Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Si 2636 notebook review

4.5 out of 5
£950

For

Powerful, great price, good battery life

Against

Can get warm

Apple may have stolen all the headlines of late with the release of its 13.3-inc MacBook Air, which is a shame, as the Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Si 2636 has arrived with little or no fanfare but is an equally striking machine to look at.

Weighing in at 2.3kg, it isn’t as lightweight as the MacBook Air but this is a fully rounded notebook, with a full complement of ports and even has a DVD rewriter built-in, making it possible to be used as your sole machine.

The look is great, with the black body having a red trim. The screen uses LED technology, which gives images the best possible colour reproduction and also means the panel itself is thinner. There is a tendency to make LED lids as thin as possible, which can cause buckling but this isn’t the case with the Amilo Si, as we found it rigid and solid.

The overall construction of this machine is great, with a thick plastic shell. When it comes to features you won’t find it lacking with eSATA and HDMI devices catered for, as well as a full-sized ExpressCard slot. A slot-loading DVD rewriter is fitted and Wi-Fi can be switched on and off as required.

At first appearance, this looks like a gaming machine but while it has an impressive specification, the graphics are integrated, so not suitable for gaming. The main specification comprises of the Intel 2.1GHz Core 2 Duo T8100 processor and with 2048MB of memory in support, we found programs flew, loading and saving with no lag at all.

With this amount of performance, there is a slight problem with heat build-up, a we found the system grew warm to the touch a mere 30 minutes into using it.

The hard drive has a 250GB capacity, so can easily store everything you need to take on the move with you, as well as any extras. It may have a powerful specification but we found the battery life didn’t suffer too much. Running Windows Vista Home Premium, in Power Saver mode, which is designed for mobile use, we got close to 5 hours from a single charge, which is impressive.

The keyboard is a good size and comfortably fills the main body, so you don’t have to compromise on the size of keys. The individually mounted keys proved a little stiff to use, so you’ll need a solid strike to get the best from the board but this will ease over time. Fujistu Siemens has opted for a round touchpad design, with mouse buttons around the side, which adds to the overall look of the machine but takes a little time to grow used to using, as it’s not as natural a design.

Verdict

The Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Si 2636 is an amazing notebook and at the asking price is one of the most affordable machines to date. In terms of usability, this is a great machine and a pleasure to use.

Sure, it’s not the thinnest or lightest machine on the market but it’s mix of performance, battery life and all-round usability makes it one of the most appealing lightweight machines we’ve seen in a long time.