Notebookcheck

Fujitsu LifeBook U938 (i5-8250U, LTE, SSD, FHD) Subnotebook Review

Sven Kloevekorn / Sascha Mölck (translated by Martin Jungowski), 07/11/2018

Lightweight luxury. Compared to its predecessor, the LifeBook U938 is slightly lighter. The biggest upgrade is the quad-core processor, but not much has changed otherwise. Battery life is still decent, but falls short in direct comparison with its biggest rivals.

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Fujitsu’s latest LifeBook U938 is a 13-inch business notebook that weighs just 920 g (2.03 lbs), and has been optimized for mobility and security as much as humanly possible. It includes special features like the touch-free palm vein sensor for secure authentication, and sold for around $1,500 at the time of writing. The U938 is the successor to last year’s U937, which at around 30 g (1.06 oz) more, was already one of the most lightweight 13-inch notebooks available.

Fujitsu is very clearly targeting business users with this particular notebook. In addition to the exclusive palm vein sensor the laptop also features a 4G/LTE modem with GPS, TPM 2.0, a smart card reader, and Windows 10 Pro with support for Bitlocker. Our test unit (U9380MP580DE) was equipped with Intel’s Core i5-8250U, 12 GB of RAM, a matte FHD IPS display, and a 256 GB large SSD. Those last items are flexible and the LTE modem is optional, otherwise all models are identical.

Its main competitors can be found in the land of lightweight premium business notebooks, and we focused mainly on format, target audience, and price. Some of these competitors lack the palm vein sensor, others the smart card reader or the WWAN modem. These are, however, either available on other SKUs, or can be retrofitted in some cases. Thus, we have picked the following business notebooks:

Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Graphics adapter
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Core: 300 - 1100 MHz, Dual-Channel, 22.20.16.4836
Memory
12288 MB 
, DDR4-2400, Dual-Channel, one slot (used), 4 GB soldered, max. 20 GB
Display
13.3 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 166 PPI, Sharp LQ133M1JW28, IPS, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Kaby Lake-U iHDCP 2.2 Premium PCH
Storage
Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN, 256 GB 
, 196 GB free
Soundcard
Realtek ALC255 @ Intel Sunrise Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm audio combo, Card Reader: SD/SDHC/SDXC, 1 SmartCard, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: Sierra Wireless Location Sensor, TPM 2.0
Networking
Intel Ethernet Connection I219-LM (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.2, LTE Sierra Wireless EM7455 (Cat. 6) / Downlink up to 300 MBit/s / Uplink up to 50 MBit/s, LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 15.5 x 309 x 212.5 ( = 0.61 x 12.17 x 8.37 in)
Battery
50 Wh, 3490 mAh Lithium-Ion, 4-cell, 14.4 V, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 13 h
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: HD 720p with status LED
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: no, Windows 10 Pro Recovery DVD, McAfee LiveSafe (trial version), WinZip 21.5 (trial version), 24 Months Warranty
Weight
920 g ( = 32.45 oz / 2.03 pounds), Power Supply: 373 g ( = 13.16 oz / 0.82 pounds)
Price
1769 EUR

 

Case

The very functional nonslip case features various status LEDs, and is mostly clad in a matte dotted Black. The only blur of color, so to speak, is the slightly roughened Gray (or Anthrazit) top case. According to Fujitsu, the case is made of aluminum, and the designers did not even bother to make it look like a unibody case. The only decorative elements on the entire case are the palm vein sensor, the status LEDs, a fine line that goes across the display lid at the top, and an asymmetric keyboard that is stretched further down on the right-hand side to accommodate the arrow keys.

Accordingly, it is impossible to guess the device’s high price based on looks alone. It becomes more obvious when one tries to warp the incredibly lightweight base - it was as stiff as a wooden plank and sizzled ever so slightly when we tried our best to warp and bend it. The very thin display lid, on the other hand, tells a very different story, and it turned out to be rather flexible and flimsy. That said, even our most violent attempts never led to distortions worth mentioning. While the display lid’s build quality was impeccable, the base unit’s was not - the gaps between the bottom tray and the top case were uneven, and even slightly protruding here and there.

Fujitsu LifeBook U938
Fujitsu LifeBook U938
Fujitsu LifeBook U938
Fujitsu LifeBook U938
Fujitsu LifeBook U938
Fujitsu LifeBook U938
Fujitsu LifeBook U938
Fujitsu LifeBook U938

We have removed Lenovo’s 14-inch candidate from our size comparison and are only including 12.5, 13.3, and 13.9-inch notebooks. The Fujitsu LifeBook U938’s very low weight is one of the most distinct features - even the incredibly lightweight ThinkPad X280 is significantly heavier. The MateBook X is the deepest of the pack, and at 14.6 mm (~.6 in) it is not particularly slim. Its footprint more or less equals our slightly wider yet also slightly less deep review unit, and the thickness was almost identical as well. The Lenovo ThinkPad’s footprint was slightly smaller, but it at 17.4 mm (~0.7 in) it was pretty thick. The smallest device was Dell’s XPS 13, however at 1.2 kg (~2.6 lb) it was on the heavier side.

Size Comparison

Connectivity

Despite its high price, the notebook lacks modern connectivity features such as Thunderbolt 3 or DisplayPort, but business users will most probably be content with what it has to offer. Three USB 3.1 Gen1 ports, one of which is USB Type-C, are available. One of the two remaining USB Type-A ports is equipped with Power Rate. External displays can be connected via HDMI, and an Ethernet port that needs to be pulled out and then flipped open is available as well. Given the slim case this was most probably the only way for Fujitsu to include one. All ports are strategically located towards the rear of the device on both sides.

Left: power in, HDMI, 2x USB 3.1 Gen1 (1x USB Type-C, 1x USB Type-A), audio combo jack, smart card reader
Left: power in, HDMI, 2x USB 3.1 Gen1 (1x USB Type-C, 1x USB Type-A), audio combo jack, smart card reader
Right: SIM slot, SD card reader, USB 3.1 Gen1 (Type-A), Ethernet (fold-out), Kensington lock
Right: SIM slot, SD card reader, USB 3.1 Gen1 (Type-A), Ethernet (fold-out), Kensington lock

SD Card Reader

An SD card reader’s performance depends mostly on the way it is connected, and fortunately none of the notebooks in our test group jangled our nerves with a slow USB 2.0 connection. The ThinkPad’s card reader is most probably connected via USB 3.0, the other competitors seem to feature PCIe-connected card readers. Our review unit’s card reader was unable to keep up with its PCIe-connected brethren, but was still fast enough for everyday use and more than twice as fast as the subnotebook average. As always, our benchmarks were performed using our 64 GB Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC UHS-II reference card.

