Fujitsu Siemens Amilo M1437G
It's the time of year when all our cities become clogged up with students desperately trying to make friends, find their first class and burn their student budget as quickly as possible. There is also an increasing trend for students to have their own notebook, something that will see them through 3 years of study as well as acting as the heart of their away-from home entertainment centre.
To this end, you'll find a 15.4-inch widescreen panel in place, which is supported by an ATI Mobility Radeon X700 graphics adapter. With full support for DirectX 9 and Open GL standards and shipped with 128MB of on-board memory, you'll find plenty of power to be had. ATI refer to this card as their “mainstream” offering, as it offers everything the average person will need from it. So, you'll be able to play games such as MotoGP and even Far Cry without having to dumb down the resolution too much.
The only problem with opting for such a machine is the larger size of the chassis. With an overall weight of 3.2kg, the Amilo isn't too unwieldy but the widescreen will make you think twice about carrying it around on a regular basis. Battery life may not be a concern but it's nice to have a degree of portability. After all, it means you can watch the odd DVD wherever and whenever you like. We managed to get just over 2 hours from a full charge, so don't plan on watching too many movies on the move.
If you consider this machine will need to last for a minimum of 3 years, then build quality and performance will need to be high on the checklist of requisites. So, with the Amilo we were more than satisfied. The build quality is excellent, with a strong of support behind the screen as well as tough body shell.
However, it is the power of the Amilo that will impress most users. Powered by an Intel 1.86GHz Pentium M 750 processor, ample power is available for most tasks. Supported by 1024MB of DDR2 Memory and 80GB hard drive, there is more than enough here to satisfy even the most demanding of users. Besides testing the gaming capabilities of the Amilo, we also tested the day-to-day running, with the result that it handled everything we threw at it.
You'll find Windows XP Home on-board, so you won't be readily able to add it to a college network but Microsoft's set up Wizard can be used to add the system to a home network easily enough. With Gigabit Ethernet in place, you'll even be able to hook up to networks and get maximum possible bandwidth. Wi-Fi is also supported with the 802.11b/g adapter, for connecting to the latest networks.