Review Fujitsu LifeBook S904 Notebook

Sascha Mölck (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 04/08/2014

Enduring. Fujitsu wants to lure mobile computer workers into buying its new 13.3-inch Lifebook S904 laptop. In addition to a low weight, the computer features an IGZO-WQHD screen, a docking port, and a 3G/LTE module. Beyond that, the company also promises a battery runtime of up to 24 hours and includes a three-year warranty. Sounds too good to be true?

For the original German review, see here.

The company Fujitsu breaks down its laptops into the categories All-Round, Advanced, and Superior on their German website. The Lifebook S904 belongs to the latter category. The Superior category is touted with the words "Ultimate Computing for Individual Needs." Fujitsu sets high standards with that. A look at the S904's specifications shows that Fujitsu is in fact generous and not at all stingy: A very high-resolution screen, 3G/LTE modem, modular bay, docking port. Our report will reveal whether the Lifebook is just as convincing in real life as it is on paper.

We used Toshiba's Portégé Z30-A-12U (Core i7-4500U, HD Graphics 4400) and Dell's Latitude E7440 (Core i5-4300U, HD Graphics 4400) to classify the laptop.

Case

The choice of materials and colors already indicate that the Lifebook S904 is intended for the corporate field. The base unit's upper side and the lid's back are comprised of metal. While the lid is black, the base unit's upper side gleams in bright silver. Of course, no glossy or reflective surfaces are used - with exception of the display. The casings of both the Portégé and Latitude are also metal.

The little laptop's build is immaculate and does not give reason for complaint. It also looks good in terms of rigidness. The base unit can only be warped slightly, and it is also largely pressure resistant. It only shows weaknesses in the usual places; the casing can be marginally dented below the touchpad and on the right edge above the optical drive. The lid makes a considerably less stiff impression. Its back is easy to dent and warp. Image distortions are seen in both cases. The hinges have a firm hold on the screen but rock slightly. It is not possible to open the lid with one hand.

Fujitsu Lifebook S904.
Fujitsu Lifebook S904.
The lid's back is black.
The lid's back is black.
The laptop features a docking port.
The laptop features a docking port.

Connectivity

Despite the Lifebook's compact size, Fujitsu installs all interfaces expected in a laptop nowadays. The Portégé's interfaces exactly correspond to those of the Lifebook. The same is true for the Latitude with one exception. Instead of a VGA out, Dell installs a mini-DisplayPort. All three laptops sport a docking port so that the variety of interfaces can be expanded. The Lifebook is the only laptop among the comparison devices that has a modular bay. The bay in our review sample was furnished with a DVD burner, but it can also be fitted with an additional battery or a second hard drive. We did not find the interface distribution of the S904 particularly good. A few ports are on a height with the wrist rest.

Left: power socket, Gigabit Ethernet, VGA, HDMI, USB 3.0 (picture: Fujitsu)
Left: power socket, Gigabit Ethernet, VGA, HDMI, USB 3.0 (picture: Fujitsu)
Right: combo audio, USB 3.0, DVD burner / multibay, USB 3.0, Kensington lock port (picture: Fujitsu)
Right: combo audio, USB 3.0, DVD burner / multibay, USB 3.0, Kensington lock port (picture: Fujitsu)
Front: SmartCard reader, memory card reader (picture: Fujitsu)
Front: SmartCard reader, memory card reader (picture: Fujitsu)

Port Replicator

Fujitsu has the matching port replicator in its product line (product number: S26391-F1307-L110). It adds 4 USB 3.0 ports, 1 Gigabit Ethernet, 1 DVI, 1 VGA, and 1 DisplayPort to the S904. The replicator costs approximately 130 to 140 Euros (~$180 to ~$194).

Communication

The Lifebook has an ample supply of connection options. The Wi-Fi module from Intel supports the 802.11 a/b/g/n standards. We did not experience connection issues. The connection remained stable in a radius of 15 meters around the router. This is, however, not a standardized test. Strangely, the Wi-Fi module was disabled every time we rebooted the laptop, and it had to be switched on manually. The Wi-Fi module also sports a Bluetooth 4.0 chip from Intel. The Gigabit Ethernet chip also comes from Intel. Fujitsu equips the Lifebook with an LTE module (Sierra Wireless EM7305) for connecting with the Internet on the go.

