The LifeBook P7230 is the lightest laptop we've reviewed that includes an integrated optical drive. It weighs 1.2kg, with a dual-layer DVD burner in place. Although the 1kg Asus U1F has the edge in performance, the Fujitsu has a better keyboard, costs less, and can get the job done without your having to pack an extra piece of equipment.

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The P7230's footprint is about the same as the U1F's, at 27cm wide by 20cm deep by 3cm tall. Both units have super-bright LED-backlit screens. The LifeBook's 10.6in WXGA screen is marginally smaller than the Asus's 11.1in display, but Fujitsu's LED implementation is 10 percent brighter, and its keyboard is terrific (aside from requiring you to use two hands to page up or down).

Our £1,400 test unit came with the Windows Vista Business operating system and a 60GB hard drive. Microsoft Works 8.5, a full set of backup and recovery discs, and a nice Acrobat manual on the hard drive come standard. Considering how much case space an internal bay occupies, the tiny unit accommodates lots of ports and slots.

You get two USB ports, a VGA port, a PC Card slot, a FireWire port, and basic audio ports. Network and modem jacks flank the battery on the back. A shared slot for Memory Stick, SD, and xD flash memory cards sits on the front. Wi-Fi comes standard; Bluetooth costs a little extra, as does a basic webcam.

The Fujitsu can zip through email tasks and can handle other simple jobs with aplomb. It even played our Master and Commander test DVD without a glitch. But you'll have to be patient when attempting relatively processor-intensive operations.

With a 1.2GHz Core Solo U1400 CPU and 1GB of RAM, the P7230 managed a WorldBench 6 speed score of only 32, the lowest mark of any laptop we've tested recently. The Fujitsu took 30 to 40 percent longer than the Asus U1F to complete certain operations - such as burning a DVD or applying Photoshop filters.

Its 5800-milliampere battery life is fabulous, however: 5.2 hours on one charge. And Fujitsu claims that you can double that number by adding a second battery (for around £60 more) to the modular optical drive bay and using both of them at once.

The bay release is an inscrutable nub situated on the bottom of the notebook; it doesn't offer much feedback, but we eventually got the hang of swapping devices.

You can achieve even longer battery life by frequently using the ECO button. According to Fujitsu, this button disables the optical disc drive, among other features, reducing component power consumption by 30 percent. Unfortunately, the small screen gets almost unusably dark in this mode.

Fujitsu Lifebook P7230: Specs

  • 1.2GHz Intel Core Solo ULV Processor U1400
  • Windows Vista Business
  • 1GB RAM
  • integrated ConfCamera
  • UMTS/HSDPA
  • Intel PRO Wireless 3945a/b/g
  • 80GB hard disk
  • DVD super multi writer
  • modular bay
  • 1.2GHz Intel Core Solo ULV Processor U1400
  • Windows Vista Business
  • 1GB RAM
  • integrated ConfCamera
  • UMTS/HSDPA
  • Intel PRO Wireless 3945a/b/g
  • 80GB hard disk
  • DVD super multi writer
  • modular bay

OUR VERDICT

The LifeBook P7230 is a remarkable feat of laptop engineering: extremely light despite including an optical drive, and equipped with a nice little screen and a good keyboard. It's slow, but if email, light work and online researching on the go are all you need - along with the convenience of a built-in DVD burner - look no further. The P7230 comes as close to perfect as any laptop under 1.5kg you can find.

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