Review Fujitsu Lifebook AH532 Notebook

Simon Kohlstock (translated by Nathalie Klepper), 09/14/2012

Multimedia Mirror. The Lifebook AH532 is Fujitsu's logical continuation of the AH530 und AH531 notebooks. The Lifebook AH532 scores with up-to-date processor technology and a new casing.

With the Lifebook AH532, Fujitsu continues the series of affordable multimedia notebooks. Every generation of Intel mobile processors has been featured in a version of the AH53x series, ranging from AH530 with an Intel Core i3-370M processor, AH531 with an Intel Core i3-2310M, through to the latest model, the AH532 with an Intel Core i5-3210M processor from Intel's latest generation of processors. Like its predecessors, the Lifebook AH532 costs around 599 Euros. For this amount, you get a notebook that is sufficient for most multimedia applications. How this model performed in our practical tests, will be shown in this review.

Case

With every new generation of notebooks, Fujitsu provides the user with a new design. This also holds true for the new Lifebook AH532. Those who unpack the notebook for the first time have to remove numerous wrappers. This is because the AH532 is made up almost exclusively of high gloss plastic. The only matte areas are the base and the keyboard. The shape of the casing is rather simple and straightforward, without noticeable highlights in design. Still, the design is quite shiny - not only because of its glossy surfaces. In most living rooms, this notebook will cut a good figure, but one should be prepared for fingerprints and regular cleaning. 

Regarding quality, the notebook leaves something to be desired. The base unit could have been more stable. Even with medium pressure, the keyboard gives in considerably, and the wrist-rests can be bent without major effort. The same goes for the display, which can be easily twisted. There were no image errors though.

Connectivity

In terms of connectivity, the Lifebook AH532 does not bring any great surprises. The three USB 3.0 ports and the express card slot on the left side are nice. Most of the ports are located on the left side, so for right-handed users the mouse cable is out of the way. 

Left side: VGA, HDMI, 3 x USB 3.0, Express Card
Linke Seite: VGA, HDMI, 3 x USB 3.0, Express Card
Right side: 1x USB 2.0, optical drive, power socket
Rechte Seite: 1x USB 2.0, optisches Laufwerk, Stromanschluss
Front: 2x Audio, card reader
Frontseite: 2x Audio, Kartenleser
Back: Kensington Lock, RJ45 (LAN)
Rückseite: Kensington Lock, RJ45 (LAN)

Communication

The Lifebook AH532 basically offers everything you can wish for in an up-to-date consumer notebook. There is an RJ45 (LAN) port at the back of the notebook, which enables speeds of 10, 100 and 1000 Mbps. Those who wish to go online wireless can do so with the WLAN standard 802.11 b/g/n. Furthermore, the notebook features Bluetooth, making it  possible to connect with a mouse or mobile telephone.

Accessories

The contents of the box are somewhat different from what is normally seen with consumer notebooks. There are two DVDs besides the usual printed information material. One of them contains Windows 7 Home Premium Recovery and the other one is a Drivers & Utility DVD. Nowadays, DVDs are not usually part of the notebook package, as the data is located on a hidden partition. In the consumer product line, it is rather unusual that DVDs are included in delivery. 

Warranty

Fujitsu provides a one-year bring-in warranty service on the Lifebook AH532.

Input Devices

Keyboard

Fujitsu's Lifebook AH532 features a chiclet keyboard with separate, stand-alone keys. With their size of 14 x 14 mm, the keys are sufficiently big enough to enable good target accuracy. The spacing between the keys of approximately 4 mm is decent as well.

As mentioned before, the keyboard slightly bends while writing. This is particularly noticeable on top of the optical drive. However, the typing feel is utterly convincing. Strokes and stops feel pleasant, and the typing noise is not disturbing.