Security 

As is appropriate for a business laptop, Fujitsu installs various security features in the Lifebook. In addition to the Kensington lock slot for physically securing the laptop, a Trusted Platform Module (1.2) is available. The fingerprint reader enables biometric access control. Alternatively, access control is possible via a SmartCard. 

Operating System & Accessories

The operating system on our review sample was Windows 8.1. The laptop comes with a Windows DVD and driver DVD. Beyond that, a quick-start poster and warranty information are found in the box.

Maintenance

The user does not have many maintenance options. Only the working memory can be accessed through a maintenance cover. The casing has to be opened to reach the other components. The Lifebook sports one working memory bank that is furnished with a 4 GB module. An additional 4 GB of working memory is soldered to the motherboard.

Warranty

Fujitsu includes a three-year warranty on the Lifebook. The same is true for the Latitude, but buyers of the Portégé have to be satisfied with a one-year warranty. The Lifebook's warranty period can naturally be upgraded. For example, a three-year on-site warranty costs approximately 180 Euros (~$249), and about 300 Euros (~$415) is charged for a four-year on-site warranty.

Input Devices

Keyboard

Fujitsu equips the Lifebook with a backlit keyboard. The backlight can be turned on and off via a function key; it has two brightness levels. The Lifebook's keys feature a very short drop and clear pressure point. Their resistance is also satisfactory. The keyboard only wobbles slightly above the modular bay while typing on it. We did not find it distracting. Overall, it is possible to work nicely on the keyboard, and it conveys a good typing feel.

Touchpad

An approximately 9.7 x 5.9 cm multi-touch capable Clickpad (touchpad w/o dedicated mouse keys; the entire pad is a key) serves as the mouse replacement. The sleek surface does not prevent the fingers from gliding. The areas that simulate the left and right mouse key are visibly separated. The pad has a short drop and clear pressure point.

Touchscreen

The touchscreen offers users another input option. Fujitsu installs a model with 10 touch points. We did not have any problems with the screen. It responded quickly to inputs.

Fujitsu installs a backlit keyboard into the Lifebook.
Fujitsu installs a backlit keyboard into the Lifebook.
The Clickpad supports multi-touch gestures.
The Clickpad supports multi-touch gestures.

Display

Fujitsu builds a 13.3-inch, glare-type screen into our review sample. It has a native resolution of 2560x1440 pixels. The Lifebook is also available without a touchscreen that is then matte. All screens offered by Fujitsu are based on the so-called IGZO technology (indium-gallium-zinc-oxide) from Sharp. In a nutshell, a feature of this technology is the higher translucency of single pixels. Thus, these screens can shine brighter than conventional screens with the same power consumption. Or in other words, they consume less power at the same brightness level. The average brightness of 315.1 cd/m² of the Lifebook's screen has to be called very good. The screen in the Latitude (302.2 cd/m², Full HD) only just lags behind that; the difference to the Portégé (264.9 cd/m², HD) is greater.

310
cd/m²
311
cd/m²
303
cd/m²
318
cd/m²
322
cd/m²
312
cd/m²
323
cd/m²
318
cd/m²
319
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 323 cd/m²
Average: 315.1 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 94 %
Center on Battery: 322 cd/m²
Black: 0.28 cd/m²
Contrast: 1150:1
Fujitsu LifeBook S904
Intel Core i7-4600U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Toshiba HG5d THNSNH256GCST
Dell Latitude E7440
Intel Core i5-4300U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Samsung SSD SM841 128GB
Toshiba Portege Z30-A-12U
Intel Core i7-4500U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Toshiba HG5d THNSNH256GMCT
Illumination
-5%
-90%
Brightness Center322313
-3%
270
-16%
Black *0.280.36
-29%
0.8
-186%
Contrast1150869
-24%
338
-71%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *4.294.54
-6%
8.96
-109%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *4.362.67
39%
9.76
-124%
Gamma *2.662.792.17
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)59.639.8
-33%

* ... smaller is better

Lifebook S904 vs. sRGB
Lifebook S904 vs. sRGB
Lifebook S904 vs. AdobeRGB
Lifebook S904 vs. AdobeRGB

The Lifebook's screen is just as compelling with a contrast of 1150:1 and black level of 0.28 cd/m², and it can outperform the contenders. While Dell's laptop (869:1, 0.36 cd/m²) can also boast with good rates, it is different in the Portégé (338:1, 0.8 cd/m²). The S904's screen cannot reproduce either the AdobeRGB or sRGB color space. At least the screen still covers the sRGB gamut by almost 81% (AdobeRGB: 60%).

