[Visual Review] Fujitsu LifeBook T726 ... the Anti-MacBook

Discussion in 'Fujitsu' started by Waseem Alkurdi, Nov 22, 2020.

  1. Waseem Alkurdi

    Waseem Alkurdi Pen Pal - Newbie

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    6
    What do front status LEDs, dual batteries, swipe fingerprint sensors, the solid build of a tank, and a sensor hub (light sensor, gyroscope, accelerometer) all have in common?

    These seemingly-unrelated features define the Anti-MacBook. The Fujitsu Lifebook T726 is the antithesis of Apple's MacBook line and the whole crop of PC copycats trailing behind. In every possible aspect.
    [​IMG]

    It might look unsightly in an era where thin and light is all the rage ... but you only feel its confidence when you actually use it. If GM made the Hummer H1 pickup truck a laptop, this one would be it. "Confident" is the word, literally.
    Looks aren't a priority, functionality is clearly what they aimed for, yet that silver finish and the unique red accents on the back are something unconventional, bound to turn heads.

    [​IMG]

    It's covered in smooth plastic, but it isn't the cheap stuff used in taxicab interior trim and on $150 budget laptops, it's in a different league of its own. I'm not sure if there's aluminum under the plastic, but there seems to be, looking through the expansion drive bay. Sure, the laptop weighs a lot, perhaps uncomfortably so ... but in turn, it feels sturdy, like it was made of rock, and the weight just reduces other laptops to sheer toylike absurdity.

    [​IMG]

    The keyboard is a dream! It's a chiclet island keyboard, with a desktop-like feel that's even better than many generic "office" desktop keyboards, and while not a ThinkPad, it compares very favorably to the ThinkPad keyboards. It's "fast", clicky, there's a lot of response, both tactile and audible, and the red accents around each keycap scream "attention to detail". Weirdly, the num lock/caps lock/scroll lock lights are on the top-right corner, like regular desktop keyboards, instead of being on the keys themselves, like most laptop ones.
    [​IMG]

    However, this keyboard isn't entirely perfect, because of a series of odd design decisions: why would anyone put Pause/Break at the top-right corner of the keyboard, where Delete on every other keyboard is? This one is even worse than Lenovo's Fn/Ctrl swap! And why would they move Home and End to a very awkward position of function-override of PageUp/PageDown ... which are in turn located on either side of the "up arrow" key?

    [​IMG]

    I do miss having a backlit keyboard, since mine came without one, and with the lack of contrast because of a having black keys on a gray background, they should've made backlighting a standard feature.

    There is a plenty of ports on this device ... on the left hand side, you have a DC jack, a fan grille, analog VGA, digital HDMI, a USB 3.0 (now called 3.1 Gen 1? 3.2 Gen 1?), and (curiously for a modern laptop) line out and line in, split in two jacks instead of one combo jack.

    On the right, there is a Kensington slot, another USB 3.0, and the expansion bay with the extended battery. To the front, you'll find nothing but an SD card reader (full-size SD), and round the back, there's yet another USB 3.0, and an Ethernet jack, the sabertooth tiger of laptop ports.

    [​IMG]

    The hinge is sturdy, with the ability to rotate the display either clockwise or counterclockwise. Surprisingly, it's much lighter than the rest of the laptop, not having the resistance needed to counter the weight, which makes the screen swivel around more freely than on, for example, the HP EliteBook Revolve 810, a similar, but much lighter convertible. This also applies to the latch, which, while it does the job, isn't as sturdy as HP's magnetic latch mechanism.

    The touchpad needs some user work for a quality experience. The factory driver, a generic Elan driver, doesn't support Windows Precision Touchpad, and is slow, poorly calibrated, and a poor experience overall. However, installing the Elan Windows Precision Driver, available online, significantly improves the experience.

    The buttons are especially susceptible to wear, mine came already oily and worn. Thankfully though, the eBay seller from whom I bought this was very understanding, and offered me a refund for this issue, as well as another one with OS license activation.