Touchpad

Measuring 94 mm, the diameter of the touchpad is up to the same level as most other touchpads of consumer notebooks. However, with a height of 44 mm, it is very shallow and therefore only provides a very small area for navigation. We would have preferred a bit more space. Additionally, one has to get used to the surface, as it is made up of relatively coarse studs. Although it feels strange at first, it seems to work fine in the end. At least there were no problems when navigating with the touchpad.

The two mouse keys leave nothing to be desired. The pressure point is perfectly located, and working with the keys does not cause trouble at all.

Keyboard
Tastatur
Touchpad
Touchpad

Display

Wie wir testen - Display

The Fujitsu Lifebook AH532 features a 15.6-inches display with a resolution of 1366x768. Our test notebook features a glossy display instead of a matte display, which is different from the information found in some online stores.  

175
cd/m²
172
cd/m²
183
cd/m²
174
cd/m²
182
cd/m²
162
cd/m²
176
cd/m²
174
cd/m²
167
cd/m²
Information
Gossen Mavo-Monitor
Maximum: 183 cd/m²
Average: 173.9 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 89 %
Center on Battery: 182 cd/m²
Black: 1.02 cd/m²
Contrast: 178:1
Distribution of brightness
Fujitsu Lifebook AH532 vs.sRGB (t)
Fujitsu Lifebook AH532 vs.sRGB (t)

With a display brightness of 182 cd/m2 maximum, the display of the AH532 is not the brightest one. On the contrary, the average of 73.8 cd/mis rather below average. Still, there is some comfort in the fact that the brightness is not reduced during battery operation. The illumination of the display at 89% is decent. The black value benefits from the low brightness. Though it could be lower than its 1.02 cd/m2, it is still better than the black value of most other notebooks. However, the contrast of 178:1is rather meager on the whole.

The color production of the Lifebook AH532 is not convincing. Neither the Adobe RGB color range nor the considerably smaller sRGB color range are fully covered, which is quite common in this price range and not a compelling disadvantage for the average user.

When used outdoors, the display is weak. As expected, it is like a mirror in the sun. The low level of brightness combined with the glossy surfaces makes it difficult to use outdoors, as the display seems to be more useful as a make-up mirror than a display.

Viewing angles Fujitsu Lifebook AH532
Blickwinkel Fujitsu Lifebook AH532

The possible viewing angles are not greatly different from the majority of notebooks. As long as the user looks straight at the display, the viewing angles are decent, although as soon as the display is bent, the image is distorted.

Performance

The Lifebook AH532 is advertised by Fujitsu as a multimedia notebook and is therefore suitable for a wide range of uses. The featured processor in combination with the Nvidia midrange graphics card offers sufficient performance to play games every now and then. However, the user should not expect the highest resolution and details.

Systeminfo CPUZ CPU
Systeminfo CPUZ Cache
Systeminfo CPUZ Mainboard
Systeminfo CPUZ RAM
Systeminfo CPUZ RAM SPD
Systeminfo GPUZ
Systeminfo GPUZ
DPC Latenzen
System information Fujitsu Lifebook AH532

Processor

The Core i5-3210M processor from Intel's modern Ivy Bridge generation has already been tested in a number of notebooks, which is why only the most important key figures about this processor will be presented here. Further information is available on our technics page about the i5-3210M. This processor is a double core processor with 2.5 GHz each. Thanks to Turbo Boost, the processor rate can be raised to up to 3.1 GHz. It also comes with Intel's Hyper Threading Technology, thanks to which a total of four threads can be processed simultaneously. Due to its TDP of 35 watts, this processor is not only suitable for big notebooks, but also for small devices with a display diameter of 14 inches. Therefore, the Fujitsu Lifebook AH532 should not have any issues with the processor's waste heat.

To evaluate the performance of the processor in the AH532 notebook, the two programs Cinebench R10 and Cinebench R11.5, each in the 64 Bit version, are being used. The Cinebench R10 Rend. Single (64bit) determines the performance of a single processor core. The AH532 obtained 5248 points in this test. Similar notebooks with the same processor achieved similar results; for example, the Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 (59-332603) (3210MGTX 660M) with 5299 points is only slightly ahead of the Fujitsu Lifebook.

