Yup, I found someone that wanted to buy my Libretto. I sold it pretty cheap because I just had to get my hands on the P2040. It’s just so cool. There’s a reason why this baby won an award at Comdex.
The P2040 combines the best of almost all worlds. The main attraction was 1) it’s compact, which is really good for travelling and, 2) it has a built-in DVD/CDRW drive which is perfect when you want to record data/music or watch movies on the go. The other aspects like great screen, firewire, etc. all just added to its appeal.
I don’t know what it is but I just love these little notebooks. Most recently, I’ve had the Sony C1 Picturebook, and the Toshiba Libretto. But neither can compare to the beauty of this all-in-one package. Sure, the Libretto is smaller and the Sony Picturebook pretty cool with its little camera, but the P2040 is the most complete.
What can I say? Fujitsu has managed to squish everything you could want into a small, very stylish metallic case and still keep it extremely light. The surface is extremely elegant. It feels very sturdy but is not overly heavy. This is a really cool magnesium-alloy covering. The bottom of the laptop has a nice felt covering that prevents the laptop from sliding. Just simply stunning.
Well the P2040 runs on the new 800Mghz Crusoe chip. As this is not my first Crusoe computer, I have no worries about running this chip. That and the fact that my machine came with 256Mb of memory meant that I would definitely be cruising. Or so I thought…
The first initial problem I had with the P2040 was the speed. I thought it was really slow considering how much RAM I had. I was worried that this was because of the Crusoe chip or something else that was wrong. But, the problem as I came to discover when I asked around, has to do more with Windows XP than with the computer itself. Yeah, Windows XP is really fancy and cool looking, but is it slow or what? Microsoft claims it’s supposed to be faster, but I don’t find it faster at all. The reaction of things like the start menu is really irritating – it just takes a long time to respond. I went to the computer mall and several other demo laptops with XP (some running P4 chips) seemed to be just as slow. As a result, I cannot conclude whether it is an issue with the P2040 or the operating system. I’m guessing the latter so I won’t penalize the P2040 as this is my first experience with XP. In fact, when I load up programs it works just as quickly as my P3 Dell so I really am starting to believe that XP is the problem.
Watching a DVD is easy and works fairly well. I do think that they could have given us more video Ram (only 4MB) which would have improved the quality a lot more. There is sometimes a “lag” in the video playback, though that’s only a problem at full screen and when there are other things running in the background. In general, it wasn’t an issue. If there were an option though, I would definitely have upgraded to a more aggressive video card. Even my older Libretto came with 8MB of video RAM. This was perhaps the one disappointment with the specs.
The screen overall is very good though. Crisp and sharp, just like the Libretto. You’ll remember that I said before that the Sony C1 screen was not as bright as the Libretto. But in this case the P2040 was more than capable. Images and colors are bright. The size of the screen is also very good, much better than the Sony and almost identical to the Libretto. For people like me, it’s perfect but I can see how others might want a bigger screen.
As for the keyboard, it too is pretty compact. Much smaller than a usual desktop or full size laptop keyboard. But I have small Asian hands that are well suited for this size. I can type at about the same speed as usual except I have to be careful when I hit the right Shift key because you can easily press the Enter key by accident. The pointing stick is standard, and is a capable device, except that I would probably choose a small mouse as an alternative.
There’s firewire, 2 USB ports, external monitor, external Floppy, the usual specs that I would definitely want with any laptop these days. For more basic information, check here.
As far as tackling basic computer functions, the P2040 handles it very well. No complaints in running Excel, Word, Photoshop, etc. You can burn a CDRW while still doing some basic word processing. I did do something very ugly though – I crashed the whole system about 2 days ago while trying to install the wireless LAN card. Again, it’s all because of Windows XP, I had to find the download for all the drivers before the card worked (stupid me didn’t realize this was the problem and wasted a few hours tweaking with the settings). When I tried to first install it, it completely crashed the system and would not restart. So I had to spend the next 6 hours reinstalling the OS and every other piece of software on the computer. It was not a pleasant experience. Still this is purely an XP hiccup. Note of caution then: whatever you do, if you get this laptop or any laptop with XP, download the new driver for every single device you have because they pretty much all need new ones.
My big worry about the P2040 was the battery life. With that puny battery in the front, I was worried that battery life was going to be pretty weak. Well, the verdict is yeah, it’s pretty bad, but I guess I couldn’t have expected too much given the size. If you really want this baby to be portable, you should buy the additional battery (preferably the High-capacity one). I ran down the batteries to the first warning in just about 2 hours and 40 minutes. So I figure it will last about 1 medium length movie but definitely not through Lord of the Rings.
So as a laptop goes, I have to say that the P2040 is definitely one of the best that I have had. It is without a doubt, the coolest package. Sure, I had some problems and the P2040 is not perfect, but in terms of looks (just feel that shell), functions, and the overall complete package, I don’t think you could ask for much more. If you are in the market for a second or a sub-notebook, you could not go wrong with the P2040 and I highly believe this is an ESSENTIAL equipment for all you road warriors out there. I would have wished they had more VRAM but what it does have works well enough. The only problem I have is with the Windows XP. But that’s a completely different issue…