The Lifebook P7230 is for dirty stop-outs, road warriors and anyone that likes showing off with dinky ultraportables. It weighs next to nothing, fits in a handbag or manbag, and it can go online pretty much anywhere. Sounds like the recipe for the perfect ultraportable.
At first glance, the Lifebook P7230 looks a lot like the Sony Vaio TZ series. The lid is virtually identical, as is the placement of the memory card reader at the front edge. The biggest difference between the two is their size -- the P7230 is slightly fatter than the Sony machine.
The P7230's 10.6-inch display is a tad too small for our liking and we reckon Fujitsu Siemens could have fitted a slightly larger panel. There's certainly room for one -- the bezel surrounding the screen takes up a fair bit of space.
The keyboard seems to have been jammed in with a crowbar as it only just fits the chassis. The keys themselves are a little on the small size, so if you're fat of finger you'll have to curb your typing speed or you'll end up with countless typos.
The mouse trackpad is also ridiculously tiny. It doesn't much affect the laptop's usability, but we had to crank up the cursor sensitivity to avoid using multiple finger strokes. The mouse buttons are small, too, but they feel good in use and have a biometric fingerprint reader between them -- ideal for secure logins.
Other interesting features include a 1.3-megapixel camera built into the upper portion of the screen bezel, a couple of shortcut keys next to the power button, and twin (array) microphones, which can improve the accuracy of Vista's integrated speech recognition software.
Fujitsu Siemens has fitted the Lifebook P7230 with an energy-efficient Intel Core Solo CPU. In this case it's the 1.2GHz U1400 model, which we like to think of as the Smart car of CPUs. It's not very fast, even with the accompanying 1GB of RAM, but it's very economical, so expect long battery life.
You won't be playing many games on the P7230 -- the whole thing runs off the Intel 945GM chipset, which comes with an integrated graphics adaptor. It's fast enough for playing YouTube flicks, and maybe even the odd bit of Solitaire, but don't expect much more.
The display, though small, is commendable. It's bright and runs at a native resolution of 1,280x768 pixels, so it'll let you play 720p movies -- but don't blame us if you get a few dropped frames because of the slow CPU. It's worth noting that there's minor light bleeding from the top and bottom of the screen, but this is quite a common feature of LED-backlit displays.