 2.0, DisplayPort, VGA, SD Card reader slot, microphone and headphone, smartcard slot
Camera: 2.1MP webcam
Battery: 6-cell lithium ion, 6,700mAh
Fujitsu's Lifebook E743 is one of a family of corporate laptops that are based on a common motherboard design and Bios firmware. They can use the same desktop dock and peripherals, including a unique add-on projector, in a bid to make life easier for IT departments in organisations that standardise on them.
Available since August, the Lifebook E Line comprises a 15.6in, 14in and 13.3in laptop model, all of which share the same design and specifications. Fujitsu's reasoning behind this is that different users can be equipped with a laptop in a size that suits their role, while the IT department can support any of them with a single standard system image and a common pool of accessories.
Although the Lifebook E Line laptops are based on a common hardware platform, buyers get the usual choice of processors, memory and storage. At present, this does not extend to the newer Haswell 4th generation Intel Core laptop processors, so potential buyers will have to hold off until the first quarter of 2014, or be content with the older Ivy Bridge technology.
As a corporate laptop series, the Lifebook E Line models also have the security features you would expect, including a trusted platform module (TPM) chip, built-in smartcard reader for user authentication, optional fingerprint scanner and Intel's vPro technology. The Lifebook systems also have an increasingly rare feature: a removable battery pack.
However, some Lifebook E Line laptops are available without vPro, in case customers do not require this. Our review sample was one such model, shipping with a Core i5-3230M processor, 4GB of memory and a 500GB solid-state hybrid drive (SSHD), which combines a conventional hard disk with 8GB of flash for improved performance.
Many buyers will also be pleased to note that Fujitsu ships the Lifebook E Line models with Windows 7 by default, with upgrade rights for Windows 8 if and when customers are ready to move to the newer platform.
The whole Lifebook E Line shares a common styling, as you might expect with them being based on the same hardware platform, and it has to be said that the styling looks a little dated and conservative when compared with some of the latest ultrabook models on the market.