SDCardreader Transfer Speed
average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
191.2 MB/s ∼100% +39%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 64 GB UHS-II)
180 MB/s ∼94% +31%
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
153 MB/s ∼80% +11%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
137.4 MB/s ∼72%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
  (Toshiba Excerie Pro M501)
76.8 MB/s ∼40% -44%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (8 - 186, n=89)
62.6 MB/s ∼33% -54%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
223.9 MB/s ∼100% +35%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 64 GB UHS-II)
204.9 MB/s ∼92% +24%
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
181.5 MB/s ∼81% +10%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
165.3 MB/s ∼74%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
  (Toshiba Excerie Pro M501)
86.1 MB/s ∼38% -48%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (17.7 - 251, n=89)
83.8 MB/s ∼37% -49%

Communication

The Wireless communication modules match Fujitsu’s claims of high mobility and portability. All things Wi-Fi are handled by the slightly aged yet tried and tested Intel Wireless-AC 8265 with 2x2 MIMO technology and Bluetooth 4.2. Its theoretical maximum bandwidth is 867 Mbps, and taking an overhead of roughly 200 Mbps into account, the LifeBook failed to meet our expectations (as did the Dell, by the way) when receiving data. When transmitting data, on the other hand, it turned out to be the fastest contender in our test group.

The optional 4G/LTE modem is a Sierra Wireless EM7455 (Cat. 6) card with GPS. Further information can be found here.

LTE modem (top), Wi-Fi modem (bottom)
LTE modem (top), Wi-Fi modem (bottom)
Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
678 MBit/s ∼100% +29%
Huawei Matebook X Pro i5
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
660 MBit/s ∼97% +26%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
634 MBit/s ∼94% +21%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
633 MBit/s ∼93% +21%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174
588 MBit/s ∼87% +12%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (71 - 950, n=71)
531 MBit/s ∼78% +1%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
525 MBit/s ∼77%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
667 MBit/s ∼100%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174
557 MBit/s ∼84% -16%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
525 MBit/s ∼79% -21%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (72 - 949, n=71)
516 MBit/s ∼77% -23%
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
515 MBit/s ∼77% -23%
Huawei Matebook X Pro i5
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
513 MBit/s ∼77% -23%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
511 MBit/s ∼77% -23%

Security

Security features include a smart card reader, a TPM 2.0 chip, and the Bitlocker hard disk encryption included in Windows 10 Pro.

Fujitsu’s touch-free palm secure authentication system deserves special attention. Instead of using biometric features such as face detection or a person’s fingerprint, it relies on vein detection. According to Fujitsu, a false positive is practically impossible. Further information can be found here.

Accessories

The box includes a quick start poster and a Windows 10 Pro Recovery DVD.

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Maintenance

The notebook lacks a dedicated maintenance flap, and accordingly the entire bottom shell has to be removed in order to access the internals. Fortunately, this process is very straightforward: after undoing a total of 12 screws the bottom cover pops right off.

Warranty

Despite the U938’s high price and its business ambitions, warranty is limited to just one year. Warranty extensions are obviously available at a premium.

Input Devices

Keyboard

The LifeBook’s chiclet keyboard features concave and slightly roughened keys with decent key travel and a very clear and precise accentuation point. We would have preferred a higher resistance, though. It is a mystery to us why Fujitsu has decided not to include a backlight at all - for us, a device such as this LifeBook should always come with keyboard backlight by default. All things considered the keyboard was more than decent.

Touchpad

At 9.2 x 4.7 cm (3.6 x 1.85 inches) the touchpad is large enough for gestures, which can be configured and enabled/disabled in the touchpad’s settings. The surface was very smooth and easy to use. Two dedicated mouse buttons are located underneath the touchpad. Their travel is rather short, but their accentuation point is very firm in return.

Input devices
Input devices

Display

Subpixel geometry
Subpixel geometry

Even though the LifeBook’s 13.3-inch FHD IPS display’s average maximum brightness is a very good 320 nits, most competitors are even brighter; especially the X1 Carbon with its Dolby Vision HDR display. Brightness distribution turned out to be below average but just barely so. Subjectively, the image seemed fine. Blacks were very uniform and homogenous, and we only noticed some minor screen bleeding along the bottom edge. An alternative to our review unit’s matte FHD panel is a glossy FHD touchscreen.

At brightness levels of 20% and below, the display exhibited PWM flickering at a frequency of just 217 Hz. Accordingly, it could cause headaches and eye strain for some people.

319
cd/m²
350
cd/m²
331
cd/m²
312
cd/m²
344
cd/m²
336
cd/m²
271
cd/m²
296
cd/m²
321
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 350 cd/m² Average: 320 cd/m² Minimum: 32 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 77 %
Center on Battery: 350 cd/m²
Contrast: 1110:1 (Black: 0.31 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 2.72 | 0.8-29.43 Ø6.3
ΔE Greyscale 2.74 | 0.64-98 Ø6.6
94% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 61% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.38
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
IPS, 1920x1080, 13.3
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
IPS LED, 1920x1080, 12.5
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
IPS, 1920x1080, 13.3
Huawei Matebook X Pro i5
IPS, 3000x2000, 13.9
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
IPS, 2560x1440, 14
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
IPS, 1920x1080, 13.3
Response Times
3%
88%
9%
-29%
13%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
43 (21, 22)
40 (22, 18)
7%
62.4 (32.4, 30)
-45%
40.4 (19.2, 21.2)
6%
59.2 (28.4, 30.8)
-38%
39.2 (20.4, 18.8)
9%
Response Time Black / White *
29 (16, 13)
29.6 (16.4, 13.2)
-2%
45.6 (24.4, 21.2)
-57%
25.6 (11.6, 14)
12%
34.4 (16.4, 18)
-19%
20 (9.2, 10.8)
31%
PWM Frequency
217 (20)
1008 (20)
365%
211.9 (20)
-2%
Screen
-30%
1%
-15%
27%
-11%
Brightness middle
344
344
0%
428
24%
442.7
29%
578
68%
353
3%
Brightness
320
313
-2%
405
27%
428
34%
533
67%
347
8%
Brightness Distribution
77
82
6%
87
13%
84
9%
84
9%
81
5%
Black Level *
0.31
0.25
19%
0.26
16%
0.31
-0%
0.38
-23%
0.33
-6%
Contrast
1110
1376
24%
1646
48%
1428
29%
1521
37%
1070
-4%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
2.72
4.7
-73%
3.8
-40%
2.24
18%
1.9
30%
3.5
-29%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
5.92
19.4
-228%
7.2
-22%
7.19
-21%
3.8
36%
6.9
-17%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
2.74
2.2
20%
4.4
-61%
9.7
-254%
3
-9%
4.9
-79%
Gamma
2.38 101%
2.16 111%
2.21 109%
1.42 169%
2.14 112%
2.21 109%
CCT
6794 96%
6252 104%
7067 92%
6227 104%
6377 102%
7136 91%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
61
41.2
-32%
62.8
3%
61.6
1%
88.8
46%
63.5
4%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
94
64.1
-32%
96.4
3%
95
1%
100
6%
98.1
4%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
1.11
0.8
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-14% / -24%
45% / 21%
-3% / -11%
-1% / 18%
1% / -6%