The average DeltaE 2000 shift is 4.3. Thus, the screen only just fails the target range of DeltaE less than 3. Single colors achieve the latter rate. We cannot say that the screen has an evident bluish cast. At most, there is a marginal shift into blue.

CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - Grayscale
CalMAN - Grayscale
CalMAN - Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN - Saturation Sweeps

The Lifebook is not really suitable for outdoor use - at least not the touchscreen model. Though both the brightness and contrast would suffice for that, the reflective surface thwarts any such intentions. Luckily, Fujitsu also offers the Lifebook models with a matte screen. Should the rates of these screens even come close to those of the model in our review sample - and that is very likely because Fujitsu unexceptionally uses IGZO screens - nothing would stand in the way of outdoor use.

There is not much to say about the viewing angles. No matter how the laptop is held, the image remains stable. The screen is legible in every position.

Outdoor use...
Outdoor use...
...is hardly possible.
...is hardly possible.
Viewing angles: Lifebook S904
Viewing angles: Lifebook S904

Performance

Fujitsu offers a portable business laptop in a 13.3-inch size with its Lifebook S904. It provides classic business features, such as TPM and a docking port. Even an LTE module is installed. Our review sample is sold for approximately 1800 Euros (~$2495). However, Fujitsu also has other configurations in its product line. The lowest priced model (S9040M7551DE) at the time of writing cost about 1300 Euros (~$1802). The differences to our review sample: It does not feature a touchscreen, a Core i5-4200U processor is used, and it sports a 500 GB hybrid hard drive rather than an SSD.

CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
GPU-Z
HWInfo
System information: Fujitsu LifeBook S904

Processor

Fujitsu furnishes our review sample with an Intel Core i7-4600U processor. This dual-core is a member of Intel's current Haswell generation. It has a base clock of 2.1 GHz, and its speed can be boosted to 2.9 GHz (both cores) and 3.3 GHz (one core only) via Turbo. Intel specifies the processor's TDP with 15 watts.

We could not retrieve the processor's full performance in either battery or AC mode. The processor exhibited almost the same behavior in both cases: The CPU performed the Cinebench single-thread benchmarks with 2.5 to 2.6 GHz, and the multi-thread tests were processed with 2.2 to 2.3 GHz. Thus, the processor clearly remains behind its potential. Consequently, the Lifebook achieves worse scores than the Portégé (Core i7-4500U, HD Graphics 4400) and the Latitude (Core i5-4300U, HD Graphics 4400) - although both contenders sport a slightly weaker processor.

Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
5287 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
7006 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
4245 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
5194
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
5576
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
3265
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
14.62 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
1.77 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.01 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
146 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
85 Points
Help
Cinebench R11.5 - CPU Single 64Bit
Fujitsu LifeBook S904
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Toshiba HG5d THNSNH256GCST
1.01 Points ∼55%
HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1 (H5F62ET)
HD Graphics 4400, 4200U, Intel SSD Pro 1500 Series SSDSC2BF180A4H
0.95 Points ∼51% -6%
Acer Aspire S7-392
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, 2x Kingston SMSR150S3256G (RAID 0)
1.19 Points ∼64% +18%
Dell Latitude E7440
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Samsung SSD SM841 128GB
1.23 Points ∼66% +22%
Toshiba Portege Z30-A-12U
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG5d THNSNH256GMCT
1.31 Points ∼71% +30%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch 20A7-002DGE
HD Graphics 5000, 4550U, Samsung MZNTD512HAGL
1.33 Points ∼72% +32%
Lenovo Thinkpad T440s 20AQ0069GE
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Samsung SSD 840 250GB MZ7TD2560/0L9
1.42 Points ∼77% +41%
Cinebench R11.5 - CPU Multi 64Bit
Fujitsu LifeBook S904
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Toshiba HG5d THNSNH256GCST
1.77 Points ∼10%
HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1 (H5F62ET)
HD Graphics 4400, 4200U, Intel SSD Pro 1500 Series SSDSC2BF180A4H
2.48 Points ∼14% +40%
HP ProBook 430-G1
HD Graphics 4400, 4200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380
2.5 Points ∼14% +41%
Acer Aspire S7-392
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, 2x Kingston SMSR150S3256G (RAID 0)
2.74 Points ∼16% +55%
Lenovo Thinkpad T440s 20AQ0069GE
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Samsung SSD 840 250GB MZ7TD2560/0L9
2.75 Points ∼16% +55%
Dell Latitude E7440
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Samsung SSD SM841 128GB
2.77 Points ∼16% +56%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch 20A7-002DGE
HD Graphics 5000, 4550U, Samsung MZNTD512HAGL
2.78 Points ∼16% +57%
Toshiba Portege Z30-A-12U
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG5d THNSNH256GMCT
2.88 Points ∼16% +63%

