Although the Lifebook SH771 from Fujitsu was officially announced about a week ago, we've now got a quick hands on with the new Ultrabook competitor from Fujitsu. You might wonder why we're not calling it an Ultrabook, as although most of the specifications and even the weight puts it in the Ultrabook category, Fujitsu has kitted out its Lifebook SH771 with standard Voltage mobile CPUs, something you won't be seeing in the Ultrabooks.

Although the Lifebook SH771 from Fujitsu was officially announced about a week ago, we've now got a quick hands on with the new Ultrabook competitor from Fujitsu. You might wonder why we're not calling it an Ultrabook, as although most of the specifications and even the weight puts it in the Ultrabook category, Fujitsu has kitted out its Lifebook SH771 with standard Voltage mobile CPUs, something you won't be seeing in the Ultrabooks.

The Lifebook SH771 is offered with two different CPU options – both dual core – namely the Core i5-2520M and the Core i7-2640M and all models rely on the Intel HD 3000 GPU for graphics. After that you're looking at either 4 or 8GB of RAM and for all but the top SKU, a 750GB 7,200rpm hard drive, whereas the top SKU has a 128GB SSD with encryption. All models have the same 13.3-inch screen with 1,366×768 resolution which is really the only feature that needs to get a major overhaul, especially as we're finally starting to see a move towards higher resolution displays in the thin and light market segment. We have to say that we were concerned about the extremely thin display though, but Fujitsu has made sure it'll last and we tried pushing the back of the screen with no apparent changes to the LCD unlike what you can see in many cheaper notebooks.

Moving on we have the hot-swappable drive bay, a feature that ought to be standard on notebooks these days. The standard options here include either a DVD burner or a Blu-ray burner depending on the SKU and you also get a weight saver thrown in which really is just a small piece of plastic that covers the opening. Cost options include a secondary battery and strangely enough an LCOS based projector, although we weren't given any specifics of the projector. Fujitsu hasn't skimped on the connectivity options either with two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, Gigabit Ethernet, a D-sub and HDMI port, a pair of audio jacks, an SD card reader, Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205 ABGN Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0. You'll of course also find a webcam and as this is model is targeting the corporate market, a biometric fingerprint scanner and unusually these days, an Express Card 34 slot.

The keyboard is of the chiclet type and Fujitsu was making a big deal about its "bowl shaped" keys, although we can't say that we felt much difference during our brief time with the notebook. An unusual feature is the two-tone coloured keys though, which looks interesting but makes no actual difference in terms of usage. What we're not at all keen on is the trackpad, as not only is it much wider than its tall, but on the right hand side is Fujitsu's peculiar scroll area which is a small circle that otherwise works just like a regular track pad. On top of all that, the buttons are quite stiff and very clicky, as well as being in a rather uncomfortable position, as they're somewhat sunk into the notebook. This is the one major feature that spoils the overall impression of the SH771.

In terms of build quality the SH771 feels very robust and it's housed in a magnesium alloy chassis. One interesting feature that is worth mentioning is that Fujitsu kits out its notebooks with a dust filter, a feature that could potentially help extend the fan life and in turn the overall life of the notebook. So why are we calling this an Ultrabook contender? Well, with the weight saver fitted, the SSD equipped model weighs in at a mere 1.22kg, although the hard drive adds another 110g or so to this and the optical drive a further 110g or so, so with the optical drive and the hard drive we're hitting 1.44kg which is still very light for a notebook with a 35W TDP mobile CPU. The SH771 measures 316x223x16.6-23.2mm (WxDxH).

Apart from our gripe with the touch pad, the cost puts the Lifebook SH771 out of most people's reach, as the base model will set you back NT$55,800 (S$2,375), while moving up to the Core i7 increases the price to NT$62,800 (S$2,675), while the Core i7 model with 8GB of RAM and a Blu-ray drive is NT$69,800 (S$2,975) and finally swapping the mechanical drive for a solid state model puts the price at an eye wetting NT$79,800 (S$3,399). All models come with Windows 7 Professional, but that's hardly making them worth the asking price when you can have Toshiba's Portege R830 for far less and get near identical specifications.