* ... smaller is better

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 217 Hz ≤ 20 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 217 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 20 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 217 Hz is relatively low, so sensitive users will likely notice flickering and experience eyestrain at the stated brightness setting and below.

In comparison: 54 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 10647 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 588200) Hz was measured.

A black level of 0.31 nits is nothing out of the ordinary in 2018, and two of its competitors were up to 19% darker while the X1 Carbon had the highest black level in our test group. Despite a very good contrast ratio of 1,110:1 the LifeBook ended up in the last place in this category. After all, contrast ratio is the ratio between black level and maximum brightness, and the competition was stronger in both respects.

When looking at professional photo editing, the most important characteristics of any display are color space coverage and color accuracy. The latter is measured as the so-called DeltaE deviation in comparison with a reference color, and DeltaE values of up to 3 are considered to be very accurate. When talking about color space coverage, one is usually looking at the smaller sRGB color space. And just like the Huawei and the Dell the LifeBook barely misses a full coverage thereof. The unchallenged king of the hill in this category is Lenovo’s X1 Carbon 2018, which covers 89% of the much bigger professional AdobeRGB color space. To compensate, the other Lenovo laptop did very poorly in this test. Thanks to the LifeBook’s almost ideal color temperature of close to 6,500K we failed to notice any tint whatsoever.

CalMAN grayscale
CalMAN grayscale
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN saturation
CalMAN saturation
vs. sRGB
vs. sRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. AdobeRGB

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
29 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 16 ms rise
↘ 13 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 67 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (25.9 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
43 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 21 ms rise
↘ 22 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 59 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (41.5 ms).

The LifeBook is equipped with an IPS panel with very wide viewing angles. Accordingly, the display can be read from even the most acute angles. Outdoor usability was somewhat limited, and we suggest staying out of the sun and in the shade.

Outdoors in direct sunlight
Outdoors in direct sunlight
Outdoors in direct sunlight with the sun behind the device
Outdoors in direct sunlight with the sun behind the device
Viewing angles (U937 with identical display pictured)
Viewing angles (U937 with identical display pictured)

Performance

The LifeBook U938 is a highly portable 13.3-inch business notebook with sufficient computing power for everyday office and internet tasks. At the time of writing, our review unit sold for around $1,500, and other SKUs were available as well.

 

Processor

The microprocessor that Fujitsu has chosen is Intel’s Core i5-8250U (4x 1.6 - 3.4 GHz) ULV quad-core CPU with support for Hyper-Threading (two simultaneous threads per core) and a TDP of 15 W. It is a member of Intel’s Kaby Lake Refresh family first introduced in August of 2017, and its immediate Kaby Lake predecessor is the very widely used Core i5-7200U dual-core (2x 2.5 - 3.1 GHz, Hyper-Threading, 15 W TDP).

Thanks to double the amount of cores and higher turbo boost rates the new processor is up to 40% faster. However, its benefits are somewhat limited in mere office workloads. Whether or not turbo boost can be applied for prolonged periods of time as well as the actual turbo boost frequency depends much more on the cooling solution than it did with the more consistent previous generation dual-cores. In an ideal world, applications such as Lightroom CC Classic should be running noticeably smoother on four cores than on two.

In our Cinebench R15 multi-thread benchmark the processor starts out at between 2.5 - 2.7 GHz for a few seconds but quickly drops to 2.3 - 2.4 GHz. Our single-thread benchmarks were completed at between 2.9 and 3.4 GHz. The notebook behaved exactly the same on battery and on mains.

Single-thread
Single-thread
Multi-thread
Multi-thread
Intel XTU
Intel XTU

We run Cinebench’s multi-thread test in a 30-minute loop in order to determine a device’s turbo boost capabilities. Scores drop after the first iteration already, but remain very consistent afterwards. While turbo boost is applied throughout the entire duration of the test, it is not applied to its full extent.

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Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit

Looking at the data in our database, we can see that Fujitsu certainly was not trying to push the processor to new record highs. Even the first run of Cinebench R15 remained slightly below the overall CPU average of 577 points, and identically equipped competitors like the Dell XPS 13 9370 or the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon performed much better. The same could be observed for long-term load. In other words: the Dell and the Lenovo offer more performance than the LifeBook over long periods of time.

Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
8713
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
16424
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
5519
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
40.11 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
5.63 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.63 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
97.8 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
45.94 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
529 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
144 Points
Help
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
Intel Core i7-8550U
168 Points ∼100% +17%
Huawei Matebook X Pro i5
Intel Core i5-8250U
146 Points ∼87% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
Intel Core i5-8250U
145 Points ∼86% +1%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
Intel Core i5-8250U
144 Points ∼86% 0%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Intel Core i5-8250U
144 Points ∼86%
Average Intel Core i5-8250U
  (81 - 147, n=65)
140 Points ∼83% -3%
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
Intel Core i5-7200U
122 Points ∼73% -15%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (20 - 169, n=220)
109 Points ∼65% -24%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
Intel Core i7-8550U (undervolted)
708 Points ∼100% +34%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
Intel Core i7-8550U
648 Points ∼92% +22%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
Intel Core i5-8250U
684 Points ∼97% +29%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
Intel Core i5-8250U
669 Points ∼94% +26%
Average Intel Core i5-8250U
  (320 - 730, n=68)
576 Points ∼81% +9%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Intel Core i5-8250U
529 Points ∼75%
Huawei Matebook X Pro i5
Intel Core i5-8250U
516 Points ∼73% -2%
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
Intel Core i5-7200U
324 Points ∼46% -39%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (32 - 721, n=221)
287 Points ∼41% -46%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit
Huawei Matebook X Pro i5
Intel Core i5-8250U
1.66 Points ∼100% +2%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Intel Core i5-8250U
1.63 Points ∼98%
Average Intel Core i5-8250U
  (0.91 - 1.79, n=26)
1.611 Points ∼97% -1%
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
Intel Core i5-7200U
1.36 Points ∼82% -17%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (0.09 - 1.9, n=261)
1.137 Points ∼68% -30%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Average Intel Core i5-8250U
  (3.15 - 7.76, n=26)
6.11 Points ∼100% +9%
Huawei Matebook X Pro i5
Intel Core i5-8250U
5.8 Points ∼95% +3%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Intel Core i5-8250U
5.63 Points ∼92%
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
Intel Core i5-7200U
3.5 Points ∼57% -38%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (0.33 - 7.17, n=400)
2.47 Points ∼40% -56%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single 32Bit
Average Intel Core i5-8250U
  (5349 - 8356, n=34)
5652 Points ∼100% +2%
Huawei Matebook X Pro i5
Intel Core i5-8250U
5552 Points ∼98% +1%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Intel Core i5-8250U
5519 Points ∼98%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (322 - 6418, n=443)
3064 Points ∼54% -44%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
Average Intel Core i5-8250U
  (14148 - 22097, n=34)
18392 Points ∼100% +12%
Huawei Matebook X Pro i5
Intel Core i5-8250U
16904 Points ∼92% +3%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Intel Core i5-8250U
16424 Points ∼89%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (661 - 20773, n=425)
6737 Points ∼37% -59%
Geekbench 3
32 Bit Multi-Core Score
Average Intel Core i5-8250U
  (10893 - 13553, n=15)
12621 Points ∼100% +16%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Intel Core i5-8250U
10893 Points ∼86%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1018 - 13194, n=64)
5408 Points ∼43% -50%
32 Bit Single-Core Score
Average Intel Core i5-8250U
  (3158 - 3503, n=15)
3293 Points ∼100% 0%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Intel Core i5-8250U
3288 Points ∼100%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (592 - 3943, n=64)
2449 Points ∼74% -26%
Geekbench 4.0
64 Bit Multi-Core Score
Average Intel Core i5-8250U
  (10751 - 13486, n=16)
12160 Points ∼100% +13%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Intel Core i5-8250U
10751 Points ∼88%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (2529 - 13251, n=21)
6787 Points ∼56% -37%
64 Bit Single-Core Score
Average Intel Core i5-8250U
  (3958 - 4232, n=16)
4070 Points ∼100% 0%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Intel Core i5-8250U
4066 Points ∼100%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1179 - 4603, n=21)
3306 Points ∼81% -19%
Geekbench 4.1/4.2
64 Bit Multi-Core Score
Average Intel Core i5-8250U
  (11269 - 14228, n=18)
12754 Points ∼100% +13%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Intel Core i5-8250U
11269 Points ∼88%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (2593 - 13897, n=11)
8349 Points ∼65% -26%
64 Bit Single-Core Score
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Intel Core i5-8250U
4185 Points ∼100%
Average Intel Core i5-8250U
  (3981 - 4330, n=18)
4153 Points ∼99% -1%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1529 - 4786, n=11)
3534 Points ∼84% -16%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score
Average of class Subnotebook
  (797 - 30250, n=117)
2182 ms * ∼100% -68%
Huawei Matebook X Pro i5
Intel Core i5-8250U (Edge 41.16299.402.0)
1356 ms * ∼62% -4%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Intel Core i5-8250U (Edge 42)
1297.7 ms * ∼59%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
Intel Core i5-8250U (Edge)
1247.6 ms * ∼57% +4%
Average Intel Core i5-8250U
  (1005 - 1357, n=34)
1185 ms * ∼54% +9%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
Intel Core i5-8250U (Edge 41.15399.15.0)
1064.7 ms * ∼49% +18%
Octane V2 - Total Score
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
Intel Core i5-8250U (Edge 41.15399.15.0)
34196 Points ∼100% +11%
Average Intel Core i5-8250U
  (22930 - 35817, n=34)
31063 Points ∼91% +1%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Intel Core i5-8250U (Edge 42)
30794 Points ∼90%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
Intel Core i5-8250U (Edge)
30696 Points ∼90% 0%
Huawei Matebook X Pro i5
Intel Core i5-8250U (Edge 41.16299.402.0)
27037 Points ∼79% -12%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (3963 - 41665, n=109)
23746 Points ∼69% -23%
JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
Intel Core i5-8250U (Edge 41.15399.15.0)
241.1 Points ∼100% +7%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Intel Core i5-8250U (Edge 42)
224.76 Points ∼93%
Average Intel Core i5-8250U
  (155 - 256, n=55)
221 Points ∼92% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
Intel Core i5-8250U (Edge)
219.99 Points ∼91% -2%
Huawei Matebook X Pro i5
Intel Core i5-8250U (Edge 41.16299.402.0)
212.9 Points ∼88% -5%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (34.8 - 277, n=96)
182 Points ∼75% -19%

* ... smaller is better

System Performance

By and large, the system was very smooth and fast, and we did not encounter any problems. The notebook offered more than enough processing power for the most common use cases. Our PCMark benchmark results were very high, however they were trailing behind the identically equipped Dell XPS 13 9370 and Lenovo ThinkPad X280 for two reasons: first, the CPUs in these two ran faster; and second, both were equipped with fast NVMe SSDs.