Also in Cinebench R10 Rend. Multi (64bit) benchmark, which considers all available processor cores, the Fujitsu notebook makes a good impression compared to competitor models with the same processor. It obtains an evaluation of 10989 points. Again, this is only just behind the Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 (59-332603) (3210MGTX 660M) with its 11195 points. At the same level with the Lifebook AH532 is the Samsung 550P5C-T02DE (3210MGT 630M) with 11034 points. Compared to other notebooks using the 3210M processor, the Fujitsu Lifebook AH532 can absolutely assert itself.

In the tests of the AH532 notebooks, it became evident that there is an unusually frequent overclocking of the processor due to Turbo Boost. Even in idle mode, when the notebook does not have to perform at all, the Intel Turbo Boost Monitor displayed the figure of 2.9 GHz very often.

 

Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
4171
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
8875
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
6105
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
5248 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
10989 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
6036 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.26 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.89 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
33.86 fps
Help

System Performance

The interaction of all components was tested with the two system benchmarks PC Mark Vantage and PC Mark 7. In the PC Mark Vantage benchmark, the Lifebook AH532 obtained 7157 points. It is therefore at the same level with notebooks like the Apple MacBook Pro 15 inch 2011-10 MD322(2760QMHD 6770M), which obtained 7338 points, or the Samsung 700Z5A-S01DE (2430MHD 6750M) with 7118 points.

In the PC Mark 7 benchmark, the Lifebook AH532 obtained 2165 points and is between the Samsung 700Z5A-S01DE (2430MHD 6750M) with 2305 points and the Lenovo IdeaPad Z580-M81EAGE (3210MGT 630M) with 2079 points. 

5.9
Windows 7 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
7.1
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
7.5
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
6.9
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
6.9
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
5.9
PC Mark
PCMark Vantage7157 points
PCMark 72165 points
Help

Storage Solution

HD Tune
HD Tune
Crystal Disk
Crystal Disk

The hard drive is made by Toshiba. It is a 2.5 inch model with a gross capacity of 750 GB and 5.400 RPM. The hard drive does not have any particular strengths and only scores due to its relatively high capacity. The benchmark results were rather mediocre.

Toshiba MK7575GSX
Transfer Rate Minimum: 34.1 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 102.3 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 75 MB/s
Access Time: 17.1 ms
Burst Rate: 98.8 MB/s
CPU Usage: 1 %

Graphics card

The Fujitsu Lifebook AH532 features the midrange graphics card Nvidia GeForce GT 640M LE. This graphics card is specifically designed for use in “thin and light“ notebooks. This is why excellent performance is not to be expected, but on the other hand, there is no excessive amount of heat to be dissipated. The graphics card used in the tested device is clocked at 405 MHz (memory: 900 MHz, shader: 810MHz). This graphics card is of limited use for games. Current games such as Battlefield 3 or Max Payne 3 can only be rendered smoothly with medium or minimum details. However, less demanding games can be rendered smoothly even with high quality settings. The energy use of the card is not excessively high and should be at the level of the GT 520M. Lowering the clock frequency can save even more energy. Should the performance of the graphics card not be necessary, for example during internet browsing, it is possible to switch to the Intel HD Graphics 4000, which is integrated in the processor. This happens automatically with Nvidia Optimus.

To check the graphics performance of the GeForce GT 640M LE, the benchmarks 3D Mark 06 and 3D Mark 11 are being used. In the 3D Mark 06 benchmark, the graphics card scored 9599 points. Compared to other notebooks, the graphics card of the AH532 is currently the fastest GT 640M LE in our database, followed by the Acer Aspire TimelineUltra M5-481TG-73514G25Mass (3517UGT 640M LE) with a score of 8989 points. Even the Sony SV-S1511X9E/B (3612QMGT 640M LE) scored only 8858 points.  

