Fujitsu Siemens' LifeBook P series is a range of ultra-portable laptops equipped with mobile broadband and a webcam. It includes the P7230 and P1610 -- the latter a convertible tablet PC. The newest P-series model is the P8020, a well-featured 12.1-inch ultra-portable that costs around £1,700.
The P8020 is an improvement over the P7230 as far as styling goes. This is largely down to the casing design: Fujitsu Siemens has gone for a black chassis all round, with a shiny black outer lid that's reminiscent of some netbooks and consumer-grade laptops.
The lid seems quite resistant to fingermarks, but we were concerned that our review sample had a small scratch that was highly visible as a white scar against the black background. If you like to keep your laptop looking factory fresh, you'll need to take care of it.
The build quality is generally robust, although the lid section has a fair amount of flex. There's also no clasp holding the lid and base sections together, so you'll need to take care that nothing gets between the screen and keyboard when the system is in your travel bag.
The P8020 measures 280 by 37 by 210mm and weighs 1.3kg. It feels rather thick and chunky, but this is not unduly noticeable when the laptop is in use.
The screen measures 12.1 inches across the diagonal and has a native resolution of 1,280x800 pixels -- you can get a 1,920x1,200-pixel resolution with an external monitor if necessary. The display is LED-backlit and very bright and sharp. The glossy screen coating helps with clarity and increases viewing angles, particularly in the horizontal plane. But the screen is also reflective, which causes the usual problems when you work with a light source behind you.
Ultra-portable laptops can suffer from cramped keyboards, and the P8020's is indeed on the small side. If your hands are large, you may find touch typing a challenge. The keys themselves, however, are responsive, depress a fair way when pressed and give a light click when used. The return key is well sized and the function key row is almost full height. The small amount of flex in the keyboard should only affect the most heavy-handed of typists.
The wrist rest houses a wide-format touchpad. This lacks the horizontal and vertical scrolling capabilities we're used to seeing in touchpads these days, and their absence is a disappointment. Beneath the touchpad are two mouse buttons that are slightly unresponsive for our liking. Between them sits a fingerprint scanner.