PCMark 10
PCMark 10
PCMark 7 Score
5479 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3676 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
4427 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4747 points
Help
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
4906 Points ∼100% +3%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ-000L7
4868 Points ∼99% +3%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
4747 Points ∼97%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ-000L7
4664 Points ∼95% -2%
Average Intel Core i5-8250U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (2699 - 5106, n=39)
4660 Points ∼95% -2%
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Samsung CM871a MZNTY256HDHP
4538 Points ∼92% -4%
Huawei Matebook X Pro i5
GeForce MX150, 8250U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
4339 Points ∼88% -9%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1283 - 5363, n=166)
3923 Points ∼80% -17%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
3994 Points ∼100% +9%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ-000L7
3752 Points ∼94% +2%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
3676 Points ∼92%
Average Intel Core i5-8250U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (3076 - 4458, n=46)
3624 Points ∼91% -1%
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Samsung CM871a MZNTY256HDHP
3601 Points ∼90% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ-000L7
3574 Points ∼89% -3%
Huawei Matebook X Pro i5
GeForce MX150, 8250U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
3478 Points ∼87% -5%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1027 - 4182, n=190)
2972 Points ∼74% -19%
PCMark 10
Digital Content Creation
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ-000L7
3062 Points ∼100% +13%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
3058 Points ∼100% +13%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ-000L7
3048 Points ∼100% +12%
Average Intel Core i5-8250U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (2006 - 3082, n=42)
2773 Points ∼91% +2%
Huawei Matebook X Pro i5
GeForce MX150, 8250U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
2735 Points ∼89% +1%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
2711 Points ∼89%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (729 - 3058, n=36)
2172 Points ∼71% -20%
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Samsung CM871a MZNTY256HDHP
1587 Points ∼52% -41%
Productivity
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ-000L7
6727 Points ∼100% +11%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ-000L7
6529 Points ∼97% +7%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
6079 Points ∼90%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
5926 Points ∼88% -3%
Average Intel Core i5-8250U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (3851 - 6653, n=42)
5760 Points ∼86% -5%
Huawei Matebook X Pro i5
GeForce MX150, 8250U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
5727 Points ∼85% -6%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1690 - 6729, n=36)
4758 Points ∼71% -22%
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Samsung CM871a MZNTY256HDHP
3496 Points ∼52% -42%
Essentials
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
7988 Points ∼100% +12%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ-000L7
7849 Points ∼98% +10%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ-000L7
7845 Points ∼98% +10%
Average Intel Core i5-8250U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (5855 - 9289, n=42)
7305 Points ∼91% +2%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
7149 Points ∼89%
Huawei Matebook X Pro i5
GeForce MX150, 8250U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
7083 Points ∼89% -1%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (3092 - 8549, n=36)
6288 Points ∼79% -12%
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Samsung CM871a MZNTY256HDHP
5197 Points ∼65% -27%
Score
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ-000L7
3905 Points ∼100% +11%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ-000L7
3860 Points ∼99% +10%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
3764 Points ∼96% +7%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
3514 Points ∼90%
Huawei Matebook X Pro i5
GeForce MX150, 8250U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
3445 Points ∼88% -2%
Average Intel Core i5-8250U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (2208 - 4081, n=42)
3292 Points ∼84% -6%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1150 - 3860, n=39)
2911 Points ∼75% -17%
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Samsung CM871a MZNTY256HDHP
2198 Points ∼56% -37%

Storage Devices

The 256 GB large M.2-2280 SATA III SSD is made by Micron, and it offered 196 GB of usable space out of the box with the rest shared between the recovery partition and the Windows installation. Transfer rates were solid. Alternatively, the LifeBook can also be purchased with an NVMe SSD, which should allow for much higher transfer rates than a SATA III SSD thanks to its PCIe 3.0 x4 connection.

Fujitsu chose a SATA III SSD
Fujitsu chose a SATA III SSD
Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
Sequential Read: 464.9 MB/s
Sequential Write: 401 MB/s
512K Read: 320.2 MB/s
512K Write: 335.2 MB/s
4K Read: 26.45 MB/s
4K Write: 79.77 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 246.5 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 277.2 MB/s
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ-000L7
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ-000L7
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
Samsung CM871a MZNTY256HDHP
Average Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
 
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
242%
78%
169%
13%
-6%
Write 4k QD32
277.2
645.6
133%
339.86
23%
439.73
59%
253.6
-9%
228 (123 - 300, n=20)
-18%
Read 4k QD32
246.5
387.9
57%
381.77
55%
340.74
38%
392.8
59%
225 (149 - 248, n=20)
-9%
Write 4k
79.77
129.4
62%
127.49
60%
132.93
67%
90.48
13%
79.8 (62.4 - 102, n=20)
0%
Read 4k
26.45
59.27
124%
34.18
29%
60.58
129%
34.85
32%
24.6 (14 - 28.3, n=20)
-7%
Write 512
335.2
1864
456%
353.88
6%
1272.32
280%
228.5
-32%
312 (157 - 447, n=20)
-7%
Read 512
320.2
1751
447%
839.63
162%
419.29
31%
385.1
20%
314 (249 - 360, n=20)
-2%
Write Seq
401
1236
208%
352.7
-12%
1807.6
351%
462.3
15%
373 (165 - 458, n=20)
-7%
Read Seq
464.9
2535
445%
1875.2
303%
2326.8
400%
508.9
9%
465 (413 - 490, n=20)
0%

GPU Performance

Intel’s integrated UHD Graphics 620 GPU is in charge of display output. It supports DirectX 12 and runs at between 300 and 1,100 MHz. 3DMark benchmark scores were at a level expected of this particular GPU. Nevertheless, they were slightly slower than competitors equipped with the same CPU/GPU combo. The GPU benefitted from the fact that the laptop’s RAM was running in dual-channel mode, which allowed for a slightly higher GPU performance.

3DMark 06 Standard
9851 points
3DMark 11 Performance
1795 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
8143 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
1073 points
Help
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Huawei Matebook X Pro i5
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, Intel Core i5-8250U
3483 Points ∼100% +110%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8550U
1901 Points ∼55% +15%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
1821 Points ∼52% +10%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
1776 Points ∼51% +7%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
1657 Points ∼48%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (1366 - 1915, n=75)
1654 Points ∼47% 0%
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
1481 Points ∼43% -11%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (230 - 4191, n=310)
1123 Points ∼32% -32%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Huawei Matebook X Pro i5
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, Intel Core i5-8250U
2740 Points ∼100% +134%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8550U
1283 Points ∼47% +10%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
1197 Points ∼44% +2%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
1169 Points ∼43%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
1100 Points ∼40% -6%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (819 - 1336, n=66)
1063 Points ∼39% -9%
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
935 Points ∼34% -20%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (222 - 3389, n=197)
894 Points ∼33% -24%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Huawei Matebook X Pro i5
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, Intel Core i5-8250U
16553 Points ∼100% +78%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8550U
10123 Points ∼61% +9%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
9711 Points ∼59% +5%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
9291 Points ∼56%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (6910 - 10493, n=68)
8636 Points ∼52% -7%
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
8191 Points ∼49% -12%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1484 - 18946, n=219)
6700 Points ∼40% -28%

Gaming Performance

The LifeBook U938 is certainly capable of running a few games smoothly. However, these are limited to less demanding games and require reduced resolutions and details. Thanks to dual-channel mode, frame rates were higher than on competitors that were running in single-channel mode. That said, demanding games like “Far Cry 5” are still a no-go.

low med. high ultra
Tomb Raider (2013) 89.94526.812.3fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 57.929.825.28.6fps
Rainbow Six Siege (2015) 28.216.1fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 18.912.26.53.9fps
Farming Simulator 17 (2016) 54.418.8fps

Emissions

System Noise

System noise
System noise

When idle, the fan was off most of the time and thus the system was completely silent. It revved up moderately under load, and reached a sound pressure level of 33 dB(A) during our stress test and 33.7 dB(A) under medium load.