In the 3D Mark 11 benchmark, however, the Lifebook AH532 cannot maintain its good position of the 3D Mark 06 benchmark. With 1385 points, it is at almost the same level as the Sony SV-S1511X9E/B (3612QMGT 640M LE), which scored 1404 points. The Acer Aspire TimelineUltra M5-481TG-73514G25Mass (3517UGT 640M LE) is considerably superior with 1519 points. Other similar graphics cards at the level of the Lifebook AH532 are the Radeon HD 6720G2 in the Asus K53TA-SX007V (A6-3400MHD6720G2) with 1389 points or the GeForce GT 555M in the Alienware M14x (2630QMGT 555M) with 1313 points.

 

3D Mark
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
9599 points
3DMark Vantage5788 points
3DMark 111385 points
Help

Gaming Performance

When it comes to gaming performance, this notebook behaves as expected with the provided graphics card. Older games such as StarCraft 2 run effortlessly, even with high resolutions and details. However, modern games with high quality graphics settings, like Battlefield 3, are no longer rendered smoothly with the provided graphics card. There can be no thought of playing Battlefield 3 in full HD on an external display.

low med.high ultra
StarCraft 2 (2010) 1245337fps
Deus Ex Human Revolution (2011) 5949fps
F1 2011 (2011) 1057055fps
Battlefield 3 (2011) 412822fps
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011) 473828fps

Emissions

The noise level of the Fujitsu Lifebook AH532 is mostly within acceptable limits. In idle mode and during modest use, the noise level remains pleasant with only 31.2 dB(A) up to 33.3 dB(A). The noise level of the hard drive is equally unobtrusive with 31.6 dB(A) and hardly noticeable. Under full load, the cooling system becomes clearly noticeable with 39.1 dB(A) to 44.6 dB(A), as was to be expected. 

Noise Level

Idle 31.2 / 31.4 / 33.3 dB(A)
HDD 31.6 dB(A)
DVD 34.6 / dB(A)
Load 39.1 / 44.6 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Fujitsu AH532 under full load
Fujitsu AH532 unter Volllast

In spite of the moderate energy consumption of the processor and graphics card, there seems to be a considerable amount of waste heat inside the notebook, as it heats up more than expected. Under full load, the notebook gets up to 46 °C. At the base, it is still 43.7 °C. This is astonishing as well, as notebooks normally get hotter at the base than at the top.

The temperature in idle mode is surprisingly high as well. The differences in temperature between idle mode and full load are less than usual, at least looking at the average temperatures. Concerning the maximum values temperatures go down in idle mode. At the top of the notebook, a maximum of 39.4 °Ccan be measured. At the base, it is 41.2 °C. 

The Fujitsu Lifebook AH532 performed satisfactorily in the stress test. In this test, the programs FurMark and Prime 95 were run simultaneously. This results in a high load of processor and graphics card, which is hardly ever reached in day-to-day use. With this test, the notebook is brought to its limits. The maximum processor temperature during this extreme test was measured at 93 °Cmaximum, according to HW Info, which means there is still some room for more.  A throttling of the processor was not found, and even the consecutive 3D Mark 06 benchmark did not indicate a restriction of performance whatsoever.

Max. Load
 44.6 °C46 °C37 °C 
 44.3 °C45 °C34.2 °C 
 33 °C37.8 °C36 °C 
 
32.8 °C39.5 °C43.7 °C
33 °C38.7 °C36.1 °C
33.8 °C34.5 °C34.1 °C
Maximum: 46 °C
Average: 39.8 °C
 Maximum: 43.7 °C
Average: 36.2 °C
Power Supply (max.)  56.1 °C | Room Temperature 26 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

The speakers are not greatly different from the majority of other consumer notebooks currently available. Bass is virtually non-existent. The volume is alright and sufficient enough to watch a movie.

