Fujitsu-Siemens offers a more business-oriented netbook at an attractive price - the Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Mini Ui 3520.

Fujitsu-Siemens' range of notebook computers are slanted toward business users, and the Amilo Mini - its concession to the netbook vogue - is also one of the more sober examples of the creed that we've seen.

Our sample was dressed in two-tone, with a white exterior and palm rest area, and black screen bezel and black speaker cover. While the Amilo Mini takes a 8.9in screen, the chassis looks to be built to handle a larger 10in display as the screen sits within an oversized bezel. The LCD screen itself disappoints, as it has poor contrast and a murky sparkle that obscures fine detail.

The white keyboard is condensed in size as you'd expect of a netbook, although fractionally smaller than the better examples seen on the MSI Wind and Samsung NC10. Additional bright blue lettering here helps to differentiate the secondary key functions like volume, brightness and number keypad.

Flanking the trackpad on the left and right are mouse click buttons, positioned in thoughtless fashion out of easy reach of the thumb. The trackpad is reasonably precise and can be tapped to click for the most common left-click purposes.

Overall, build quality of this angular-looking mini notebook is competent but the machine lacks much charm.

Running gear for the Amilo Mini holds few surprises for followers of the breed: we have the original 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU, Intel integrated graphics, Windows XP Home as operating system, 1GB RAM and, on our model, a 60GB hard disk drive.

Where some netbooks take solid-state memory for lightweight durability, or 2.5in hard drives for maximum capacity and low cost, the Amilo Mini uses a 1.8in hard disk, the type that helped launch the iPod upon the world. These drives are very small and light but often a little slower in performance than other options.

One less predictable addition to the Amilo Mini that should expand the laptop's capabilities is an ExpressCard/34 slot. Using this, you could add FireWire, eSATA, a TV tuner or even extra solid-state memory.

In our benchmark test, the Amilo Mini scored 30 points in WorldBench 6, conspicuously slower than the 35 point average for Atom netbooks. Battery life results were better, measuring over three and a half hours (211 mins) in our MobileMark Productivity test using the standard three-cell battery. This may be short of Fujitsu-Siemens' four-hour claim, but the company does also offer a six-cell version as an accessory which ought to be good for seven hours use.

NEXT PAGE: Our expert verdict >>

Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Mini Ui 3520: Specs

  • 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home SP3
  • 8.9in (1024x600) matt LCD display
  • Intel GMA 950 (128MB) graphics
  • 1GB DDR2 RAM
  • 60GB 1.8in 4200rpm PATA HDD
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 10/100Mb/s ethernet
  • 802.11b/g
  • 1.3Mp webcam
  • ExpressCard/34
  • multi-card reader
  • Bluetooth
  • VGA video
  • strereo speakers
  • 232x175x29/36mm
  • 1142g
  • 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home SP3
  • 8.9in (1024x600) matt LCD display
  • Intel GMA 950 (128MB) graphics
  • 1GB DDR2 RAM
  • 60GB 1.8in 4200rpm PATA HDD
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 10/100Mb/s ethernet
  • 802.11b/g
  • 1.3Mp webcam
  • ExpressCard/34
  • multi-card reader
  • Bluetooth
  • VGA video
  • strereo speakers
  • 232x175x29/36mm
  • 1142g

OUR VERDICT

It may not be the most exciting netbook on the market, but it does offer a useful expansion option with the ExpressCard/34 slot. The Amilo Mini is let down by a cheap-looking screen and tortuous mouse click buttons, but in its favour it’s one of the lowest priced Atom netbooks currently available.

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