PC

Unlock this business laptop with your palm

The Fujitsu LifeBook U745's palm scanner is more hygienic than a fingerprint reader, which makes it suitable for use in a medical setting.
The Fujitsu LifeBook U745's palm scanner is more hygienic than a fingerprint reader, which makes it suitable for use in a medical setting.PHOTO: FUJITSU

Hovering your palm over the Fujitsu LifeBook U745 unlocks it.

But what is the difference between this and laptops that use fingerprint for authentication?

The answer is hygiene. Unlike a fingerprint reader, you do not need to touch the laptop to scan your palm. This is more hygienic and, hence, relevant for users in a medical setting.

Simply hover your palm over the palm scanner, a small square at the lower right corner of the laptop, when logging in. Adjust the position of your palm accordingly when asked by the authentication app. It sounds a bit inexact but with my review set, logging in usually took under five seconds.

The palm scanner uses near-infrared rays to read the vein patterns on the palm. Fujitsu claims that it is more accurate than other biometric technologies.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $2,999


    PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-5600U (2.6GHz)


    GRAPHICS: Intel HD Graphics 5500


    RAM: 8GB


    SCREEN SIZE: 14 inches, 1,600 x 900 pixels


    CONNECTIVITY: DisplayPort, VGA, 3 x USB 3.0, SD card reader, Gigabit Ethernet, microphone and headphone jacks


    BATTERY: 45 watt-hour

    RATING


    FEATURES: 4/5


    DESIGN: 3/5


    PERFORMANCE: 4/5


    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5


    BATTERY LIFE: 5/5


    OVERALL: 4/5

Palm-scanning has been around for a while: A quick online search yielded articles about this same technology from Fujitsu dated 2008. But I doubt palm scanners will take off. Microsoft has been pushing facial or iris recognition with its Windows Hello biometric system in Windows 10. Looking into a camera to unlock a computer sounds more convenient than using your palm.

Setting up the palm scanner the first time, though, was more troublesome than swiping a finger on a fingerprint reader. I had to place my palm over the scanner and adjust the height and position. I had to keep my palm in place for a few seconds while it scanned my veins. The slightest bit of movement could throw the scanner off and I had to start again. But it still took me less than five minutes to register my palm into the system.

Apart from its unique palm scanner, the Fuijtsu is a typical business ultrabook. This 14-inch model is slim and weighs 1.57kg.

In fact, it is so thin that it does not have a full-size Ethernet port. Instead, it has a pull-out port that looks flimsy, but works. An optional dock that supports additional ports and connectors is available. Besides Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the laptop has optional 4G or 3G connectivity.

Its anti-glare display is sharp with a 1,600 x 900-pixel resolution. But viewing angles are poor and colours are far less vivid than in-plane switching screens.

The Fujitsu runs on a low-power Intel Core processor. But it is the older fifth-generation model, not the latest sixth-generation one. Compared to a rival such as the Dell Latitude E7450, the Fujitsu was slightly better at running productivity apps with a higher PCMark 8 score (2,607 versus 2,399).

The laptop runs cool and quiet most of the time, but the fan is noisy when it gets going.

Battery life is very good at 6hr 45 mins. You can swop the removable battery with a spare.

The Fujitsu is more expensive than the recently tested Dell Latitude E7450. But the Fujitsu has more RAM and a higher-resolution screen. However, battery life is not as good as the Dell's.

• A good business machine with a unique palm scanner.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 28, 2015, with the headline 'Unlock this business laptop with your palm'. Print Edition | Subscribe