The Fujitsu LifeBook A6120 is a good performer, carries a reasonable price tag, and comes with most of the features you'd expect from a well-rounded machine -- except good battery life.
Built to handle multimedia chores, the A6120 earned a solid score of 84 on our WorldBench 6 test suite. Despite its 2.1-GHz Intel Core Duo 2 Processor T8100, the A6120 finished well behind Sony's VAIO VGN-SZ791N, which zoomed to a score of 94.
Regrettably, the A6120's tested battery life was a meager 2 hours, 36 minutes. That's a far cry from the standard of 6 hours, 19 minutes (with extended battery in place) set by HP's Pavilion dv2660se.
The A6120 appears to be fairly sturdy thanks to its hard plastic coating, but it's awkwardly big and tips the scales at 6.3 pounds.
The A6120's spill-resistant keyboard has a finger-friendly texture, unlike Panasonic's ToughBook CF-W7, whose water-resistant treatment left the keys unpleasantly slippery. The A6120 offers good key spacing and a reasonably solid feel, but its keys bow a little too much under pressure. A couple of forceful taps on the arrows, and surrounding keys start dipping.
The shortcut application panel in the upper left corner of the keyboard is fully customizable, though the keys are wedged so closely together that I kept launching the wrong Web sites or applications. The first few buttons are preset Web page shortcuts, and the last is a panic button for reaching tech-support-centric features -- a shortcut to an online version of the user manual, a shortcut to the support site, and quick access to system information.
This LifeBook wins points for having a host of well-conceived inputs and options, including PC Card and PC Express card support, USB and FireWire ports, a DVD-RW drive, VGA and S-Video-out, and an SD/XD/Memory Stick slot.
YouTube contributors will like the Webcam and mic mounted atop the 15.4-inch display (which offers 1280-by-800-pixel resolution). Bundled with ArcSoft WebCam Companion, the A6120 offers video basics with minimal headaches. Though the screen isn't especially bright or crisp, it gets the job done.
The A6120 doesn't win the laurel crown in any particular category, but it gets enough right at the right price to rate as a good (not great) notebook.