Fujitsu Siemens may not be the first company you think of as manufacturing notebooks but in the last two years the company has improved its range to such an extent that it is now one of the top five suppliers in Europe.
The secret behind this success has been the Amilo line of notebooks, which combine great design with an equally impressive low cost. At £899 (inc. VAT) the Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Pro V2010 represents genuine value for money.
Weighing at 2.9kg, this latest version of the Amilo Pro is lighter than its predecessor but still manages to come supplied with a 15-inch TFT screen. The screen of our review machine was extremely bright with an even tone across the width of the panel. The Amilo Pro relies on the Intel 855 chipset for its graphics throughput. An integrated solution may help to keep the overall cost of the notebook to a minimum but when it comes to performance it provides the bare minimum. While more than adequate for work and watching DVDs, don't even think about trying to play a 3D game using such a graphics card as it simply won't work.
The look of the notebook is trim with a silver and black design. Powered by an Intel Pentium M 725 processor, which has a running speed of 1.6GHz and supported by 512MB DDR SDRAM, the Amilo Pro has sufficient processing power. In day-to-day performance, we would have imagined the Amilo would be responsive and fast. However, we found it to be less than perfect, running at a sluggish pace with only two windows open at the same time. If you have minimal needs this may be sufficient, but we wouldn't recommend this notebook to anyone looking for raw power.
With a 40GB hard drive coming as standard, there is space for your files but you may soon find that you'll outgrow what the Amilo has to offer. The two-spindle machine comes fitted with a dual format DVD rewriter, which allows users to burn DVD-Rs at the click of a button. When it comes to wireless networking, Fujitsu Siemens has managed to cram 802.11g Wi-Fi into the Amilo Pro, so faster networking is possible.
Where the Amilo came into its own was in terms of battery life. We managed to get a little over four hours from a single charge, which means that a full morning's work is possible before you'll even need to think of charging the Amilo.
The keyboard is firmly mounted to the main chassis, which resulted in a very shallow amount of key travel. However, with well-spaced keys, we found typing to be comfortable.
It's clear to see that the £500 price tag is for the supposed styling of this model, yet the styling in our minds just isn't up to scratch and certainly not worth the extra cash. If you're looking for a model that performs and performs well there are other monitors on the market that will do the same job without the price tag. Even BenQ's own FP783 is a cheaper and better model. A nice try, but unless you work or live in an environment where style from a distance is more important that substance then this is probably a no go.