System Performance

The system's performance is beyond reproach. It works swiftly and smoothly. Windows boots quickly, which is no surprise seeing that the laptop sports an SSD. The PCMark benchmarks scores are also very good. The rates of the three laptops are very close. Nevertheless, the Lifebook recurrently ends up behind both contenders. This once again shows that the processor does not max out its Turbo.

PC Mark
PCMark Vantage9032 points
PCMark 74442 points
PCMark 8 Home v21885 points
PCMark 8 Creative v22119 points
PCMark 8 Work v22715 points
Help
PCMark 7 - Score
Fujitsu LifeBook S904
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Toshiba HG5d THNSNH256GCST
4442 Points ∼67%
HP ProBook 430-G1
HD Graphics 4400, 4200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380
2683 Points ∼41% -40%
HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1 (H5F62ET)
HD Graphics 4400, 4200U, Intel SSD Pro 1500 Series SSDSC2BF180A4H
4005 Points ∼60% -10%
Dell Latitude E7440
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Samsung SSD SM841 128GB
4535 Points ∼68% +2%
Toshiba Portege Z30-A-12U
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG5d THNSNH256GMCT
4812 Points ∼73% +8%
Acer Aspire S7-392
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, 2x Kingston SMSR150S3256G (RAID 0)
4970 Points ∼75% +12%
Lenovo Thinkpad T440s 20AQ0069GE
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Samsung SSD 840 250GB MZ7TD2560/0L9
5022 Points ∼76% +13%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch 20A7-002DGE
HD Graphics 5000, 4550U, Samsung MZNTD512HAGL
5321 Points ∼80% +20%

Storage Devices

Fujitsu installs a solid state drive from Toshiba in its Lifebook. It has a capacity of 256 GB. The SSD offers good sequential transfer rates, and is on par with SSDs from other manufacturers. However, its 4k read/write rates lag behind those of its contenders.

HD Tune
HD Tune
CrystalDiskMark
CrystalDiskMark
AS SSD
AS SSD
Toshiba HG5d THNSNH256GCST
Transfer Rate Minimum: 262.1 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 389.3 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 304.9 MB/s
Access Time: 0.1 ms
Burst Rate: 206 MB/s
CPU Usage: 31.6 %
Fujitsu LifeBook S904
Intel Core i7-4600U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Toshiba HG5d THNSNH256GCST
Dell Latitude E7440
Intel Core i5-4300U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Samsung SSD SM841 128GB
Toshiba Portege Z30-A-12U
Intel Core i7-4500U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Toshiba HG5d THNSNH256GMCT
One K56-3N2
Intel Core i7-4700MQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M, Samsung 840 Series 500 GB (MZ-7TD500)
One K73-4N
Intel Core i7-4800MQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M, Samsung SSD 840 EVO 500GB
AS SSD
21%
8%
19%
48%
Seq Read501.53505.41
1%
496.92
-1%
513.92
2%
508.87
1%
Seq Write469.8356.09
-24%
450.83
-4%
331.29
-29%
493.1
5%
4K Read18.2433.69
85%
20.7
13%
29.33
61%
41.3
126%
4K Write70.1285.76
22%
87.62
25%
98.92
41%
111.25
59%

Graphics Card

Intel's HD Graphics 4400 core is used in the Lifebook. It supports DirectX 11.1 and works with speeds ranging from 200 to 1100 MHz. Although all three comparison laptops feature the same GPU, they score very differently in the 3DMark benchmarks. This is not surprising in the case of the Latitude because the GPU's maximum clock of Dell's laptop - as was seen in the review of the computer - is 1 GHz. However, the very clear difference between the Portégé and the Lifebook is perplexing because the maximum speed of their GPUs is 1.1 GHz according to the spec sheet. The reason for this big difference is quickly found: Neither the CPU nor the GPU in the Lifebook run at full speed.