    [​IMG]
    The speakers are a mixed affair, with two tiny speakers below the display driven by a Realtek ALC255 sound chip. The Windows system sounds aren't loud, barely enough to be audible, so I tested it with some random media files: a movie (Love and Monsters, 2020), whose intro sounded as soft as the system sounds, and an anime (a Japanese cartoon), episode 41 of "Naruto", which sounded very loud. I'm not an expert when it comes to audio though (or movies, or anime, not my kind of entertainment) so I can't describe the audio in more accurate detail.

    The fingerprint sensor is a swipe unit by Synaptics that supports Windows Hello, with a product ID of 0011. It's surprisingly accurate, but being a swipe unit, it's not as convenient as a tap fingerprint like on newer laptops.

    There is a smartcard reader, which detected my old debit card, though I yet have to figure out how to use it for Windows login in a non-enterprise environment.

    Some units come with 4G, but mine didn't have it (nor did it have the antennae), so I can't comment on that.

    The screen is a Wacom-enabled panel with both pen and touch support, which Fujitsu markets as a "dual digitizer" unit. It uses a battery-less Wacom EMR stylus, marketed as "Wacom Feel", and the stylus is great for note-taking, even better than the newer Wacom AES, but with two caveats: palm rejection doesn't work that well (but maybe this is a driver issue), and accuracy decreases at the edges of the display, a problem with the EMR technology itself according to the r/stylus wiki. The stylus is interchangeable with the Samsung S Pen (tested with the Galaxy Note 8 and its stylus), and there is a silo in the laptop for storing it, as well as eyelets for a tether. (This paragraph was handwritten using the stylus!)

    The display panel itself is "good but not great". It's an IPS panel by LG Display, at a resolution of just 1366x768, and while it's much better than a TN panel, it's still average when it comes to colors, and the difference between the lowest and highest values of brightness isn't much, with the lowest value not being that dim, and the highest value not being that bright.

    On the repairability side ... both batteries are removable using a quick-release lever, there's an expansion bay that could take an optional DVD drive or another HDD/SSD, a bottom docking port (another endangered species), and there are easy-access hatches covering the RAM slots (yes, a pair of slots! Nothing soldered!) and the single 2.5" SATA SSD (this is where they wreck it - 2.5" SATA, are you kidding me here, Fujitsu?! At least give users a slot for M.2 NVMe, since the Skylake platform does support NVMe natively - however, some might argue that NVMe is a waste anyway on a laptop, given the weaker ULV CPUs they have).

    [​IMG]

    Overall, it's a terrific laptop, and people who would make the tradeoff (sacrificing weight for a much higher build quality and a really long battery life) are definitely going to enjoy this laptop for many years to come.

    [​IMG]

    (note to self: add some more pictures)
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020
    stoneseeker, WillAdams and Marty like this.
  2. Marty

    Marty Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,470
    Likes Received:
    3,424
    Trophy Points:
    231
    Welcome to the forum @Waseem Alkurdi. A very thorough first impressions! :thumbsup:

    Nice to know there are still those out there who appreciate the sturdiness of old EMR swivel-tops (functionally better in every way than yoga-style convertibles imo).

    Tell how it works out for you in your daily application workload after you finish setting it up. Maybe we don't even need fancy 11th-gen Intels, when you have solid Skylake EMR oldie to work with. ;)
     
    Waseem Alkurdi likes this.
  3. Waseem Alkurdi

    Waseem Alkurdi Pen Pal - Newbie

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Thanks, I appreciate it! :D

    On the same day that I've purchased this, I've also purchased a ThinkPad Yoga 260.
    Suffice to say that, compared to this Fuji, the Yoga is flimsy, shoddy landfill fodder in every aspect except for the keyboard.

    It's pretty snappy, I couldn't be happier! :)
    For online school workloads (Office suite, videoconferencing), this thing flies. The fan doesn't even spin up! To get the fans to spin up, I would have to intentionally do some heavy tasks (Adobe After Effects render, for instance) ... night vs. day compared to the Haswell HP EliteBook Revolve 810 G2 I had, which would overheat and spin its fans upon the slightest provocation (= web browsing with two tabs).