Unfortunately, the fan emitted a whistling noise when active. It was certainly bearable yet it is unacceptable for a notebook at this price point, especially considering that its predecessor, the LifeBook U937, was plagued by the very same issue.

Noise Level

Idle
30.4 / 30.4 / 30.4 dB(A)
Load
33.7 / 33 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 30.4 dB(A)
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2033.333.232.233.733.3253636.935.334.136313937.737.935.7394037.132.134.930.537.15032.734.134.537.632.76331.327.929.328.731.38029.926.926.826.229.910026.626.3262626.612528.425.726.326.728.41602523.924.524.8252002323.523.723.62325022.722.82323.222.731522.521.721.522.622.540022.122.722.122.722.150021.120.620.32021.163020.720.719.419.320.780020.520.418.818.720.5100020.819.918.318.120.8125020.52018.31820.5160022.521.51817.922.5200022.821.918.11822.8250023.1221817.923.1315022.822.118.218.222.8400022.12118.418.522.1500021.12018.718.621.1630020.219.718.818.720.2800019.719.61918.919.71000019.519.419.11919.51250019.319.419.219.119.31600019.519.519.519.419.5SPL33.833313133.8N1.81.71.41.41.8median 22.1Fujitsu Lifebook U938median 21median 19.1median 19median 22.1Delta1.21.11.71.91.23232.332.132.132.533.63029.730.233.735.633.933.533.933.432.531.434.13133.229.428.127.82930.228.725.926.626.626.224.725.125.325.426.825.923.923.924.525.924.123.122.623.82522.721.822.422.824.822.12222.321.721.320.822.221.121.121.12120.120.320.421.622.421.320.218.720.423.121.720.818.320.222.620.519.617.62124.221.720.21720.125.523.421.817.420.927.324.521.316.321.127.124.321.31621.629.526.523.41622.229.726.723.91623.129.727.223.716.422.429.32727.416.72329.928.723.91720.727.122.519.517.118.923.921.419.217.618.622.72018.317.717.920.218.518.217.817.618.717.917.717.517.639.737.234.829.233.43.12.521.21.9median 24.1Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00median 22.2median 21.3median 17.6median 21.12.51.61.51.41.233.136.830.134.236.329.228.629.529.730.133.429.529.530.23431.628.927.23032.539.638.427.927.540.927.226.426.626.82823.725.825.124.925.725.827.323.823.826.523.623.822.8232521.622.422.721.921.721.92222.721.721.721.521.621.32121.822.220.621.219.520.120.319.819.919.119.921.619.819.918.220.22219.62018.219.722.119.719.217.319.724.520.42017.320.225.320.419.616.720.225.921.520.41619.626.821.120.115.620.227.120.919.215.919.927.721.618.916.11927.22018.116.4182618.417.716.517.622.818.317.716.917.620.117.617.417.117.318.417.517.517.117.317.617.417.417.117.217.117.117.11717.137.332.231.229.131.32.51.71.51.21.5median 22.2Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5median 20.4median 19.9median 17.1median 19.92.81.61.31.51.733.531.734.833.829.53130.329.534.130.935.432.630.129.630.329.330.53026.632.626.92625.825.125.126.524.725.12525.423.925.425.223.324.823.92321.824.122.422.521.423.921.621.320.521.8202020.320.119.919.318.918.21919.918.917.31821.319.31717.620.118.816.516.92320.616.516.42220.615.81623.621.815.715.924.922.815.41622.820.415.515.727.722.41616.123.219.916.216.421.919.416.716.820.318.51717.119.218.217.217.318.217.817.417.517.817.717.317.417.917.817.217.235.132.528.9292.11.71.21.2median 21.9Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900median 20.3median 17.2median 17.31.91.41.81.7hearing rangehide median Fan Noise
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
8250U, UHD Graphics 620
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
8250U, UHD Graphics 620
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
8250U, UHD Graphics 620
Huawei Matebook X Pro i5
8250U, GeForce MX150
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
8550U, UHD Graphics 620
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
7200U, HD Graphics 620
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
 
Average of class Subnotebook
 
Noise
-4%
1%
-2%
-0%
-2%
-0%
-3%
off / environment *
30.4
29.2
4%
29.1
4%
27.9
8%
28.9
5%
30.8
-1%
29.4 (27.8 - 30.5, n=75)
3%
30 (27.6 - 31.6, n=92)
1%
Idle Minimum *
30.4
29.2
4%
29.1
4%
27.9
8%
28.9
5%
30.8
-1%
29.5 (27.8 - 32, n=75)
3%
29.6 (27.9 - 37.6, n=559)
3%
Idle Average *
30.4
29.2
4%
29.1
4%
27.9
8%
28.9
5%
30.8
-1%
29.5 (27.8 - 33.8, n=75)
3%
30.4 (27.9 - 48.5, n=559)
-0%
Idle Maximum *
30.4
29.2
4%
29.1
4%
27.9
8%
32.5
-7%
31.1
-2%
30.1 (27.8 - 34.2, n=75)
1%
31 (27.9 - 44.2, n=559)
-2%
Load Average *
33.7
39.7
-18%
32.2
4%
36.2
-7%
35.1
-4%
32.3
4%
34 (28.5 - 44.4, n=75)
-1%
34.1 (30.2 - 49.7, n=558)
-1%
Load Maximum *
33
39.7
-20%
37.3
-13%
45.2
-37%
35.1
-6%
35.7
-8%
36.6 (31 - 45.9, n=75)
-11%
39 (30.2 - 53.8, n=559)
-18%
Witcher 3 ultra *
45

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

LifeBook during our stress test
LifeBook during our stress test

Our stress test (at least one hour of Prime95 and FurMark simultaneously) was completed the same on both battery and mains. For the first 10 minutes of the test, CPU and GPU ran at 1.9 - 2.0 and 600 MHz, respectively. After that, the CPU was throttled down to 1.3 GHz, and the GPU actually accelerated to 800 MHz. Later on, the system returned to its initial clock speeds.

The system remained comparatively cool by and large. We found just one single hot spot of more than 40 °C (~104 °F) during our stress test, and most competitors got somewhat warmer in this test. Keep in mind that our stress test is an unrealistic extreme load scenario which rarely ever occurs in everyday use. We run it in order to detect bottlenecks and test a system’s stability under maximum load.