3D Mark
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
5533 points
3DMark Vantage3646 points
3DMark 11838 points
3DMark Ice Storm38376 points
3DMark Cloud Gate4079 points
3DMark Fire Strike546 points
Help
Fujitsu LifeBook S904
Intel Core i7-4600U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Toshiba HG5d THNSNH256GCST
Toshiba Portege Z30-A-12U
Intel Core i7-4500U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Toshiba HG5d THNSNH256GMCT
Dell Latitude E7440
Intel Core i5-4200U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Seagate Laptop Ultrathin ST500LT032
3DMark (2013)
14%
-8%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score3837640279
5%
33916
-12%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score40794900
20%
3832
-6%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Standard Score546646
18%
514
-6%

Gaming Performance

The Lifebook is at most able to smoothly render a few games in a low resolution and low quality level. It again remains clearly behind the Portégé, as already shown in the 3DMark benchmarks and Cinebench benchmarks.

low med.high ultra
Tomb Raider (2013) 41.521.412.9fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 25.816.1fps
Thief (2014) 13.38.7fps
Tomb Raider
1024x768 Low Preset
Fujitsu LifeBook S904
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Toshiba HG5d THNSNH256GCST
41.5 fps ∼9%
Toshiba Portege Z30-A-12U
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG5d THNSNH256GMCT
49.9 fps ∼10% +20%
1366x768 Normal Preset AA:FX AF:4x
Fujitsu LifeBook S904
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Toshiba HG5d THNSNH256GCST
21.4 fps ∼5%
Toshiba Portege Z30-A-12U
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG5d THNSNH256GMCT
25.9 fps ∼7% +21%

Emissions

System Noise

The fan was often inactive during idle mode, and there was nothing but silence. Agreeably, the fan was also mostly quiet when playing a DVD. However, the fan really sped up as soon as the laptop was put under slightly higher load. It achieved noise levels that prove to be quite distracting. The Lifebook surpassed 40 dB(A) in both medium load via 3DMark06 and during full load in the stress test via Prime95 and Furmark. Overall, the Latitude and Portégé exhibit the same behavior as the Lifebook.

Noise Level

Idle 29.6 / 29.6 / 29.6 dB(A)
DVD 37.7 / dB(A)
Load 42.6 / 44.6 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

The Lifebook S904 in the stress test
The Lifebook S904 in the stress test

The Lifebook's surface temperatures were within an acceptable range everywhere - in both idle mode and during full load. That was expected since the fan spins with high speeds, and neither the CPU nor GPU use their full potential. Both the Latitude and Portégé heat up more in full load.

The Lifebook processed the stress test using Prime95 and Furmark simultaneously for at least one hour in AC and battery mode in the same manner. The CPU clocked with approximately 1 to 1.1 GHz, and the GPU with 700 to 800 MHz. The CPU's temperature settled to roughly 65 °C in the stress test. However, the stress test represents an extreme scenario that will not be found in real-life use. Our benchmarks proved that the CPU does not max out its full Turbo in routine use, and that it does not surpass its base clock either.

 28.1 °C26.6 °C25.8 °C 
 28 °C27.8 °C25.7 °C 
 27 °C26.2 °C25.9 °C 
Maximum: 28.1 °C
Average: 26.8 °C
25.7 °C27.6 °C28.5 °C
25.7 °C30 °C29 °C
26.4 °C27.2 °C27.8 °C
Maximum: 30 °C
Average: 27.5 °C
Power Supply (max.)  27 °C | Room Temperature 22.8 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

The Lifebook's stereo speakers are located on the laptop's front. The sound quality is very modest. The speakers produce a thin soundscape that lacks bass. However, speech is very intelligible. Headphones or external speakers contribute to a better sound experience.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The Lifebook's idle power consumption, ranging from 5.1 to 10.8 watts, is higher than that of the Portégé (3.5 to 7.1 watts) and Latitude (3.3 to 8 watts). This is due to the Lifebook's higher screen resolution and the touchscreen. The Lifebook (27.1 and 27.7 watts) and the Portégé (27.3 and 27.6 watts) are on par in both medium load via 3DMark06 and full load in the stress test via Prime95 and Furmark. The reason is both laptops struggle with heavy CPU and GPU throttling. The Latitude consumes more power than its contenders in full load. The processor in Dell's laptop never surpasses its base clock, and the GPU does not clock at full speed.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.15 / 0.4 Watt
Idle 5.1 / 9.9 / 10.8 Watt
Load 27.1 / 27.7 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

