The Fujitsu Lifebook AH531 is a perfectly capable machine that will offer basic users the experience they’re looking for at a bargain price, but we can’t help noticing its shortcomings – like battery life – compared with some of the other mid-range laptops.
The Lifebook AH531’s design is unremarkable but sufficient. There’s a glossy black shine to the lid that looks good, but proves susceptible to marks and scratches. Even though we weren’t enamoured with the design, it does feel solidly built, with very little flex around the keyboard or the optical drive.
We were pleased to see that a significant improvement has been made with the keyboard on the AH531. It fails to compete with the likes of the Lenovo B570, but there is a surprising amount of travel on the keys that makes typing more comfortable than you’d think from looking at it. There’s also a dedicated numeric keypad to the right of the main keyboard, but it’s small and slightly cramped.
That’s nothing compared to the touchpad though, which is almost comically tiny and quite difficult to use.
The 15.6-inch widescreen display is bright and sharp. Images are well-reproduced, although some colours (particularly reds and oranges) appear a little washed out. There’s a slight blueish tinge that we didn’t see on the likes of the Lenovo or the Compaq, but to be fair, the sharpness of the picture is excellent.
The screen boasts a pixel resolution of 1,366 × 768 and is perfectly suitable for watching 720p HD videos on YouTube or iPlayer.
We were pleasantly surprised to see that Fujitsu has given the Lifebook AH531 an expansive 500GB of onboard storage space. If you’re planning on getting rid of your DVD collection in favour of downloadable content, you’ll have space for plenty on this laptop.