Max. Load
 38.8 °C
102 F
39.3 °C
103 F
30.9 °C
88 F
 
 28.3 °C
83 F
34 °C
93 F
27.2 °C
81 F
 
 26.1 °C
79 F
26 °C
79 F
24.9 °C
77 F
 
Maximum: 39.3 °C = 103 F
Average: 30.6 °C = 87 F
28.1 °C
83 F
43.1 °C
110 F
39.8 °C
104 F
25 °C
77 F
32 °C
90 F
27.6 °C
82 F
24.9 °C
77 F
26.1 °C
79 F
26.6 °C
80 F
Maximum: 43.1 °C = 110 F
Average: 30.4 °C = 87 F
Power Supply (max.)  25 °C = 77 F | Room Temperature 22.4 °C = 72 F | FIRT 550-Pocket
Heatmap top (load)
Heatmap top (load)
Heatmap bottom (load)
Heatmap bottom (load)
Heatmap top (idle)
Heatmap top (idle)
Heatmap bottom (idle)
Heatmap bottom (idle)
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
8250U, UHD Graphics 620
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
8250U, UHD Graphics 620
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
8250U, UHD Graphics 620
Huawei Matebook X Pro i5
8250U, GeForce MX150
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
8550U, UHD Graphics 620
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
7200U, HD Graphics 620
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
 
Average of class Subnotebook
 
Heat
-1%
-1%
-17%
-7%
-3%
-6%
-17%
Maximum Upper Side *
39.3
43.2
-10%
44.2
-12%
48.6
-24%
52.6
-34%
43.4
-10%
41.9 (32.6 - 52.6, n=75)
-7%
40.9 (28.4 - 57, n=560)
-4%
Maximum Bottom *
43.1
43.1
-0%
45.5
-6%
47
-9%
48.2
-12%
41.6
3%
44.6 (32.7 - 57.8, n=75)
-3%
43.5 (24.3 - 66.2, n=560)
-1%
Idle Upper Side *
25.4
24.8
2%
24.1
5%
28.6
-13%
23.6
7%
26.5
-4%
26.7 (21.4 - 38, n=74)
-5%
29.9 (22 - 42, n=483)
-18%
Idle Bottom *
25.6
24.1
6%
23.2
9%
30.8
-20%
23
10%
26
-2%
27.4 (22.3 - 36, n=74)
-7%
36.8 (21.6 - 2625, n=483)
-44%

* ... smaller is better

Speakers

Pink Noise
Pink Noise

The downward-firing stereo speakers are located at the front of the device. They sounded very tinny and lacked bass, and we highly recommend using headphones or external speakers instead.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs203533.7352539.134.139.13141.735.741.74039.930.539.95033.837.633.86330.728.730.78030.726.230.710027.52627.512526.726.726.716025.124.825.120024.823.624.825026.423.226.431530.322.630.340034.522.734.550046.12046.163049.719.349.780057.718.757.7100061.818.161.8125063.81863.8160064.617.964.6200066.21866.2250068.117.968.1315072.118.272.1400073.418.573.4500073.618.673.6630068.818.768.8800064.118.964.11000062.81962.81250060.619.160.61600069.119.469.1SPL80.73180.7N39.21.439.2median 61.8Fujitsu Lifebook U938median 19median 61.8Delta15.81.915.827.735.928.53231.136.929.132.531.627.725.82624.525.624.127.422.232.522.842.721.750.220.854.819.756.618.6581864.217.262.316.870.11871.316.263.815.958.71662.415.961.816.161.816.461.116.966.81764.417.362.117.459.417.356.717.257.329.176.81.239.4median 17.3Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00median 61.11.64.334.230.529.729.430.228.43028.227.529.126.82824.925.723.832.12335.121.948.621.752.62157.419.558.119.158.718.262.718.26517.371.917.371.816.772.11672.615.672.715.968.616.168.916.465.916.571.616.973.717.172.617.167.217.163.71755.329.182.81.255.8median 17.1Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5median 65.91.58.638.938.234.935.833.834.932.93433.332.431.833.330.936.931.841.830.146.327.854.327.65927.364.326.468.625.370.624.773.324.566.32462.623.668.223.466.62367.52367.122.966.7236222.764.622.658.922.660.522.663.222.655.422.553.222.546.235.5782.545median 23.4Huawei Matebook X Pro i5median 63.22.35.734.83330.328.135.438.130.332.226.631.825.827.624.725.123.926.524.833.424.141.923.94821.85120.155.318.261.117.366.61770.316.578.416.57515.868.915.770.615.467.615.569.21672.916.268.616.7701771.217.272.217.470.917.365.817.256.228.983.61.258.7median 17.2Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900median 68.61.88.6hearing rangehide median Pink Noise
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
Fujitsu Lifebook U938 audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (73.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 35% lower than median
(+) | bass is linear (4.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | reduced mids - on average 8.6% lower than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (10.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 7.2% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (6.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(-) | overall sound is not linear (34.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 95% of all tested devices in this class were better, 2% similar, 3% worse
» The best had a delta of 9%, average was 19%, worst was 47%
Compared to all devices tested
» 95% of all tested devices were better, 1% similar, 3% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00 audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (76.8 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 17% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (11.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 4.1% away from median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (9.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 1.9% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (15.6% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 30% of all tested devices in this class were better, 12% similar, 58% worse
» The best had a delta of 9%, average was 19%, worst was 47%
Compared to all devices tested
» 19% of all tested devices were better, 4% similar, 77% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (82.8 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 18.6% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (11.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.3% higher than median
(+) | mids are linear (3.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.9% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (6.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (17.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 46% of all tested devices in this class were better, 6% similar, 48% worse
» The best had a delta of 9%, average was 19%, worst was 47%
Compared to all devices tested
» 27% of all tested devices were better, 6% similar, 66% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Huawei Matebook X Pro i5 audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (73.27 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 9.7% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (13.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 4.7% away from median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (7.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3% away from median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (9.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (15.7% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 33% of all tested devices in this class were better, 11% similar, 56% worse
» The best had a delta of 9%, average was 19%, worst was 47%
Compared to all devices tested
» 20% of all tested devices were better, 4% similar, 77% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (83.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 25.9% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (9.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.8% away from median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (9% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2.1% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (18.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 35% of all tested devices in this class were better, 10% similar, 54% worse
» The best had a delta of 8%, average was 20%, worst was 51%
Compared to all devices tested
» 33% of all tested devices were better, 6% similar, 61% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Power consumption was inconspicuous. When idle, the U938’s maximum power consumption was measured at 6 W, and the only competitor capable of keeping up was Dell's XPS 13 9370. Lenovo’s ThinkPads required more energy. Under medium and full load the U938 remained more efficient than its competitors, mainly because their respective CPUs and GPUs were running faster. The power supply is rated at 65 W.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.14 / 0.31 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 2.4 / 5.5 / 6 Watt
Load midlight 31 / 32.6 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
8250U, UHD Graphics 620
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
8250U, UHD Graphics 620
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
8250U, UHD Graphics 620
Huawei Matebook X Pro i5
8250U, GeForce MX150
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
8550U, UHD Graphics 620
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
7200U, HD Graphics 620
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
 