The Lifebook's battery lasted 9:17 h in idle mode. The Portégé (9:55 h) and the Latitude (10:15 h) both run longer. Idle mode is simulated using Battery Eater's Reader's test. The screen is set to minimum brightness, the energy-saving profile is enabled, and the wireless modules are off. The Lifebook achieved a load runtime of 2:44 h. Neither the Portégé nor the Latitude (1:10 h) can match that. The load runtime is ascertained using Battery Eater's Classic test with the screen's maximum brightness, high-performance profile, and enabled wireless modules.

The S904 finished the Wi-Fi test after 8:27 h. Again, both the Portégé (7:37 h) and the Latitude (5:17 h) lag behind. In this test, websites are automatically opened every 40 seconds using the energy-saving profile and a screen brightness of approx. 150 cd/m². DVD playback stopped after 4:51 h on the Lifebook. The DVD test is performed using the energy-saving profile (or a higher profile should the DVD not run smoothly), maximum screen brightness, and disabled wireless modules.

A considerably longer runtime can be achieved by dimming the screen and playing video from the hard drive. We tested this using the short movie Big Buck Bunny (H.264 encoding, 1920x1080 pixels), which we ran in a loop. The energy-saving profile was enabled, the wireless modules were disabled, and the screen was set to approx. 150 cd/m². The Lifebook managed 7:34 h. We did not perform a video test with the contenders.

It is not surprising that the Lifebook wins most battery runtime tests. Its battery features the highest capacity among the comparison devices (Fujitsu: 77 Wh; Toshiba: 52 Wh; Dell: 34 Wh). However, we have to praise Toshiba; although the Latitude's battery has a considerably higher capacity than the one in the Portégé, the Lifebook does not have much of an advantage. The reason is that the Lifebook consumes more power than Toshiba's laptop in idle mode.

The Lifebook's idle battery runtime is disappointing and is very remote from our expectations. Even the heralded 24-hour runtime is out of reach. We performed the idle test multiple times, and it always ended up with the same result. We believe that there is a snag in the system because the Lifebook scores well in the other runtime tests.

Fujitsu has a secondary battery for the S904 for approx. 130 Euros (~$180) in its product line. It can be inserted into the modular bay and has a capacity of 28 Wh (2600 mAh). This battery should increase the S904's runtime by about one-third.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
9h 13min
WiFi Surfing
8h 27min
DVD
4h 51min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
7h 34min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 44min
Battery Runtime - WLAN
Fujitsu LifeBook S904
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Toshiba HG5d THNSNH256GCST
507 min ∼34%
Dell Latitude E7440
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Samsung SSD SM841 128GB
331 min ∼22% -35%
Toshiba Portege Z30-A-12U
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG5d THNSNH256GMCT
457 min ∼30% -10%

Verdict

Fujitsu Lifebook S904
Fujitsu Lifebook S904

With its Lifebook S904, Fujitsu offers a 13.3-inch business laptop that is aimed at satisfying mobile users. The laptop has a strong processor, a swift solid state drive, and a bright, high-contrast, high-resolution screen. The good input devices, docking port, decent battery runtimes, and LTE module supplement that. There is also a modular bay, and Fujitsu includes a three-year warranty.

Installing a touchscreen is questionable. The reflective surface virtually makes outdoor use impossible, and it contradicts the laptop's claim on mobility. Luckily, Fujitsu also offers matte screens for its Lifebook. Unfortunately, the Lifebook's CPU and GPU cannot max out their full performance. The cooling system is apparently not designed for that. Thus, potential buyers should consider if a lower-priced model with a Core i5-4200U processor would suffice.

Toshiba's Portégé Z30-A-12U convinces with very low power consumption. It also retrieves an only slightly lower runtime than the Lifebook despite a battery with a considerably lower capacity. Regrettably, the laptop's low-contrast HD screen is disappointing. Dell's Latitude E7440 stands out with its ease of maintenance.

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In Review: Fujitsu Lifebook S904 (S9040MXPA1DE). Model courtesy of Fujitsu Germany.
In Review: Fujitsu Lifebook S904 (S9040MXPA1DE). Model courtesy of Fujitsu Germany.

