Cons: No conventional monitor output; dodgy mouse trackpad
Bottomline: It's fast and it's light, and comes in at a decent price
Manufacturer: Fujitsu Siemens
One of the recent trends in notebook computers has been for manufacturers to distinguish their products not just through the specifications but through the design as well.
That's led to all sorts of outlandish designs as well as tie-ins with car manufacturers to produce garishly coloured computers.
Fujitsu Siemens has largely stayed away from such frivolity, concerning itself with producing good computers at good prices. However, the Amilo Si 2636 represents a step in the direction of style – it's moderately outlandish, if such a thing is possible.
In fact, it's fairly normal in design except for the bright red metallic trim along both sides and the front. Other than that, and the fact that the bottom of the screen tapers inwards slightly on both sides for a pleasing curved effect, it's pretty standard, with a gloss black cover and grey-black styling elsewhere.
The computer is loaded with Windows Vista Home Premium and uses an Intel Core 2 Duo T8100 processor, which runs at 2.1GHz. There is 2GB of memory and a 250GB hard disk.
The memory is a reasonable amount, although we're starting to see computers with more, and the hard disk is more than adequate for almost all users. Likewise, the processor is impressively fast and shouldn't be too slow for anyone.
One sticking point might be the graphics – while they are fine for most uses including video editing and DVD playback, this computer can't really cope well with recent games or high in-game detail settings. However, it's fair to say that notebooks of this kind and at this price aren't designed for gaming in any case.
The screen measures only 13.3in across the diagonal, which is smaller than the 15in found on similar models. However, it's hard to discern the difference and in fact the screen feels just as big as larger models when it's in use.
While the screen is crisp and clear, the keyboard and mouse trackpad are merely adequate. The keys aren't very deep, so heavy typists will find their fingers hurting after a while. The trackpad is a little small, and it's circular rather than rectangular, which is a bit confusing at first. The curved buttons aren't very well designed either.
The Amilo Si 2636 comes with Bluetooth and wireless networking capabilities as well as a wired network port, two USB ports and an eSata socket for connecting newer external hard disks.
The only video output, should you want to hook it up to a TV or monitor, is an HDMI port. That's fine for those with high-definition TVs, but others will need an adapter to connect to a standard monitor, adding £10 or so. The smaller screen makes it easy to pick up and carry, and battery life is impressive.
In all, £699 is a good price for this easily portable all-rounder.