Average of class Subnotebook
 
Power Consumption
-32%
-21%
-70%
-66%
-10%
-34%
-82%
Idle Minimum *
2.4
3.11
-30%
3.14
-31%
3.5
-46%
3.8
-58%
3.11
-30%
3.76 (2 - 8.5, n=76)
-57%
6.91 (1 - 36, n=545)
-188%
Idle Average *
5.5
5.01
9%
5.22
5%
8.9
-62%
8.9
-62%
6.1
-11%
6.96 (4.3 - 11.8, n=76)
-27%
10.1 (2.06 - 39, n=545)
-84%
Idle Maximum *
6
8.11
-35%
6
-0%
12.3
-105%
11.9
-98%
6.75
-13%
8.52 (5.2 - 13.1, n=76)
-42%
12.4 (3.9 - 55, n=545)
-107%
Load Average *
31
44.6
-44%
38.5
-24%
54.2
-75%
47.5
-53%
28.9
7%
35.7 (19.8 - 51.1, n=76)
-15%
33.2 (6.3 - 75, n=535)
-7%
Load Maximum *
32.6
51.7
-59%
50.4
-55%
52.1
-60%
52.5
-61%
33.3
-2%
42.1 (22 - 71.2, n=76)
-29%
40.1 (7.6 - 111, n=538)
-23%
Witcher 3 ultra *
42.4

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

In our real-world Wi-Fi test, the LifeBook lasted for 8:26 hours. We simulate typical load while browsing the web. The energy plan is set to “Balanced”, and display brightness is normalized to 150 nits. In our video test, it lasted for 7:13 hours. In this test, we evaluate video playback by running the short film Big Buck Bunny (H.265, 1920x1080) in a loop with all communication modules disabled, energy saving features enabled, and display brightness normalized at 150 nits.

All in all, the LifeBook’s battery life was decent. However, it did significantly worse than its own predecessor with the exact same battery. Even the Lenovo ThinkPad X280 and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018 ran longer than the LifeBook. The device with the longest battery life by far was Dell's XPS 13 9370.

Battery with a capacity of 50 Wh
Battery with a capacity of 50 Wh
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
19h 27min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3 (Edge 42)
8h 26min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
7h 13min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 03min
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
8250U, UHD Graphics 620, 50 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
8250U, UHD Graphics 620, 50 Wh
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
8250U, UHD Graphics 620, 52 Wh
Huawei Matebook X Pro i5
8250U, GeForce MX150, 57.4 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
8550U, UHD Graphics 620, 57 Wh
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
7200U, HD Graphics 620, 50 Wh
Average of class Subnotebook
 
Battery Runtime
10%
34%
8%
9%
31%
-15%
Reader / Idle
1167
1212
4%
1417
21%
1243
7%
1328
14%
1152
-1%
591 (87 - 2557, n=521)
-49%
H.264
433
572
32%
831
92%
566
31%
714
65%
446 (182 - 899, n=94)
3%
WiFi v1.3
506
531
5%
644
27%
557
10%
519
3%
654
29%
453 (206 - 764, n=160)
-10%
Load
123
119
-3%
119
-3%
133
8%
106
-14%
161
31%
121 (40 - 327, n=526)
-2%

Verdict

Pros

+ matte IPS panel
+ FHD resolution
+ SSD
+ small and lightweight
+ easy maintenance
+ LTE modem
+ decent battery life

Cons

- fan makes a squealing sound
- no NVMe SSD
- very flimsy display lid
- no keyboard backlight
Fujitsu LifeBook U938. Review unit courtesy of Fujitsu Germany.
Fujitsu LifeBook U938. Review unit courtesy of Fujitsu Germany.

The LifeBook U938’s main selling point is certainly its tiny and lightweight case. At just slightly under 1 kg (~2.2 lb) it practically outclasses its Dell and Lenovo competition. The Core i5-8250U that the LifeBook is equipped with offers plenty of oomph for all common use cases. However, just like many of its identically equipped competitors, it is incapable of fully utilizing the processor’s theoretical potential. At least the competition offers slightly higher clock speeds and thus also an overall higher level of performance.

The system was fast and responsive thanks to its SSD, which can be swapped for a larger or faster model by disassembling the device and removing the bottom cover. Considering the laptop’s price point we would have expected an NVMe SSD instead of the SATA III SSD Fujitsu has opted for.

The LifeBook U938 is a very lightweight and compact subnotebook. However, we find it immensely hard to process why Fujitsu has decided to ignore its critics and carried the predecessor’s weaknesses over instead of fixing them once and for all.

The keyboard was pretty solid by and large, but we mourn the lack of a keyboard backlight. Battery life was decent yet shorter than on most competitors. At least the integrated 4G/LTE modem allowed for mobile connectivity on the road.

The matte IPS display was very bright, offered a decent contrast ratio, wide viewing angles, and a fairly decent color accuracy out of the box. Nevertheless, the display is one of the LifeBook’s biggest weaknesses. It flexes and warps very easily, and is thus always at risk of accidental damage. We also did not like the U938’s fan as it emitted a whistling sound every time it was spinning. This should not happen on a notebook at the LifeBook’s price point.

Fujitsu Lifebook U938 - 06/29/2018 v6
Sven Kloevekorn / Sascha Mölck

Chassis
91 /  98 → 92%
Keyboard
82%
Pointing Device
81%
Connectivity
63 / 80 → 79%
Weight
76 / 35-78 → 96%
Battery
90%
Display
90%
Games Performance
57 / 68 → 84%
Application Performance
88 / 87 → 100%
Temperature
93 / 91 → 100%
Noise
91%
Audio
62 / 91 → 68%
Camera
35 / 85 → 42%
Average
77%
89%
Subnotebook - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Fujitsu LifeBook U938 (i5-8250U, LTE, SSD, FHD) Subnotebook Review
Sven Kloevekorn / Sascha Mölck, 2018-07-11 (Update: 2018-07-11)