Specifications

Fujitsu LifeBook S904

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel Lynx Point-LP
:: Memory
8192 MB, DDR3, dual-channel, one memory bank, four gigabyte soldered
:: Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 4400, Core: 200-1100 MHz, 10.18.10.3316
:: Display
13.3 inch 16:9, 2560x1440 pixel, 10 point multi-touch, Sharp LQ133T1JW19, IGZO, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
Toshiba HG5d THNSNH256GCST, 256 GB , 190 GB free
:: Soundcard
Intel Lynx Point-LP - High Definition Audio Controller
:: Connections
3 USB 3.0, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: combo audio jack, Card Reader: SD, SDHC, SDXC, 1 SmartCard, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Sensors: shock sensor, TPM 1.2
:: Networking
Intel I218-LM (Clarkville ULT) Network Adapter (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-N 7260 (a b g n ), 4.0 Bluetooth, Sierra Wireless EM7305 (LTE, UMTS, HSDPA, HSPA+, EDGE, GPRS, GSM)
:: Optical drive
Matshita DVD-RAM UJ8E2
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 26.5 x 319 x 215
:: Weight
1.5 kg Power Supply: 0.192 kg
:: Battery
77 Wh Lithium-Ion, 10.8 V, 7100 mAh
:: Price
1799 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: HD Webcam (1280 x 720), Speakers: stereo, Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, Cyberlink PowerDVD 12, Cyberlink Youcam 5, McAfee Multi Access Internet Security (60 day trial), Microsoft Office 365 (trial), Corel Draw Essentials X6 (download after registration), Audials One, 36 Months Warranty

 

The DVD burner reads and writes all kinds of DVDs and CDs.
The DVD burner reads and writes all kinds of DVDs and CDs.
Tools are not needed for removal.
Tools are not needed for removal.
The hinges...
The hinges...
...keep the lid firmly in position.
...keep the lid firmly in position.
A fingerprint scanner is installed.
A fingerprint scanner is installed.
An Eco button is beside the power button. It reduces the laptop's energy requirement.
An Eco button is beside the power button. It reduces the laptop's energy requirement.
Behind the maintenance cover,...
Behind the maintenance cover,...
...we find the working memory module.
...we find the working memory module.
A docking port is available.
A docking port is available.
The SIM card slot is in the battery compartment.
The SIM card slot is in the battery compartment.
There is a SIM card tray.
There is a SIM card tray.
The battery is behind a flap.
The battery is behind a flap.
It weighs approximately 324 grams...
It weighs approximately 324 grams...
...and provides a capacity of 77 Wh.
...and provides a capacity of 77 Wh.
The power supply weighs 192 grams...
The power supply weighs 192 grams...
...and supplies a power output of 65 watts.
...and supplies a power output of 65 watts.
The keys have a short drop.
The keys have a short drop.
Enabled keyboard backlight.
Enabled keyboard backlight.
The Lifebook outdoors.
The Lifebook outdoors.

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Pro

+Bright, high-contrast screen
+3 year warranty
+Very good battery runtimes
+Multibay
+LTE modem
+Docking port
 

Cons

-Throttles under load
-Loud under load

Shortcut

What we like

The decent battery runtimes, the bright and high-contrast, viewing-angle stable screen, the modular bay.

What we'd like to see

Nothing actually. Everything expected from a business laptop is available.

What surprises us

The processor's full performance is not available. Apparently, the cooling system's design is somewhat insufficient.

The competition

Dell Latitude E7440, Toshiba Portégé Z30-A-12-U, Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch, Lenovo ThinkPad T440s, HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1, HP ProBook 640 G1.

Rating

Fujitsu LifeBook S904
06/25/2014 v4
Sascha Mölck

Chassis
84 / 98 → 86%
Keyboard
83%
Pointing Device
83%
Connectivity
84 / 95 → 88%
Weight
69 / 78 → 79%
Battery
89%
Display
84%
Games Performance
60 / 85 → 71%
Application Performance
64%
Temperature
91 / 91 → 100%
Noise
86%
Audio
55%
Camera
58%
Average
76%
83%
Subnotebook *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Review Fujitsu LifeBook S904 Notebook
Author: Sascha Mölck, 2014-04- 8 (Update: 2014-04-10)