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Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Si 2636 review

Verdict:

Review Date: 18 Apr 2008

Price when reviewed: £699

Supplier: http://www.fujitsu-siemens-shop.co.uk

Reviewed By: Mark Forbes

Our Rating 3 stars out of 5

The Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Si 2636 is a 13.3in laptop and is aimed at home and family users.

It's the first laptop we've seen to use Intel's new Turbo Memory, which supplements the computer's main memory to make applications load faster in Windows Vista and improve boot times.

The 2636 has one of the latest Core 2 Duo processors, a 2.1GHz T8100. This is the least powerful of the new range, although it still anaged a rapid 179 overall in our benchmarks. There's 2GB of RAM and 1GB of Turbo Memory. As we couldn't disable the latter, it's hard to say how much extra performance it offers, but the Amilo booted into Vista in well under 30 seconds. The 250GB hard disk should be enough for most uses.

The Amilo's red and black case makes it look like Acer's Ferrari 1100, and is a welcome departure from the usual black and silver colour schemes. Build quality isn't as good as we'd have liked. The keyboard is comfortable to type on, but the circular touchpad is awkward to use and the buttons are stiff.

Network connectivity is good: there's both Gigabit Ethernet and Draft-N wireless networking. We like the HDMI port, but with no VGA or DVI interfaces you'll need an HDMI-to-DVI adaptor to connect to most monitors. It's good to see a combined eSATA and USB2 port, making a total of four USB2 ports. There's also a memory card reader, Bluetooth 2.0, a webcam and a useful, good-quality slip case.

The 13.3in widescreen LCD isn't particularly bright and the glossy coating means it's difficult to use outdoors because of reflections. Viewing angles aren't great, either, and colours look right only if you're looking head-on at the screen.

Our Call of Duty 2 test ran at 5.6fps at the screen's 1,280x800 native resolution. This was no surprise as the Intel X3100 graphics processor isn't powerful enough for modern games. We lowered the settings to 800x600 and turned off anti-aliasing, but this led to an increase of only 3fps.

Like Acer's Ferrari, the Amilo has a slot-loading DVD writer. This looks stylish, but precludes the use of 8cm CDs or DVDs, which are often used for drivers.

Fujitsu Siemens has tried to create a highly portable laptop with the Amilo Si 2636, but it has three major drawbacks. First, the battery lasted for just under three hours in our light-use test, so you can't work away from mains power for long. Second, its 2.3kg weight is heavier than we'd like for a 13.3in laptop; and third, the touchpad is too awkward to use.

If portability is important to you, Acer's Aspire 2920 lasted for four hours and 17 minutes in our tests. It has a slightly smaller 12.1in screen, but weighs less and is nearly £100 cheaper.

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