Hey guys, I bought the Fujitsu Lifebook A514*. I had a strict low budget of INR 20k and I had to squeeze the most out of that. I don't play games, nor do I watch movies and hence I could cut on the graphics card and hard disk space. A powerful processor was also not much necessary. All I needed was lots of RAM and a speedy disk. I got that.
- Intel i3 4005U 3rd Generation 1.7Ghz Dual Core (4 threads)
- 8GB DDR3 1600Mhz RAM
- 500GB HDD 5400rpm SATA III (Which I upgraded to a 120GB Kingston SSD* worth INR 3,400)
- 15.6in anti-glare display 1366x768
- Comes with no OS, clean
- VGA, HDMI, 3 USB 3.0s and 1 USB 2.0, SDHC, Mic, 3.5mm, DVD-RW, Gigabit Ethernet, Wifi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth
- Looks great, feels sturdy
The laptop looks beautiful on the outside. The plastic feels premium, not glossy. It has a brushed metal finish, with a sparkling Fujitsu logo right at the back which looks fantastic. On the right, you have a DVD drive, earphone and mic jacks and a USB 2.0. On the front, there are some usual indicator LEDs and a SDHC reader. On the left there is a physical lock, ethernet, VGA, HDMI and 3 USB 3.0s. One of the 3.0s is an always on anytime charge USB, meaning that you can connect your phone to it and it will get charged even if the laptop is switched off. Overall the notebook is just like any other notebook, with most of the default functionalities and you won't miss on that.
On opening the lid, you'll notice a somewhat odd placement of keys. For example, the right Shift key is smaller that usual, and a double pipe ('|') key is present in that place. The Enter key is a little odd shaped too. Apart from these little changes, everything is pretty standard. A power button, web cam, trackpad (larger than average). The screen is not that awesome, but pretty common for something at that price. Viewing angles are average, and it becomes hard to see beyond about 30 degrees on either side. Brightness is, too, average. The anti-glare thing works, but don't expect it to perform extremely good under the sun. The overall built quality is above average, and can easily match the slightly higher ended models from HP, Lenovo and Dell.
Turning the device on for the first time, you will be greeted with a message to install an operating system. I went with Debian Jessie. Boot up times were good, and the laptop felt snappy. The performace is good if you are not much into graphics and animated stuff. I haven't tested it but GNOME felt smooth and XFCE is, of course, lagless. There was no problem finding drivers for Wifi (you can actually just apt-get them), and sound was smooth too. Pulse ran without a problem, and though the sound of the notebook speakers is not an awful lot, it just works.
As I mentioned, I replaced the stock 500GB hard disk that came with it with a Kingston 120GB solid state drive. My needs were not a lot of disk space, but a fast disk. The benefits can be seen right from the time you install the OS. It takes about a third of the time to get the OS installed and I was done with Debian stable in under 15 minutes. The boot up time went down from 15-20 seconds to 3-4 seconds. Is it worth to go for an SSD and sacrifice on disk space? Well, it depends. Do you do a lot of compiling, I/O and work with Intellij IDEs, Android Studio and stuff? Do you not care about backing up important data like photos, songs and movies or have a secondary storage device for it? Your productivity increases on a fast system (which is pretty obvious)?. You are not planning to dual boot it? If all or most of your answers to the previous questions are yes, then you can say it is time to invest in an SSD.
The battery life is good. I had it running for about 3 hours and the battery has gone down from 100% to 64%, doing all kinds of stuff like installing softwares off the internet and the like. The laptop is producing very little heat, probably due to the low clock of the CPU.
Finally, I think Fujitsu is a great brand which I realized after getting my hands over it. Maybe like most of you reading this, I was quite skeptic about putting 20 grands on a company which I had not heard much about. I would have well settled for a 'reputed' brand like HP or Dell with half the features, but I risked it a bit, and in the end, I am extremely happy about me choice. If you are at a stage where you are not able to decide whether or not to go for this brand, I hope to have given you an answer. This review is for those like me, who buy smartly, decide which product to buy, read reviews and stuff online, before handing over their hard earned money to someone else.
Have a thought? Drop it in the comments below. Peace
*Links contain affiliate code. If this review helped you, please consider buying the laptop (or anything else) from my affiliated link. Thank you for the support!*