Power comsumption

The power consumption of the notebook in idle mode is 10.5 Watts to 14.2 Watts. This makes the notebook not exactly the most economical in its class, but it is not an energy guzzler either. Under full load, the notebook uses 56.7 Watts to 84 Watts. The provided 80 watts power supply unit can still cope with the maximum of 84 Watts, which is the exception in practical use anyway. When the processor is fully used, the energy consumption is 52 Watts, with the graphics card it is 49.4 Watts.

Power consumption

Off / Standby 0.1 / 1.0 Watt
Idle 10.5 / 14.0 / 14.2 Watt
Load 56.7 / 84 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery life

Readers Test
Maximale Akkulaufzeit (Readers Test)
Classic Test
Minimale Laufzeit  (Classic Test)
DVD Test
Laufzeit im DVD Test
WLAN Test
Laufzeit im WLAN Test
Charging
Ladezeit
 

For the battery test, the program Battery Eater was used. With the help of this program, battery lives for different scenarios can be determined. During idling, the Lifebook AH532 has a battery life of 4 hours and 30 minutes. When browsing the internet with WLAN, maximum battery life is still 3 hours and 28 minutes. This time frame is much more relevant than the battery life in idling, as it is more relevant for practical use than the maximum battery life. A DVD can still be watched for 3 hours in battery mode. Under full load, battery life is only 1 hour and 21 minutes.

The 80 watt power supply unit takes approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes to recharge the battery completely.

Battery runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
4h 30min
WiFi Surfing
3h 28min
DVD
3h 01min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 21min

Verdict

Fujitsu Lifebook AH532: Multimedia for a bargain
Fujitsu Lifebook AH532: Multimedia for a bargain

With the Lifebook AH532, Fujitsu offers a multimedia notebook for just under 600 Euros. What you get is a processor from Intel's latest generation and a graphics card which is perfectly sufficient if you play games only occasionally. 

Though the casing does not exactly comply with the highest quality standards, it is quite alright on the whole. Still, one has to get used to the glossy plastic surfaces. The display is a bit disappointing, which is why it is best to use the AH532 notebook indoors, as it is rather hard to see the display in the sunlight. 

The notebook's performance is perfectly sufficient for most day-to-day tasks, and those who do not ask for the highest quality in games may even use the notebooks for gaming. The temperatures and noise emissions are adequate for a multimedia notebook. The battery life is not extremely high; a nearby power point should always remain within reach. 

Altogether, Fujitsu offers a solid multimedia notebook with some minor flaws, which is still appealing due to its low price of under 600 Euros

 

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Specifications

Fujitsu Lifebook AH532

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel HM76 (Panther Point)
:: Memory
8192 MB, Micron Tech., DDR3-1600, max. 16 GByte, 2 benches
:: Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M LE - 2048 MB, Core: 405 MHz, Memory: 900 MHz, 8.17.15.9562, Optimus - Intel HD Graphics 4000
:: Display
15.6 inch , 1366x768 pixel, TN LED
:: Harddisk
Toshiba MK7575GSX, 750 GB 5400 rpm
:: Soundcard
Realtek ALC269
:: Connections
1 Express Card 34mm, 1 USB 2.0, 3 USB 3.0, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 2x Audio (headset and microphone),, Card Reader: 4-in-1 card reader (SD/MS/MSPro/MMC), Sensors: Stereo Speaker,
:: Networking
Realtek RTL8168/8111 Gigabit-LAN (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 (b g n ), Bluetooth Bluetooth
:: Optical drive
TSSTcorp CDDVDW SN-208AB
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 35 x 378 x 252
:: Weight
2.4 kg
:: Battery
48 Wh Lithium-Ion, 6 cells
:: Price
599 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: 1.3 Megapixel, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: no, Drivers & Utility DVD, Recovery DVD Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit, Office 2010 pre-installed (product key for activation needs to be purchased separately), Adobe Acrobat Reader, Nero Essentials S, Norton Internet Security, CyberLink YouCam, 12 Months Warranty

 

It is a bit cumbersome to take out the battery
Den Akku herauszulösen, ist allerdings etwas umständlich
The power supply unit is small and nice to handle.