    (I'll post some benchmarks to back this up with numbers. I'll probably do PCMark 8 and Cinebench, since other laptop reviews commonly use those two)

    These findings aren't anything unexpected. I've recently come to know that Intel CPUs haven't advanced much since Skylake (all the "Lake" prefix CPUs are based on Skylake, except for the recent Ice Lake, see this source for example: https://en.wikichip.org/wiki/intel/microarchitectures/comet_lake and https://en.wikichip.org/wiki/intel/microarchitectures/coffee_lake).
    Single-core performance between a Skylake i5-6300U and a Coffee Lake i5-8250U is very similar, at least according to benchmarks.
    Coffee Lake benefits from quad-core, but for my current workload, the need isn't there (I'm doing just fine with two cores, so it's not worth it, especially for the price - for one used, crummy consumer-class-build Coffee Lake laptop I can get two business-class Skylake ones ...)
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2020
    Marty likes this.
  4. Marty

    Marty Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,470
    Likes Received:
    3,424
    Trophy Points:
    231
    Could you also run a Geekbench 4 and 5? Not my favourite benchmark, but everyone seems to use it, so it will provide a good comparison point to the new M1 Macs.

    And Intel is suffering the consequences of that right now, crushed between the anvil of AMD and the hammer of Apple. :p
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2020
  5. Waseem Alkurdi

    Waseem Alkurdi Pen Pal - Newbie

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    6
    So ... I've done Geekbench 4 and 5:
    With Geekbench 4, the fan spun up just a little, and only for a short while, then it spun right down as soon as the test was over, and you could juuuust feel the slightest bit of warmth between the keyboard's keys if you probed that area with your fingers.
    Geekbench 5 made it spin up higher, but again, it spun down as soon as the test finished, and it did make it heat up a touch more, and this time it was more noticeable, but as before, one wouldn't feel that warmth without specifically looking for it.

    Results:
    Geekbench 4: https://browser.geekbench.com/v4/cpu/15903442
    Geekbench 4 compute: https://browser.geekbench.com/v4/compute/4947792

    Geekbench 5: https://browser.geekbench.com/v5/cpu/4983786
    Geekbench 5 compute: https://browser.geekbench.com/v5/compute/1930482

    If you want any other benchmarks, I'm ready!
    I'll update this with a comparison to the Yoga 260, as well as a run while attached to AC power (this run was on battery), with temperature sensor readings (I totally forgot about that one!)
    And if I find a good Internet connection, I'll download GTA V (and the very unoptimized GTA IV as well) and see how it runs (and it should be playable, but I want to see for myself).

    I do have my doubts about the Geekbench scores though. I've found an HP EliteBook 835 G7 with an AMD Ryzen 7 4750U (https://browser.geekbench.com/v4/cpu/15903442) that has scored a thousand points LESS than the Fujitsu's single-core score ... very odd, isn't it?

    And compared to the Apple M1? It leaves it in the dust, with the M1 (in an aarch64 benchmark) scoring a third of the Fujitsu's single-core score: https://browser.geekbench.com/v5/cpu/search?utf8=✓&q=Apple+M1
    I'm wrong, blatantly wrong. I've been comparing Geekbench 5 scores to Geekbench 4!!!
    The M1 scores about three times more (1500-1800 vs. 500 for my laptop on Geekbench 5)

    Pretty much! Hoping this finally spells the end of the x86-64 hegemony!
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2020
    Marty likes this.
  6. stoneseeker

    stoneseeker Animator and Art Director Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,684
    Likes Received:
    1,138
    Trophy Points:
    231
    Thanks for the throw back review! It took a loooong time for something to come along that could tear me away from the T902, and it still draws like a champ despite the strip of unresponsive screen in the middle and the shot battery. I love the old style convertible, I wish Fujistu would go back to embrace the EMR and make us a truly work hardy EMR workstation convertible.
     
    WillAdams and starllcraft like this.

Share This Page