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For me, thin and light laptops are where it’s at. I mean, I can appreciate the power of a chunky desktop replacement as much as the next man, but the appeal of mobile computing for me has always been exactly that, mobility. I want to be able to carry my laptop under my arm, work on the move and know that I’m not going to run out of batteries while I’m on a field trip. Unfortunately, mobile computers don’t get much more expensive than thin and light machines, but as you’ve probably guessed by now, I have expensive taste.
Of course, there’s no shortage of manufacturers out there willing to entice me into getting a second mortgage with their latest cutting edge, micro sized technology. IBM with its X40 for example (look out for the review later this week), and Sony with its gorgeous X505VP to name just two, but Fujitsu Siemens has been pushing its own models for just as long as the competition.
Strangely, the S Series is almost in a category of its own. In today’s market at just under 2kg it sneaks into the thin and light category by the skin of its teeth, but to compensate it comes equipped with a DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive (unusual for a machine of this size) which can be swapped to house a second battery. It also features a 14.1in screen, which is something of a luxury, and Bluetooth. So it’s probably competing in the same market place as the IBM T41.
I have to admit, I am a fan of this mixed feature set. In fact, I actually own an S Series. It is three years old and also weighs less than 2kg, though it only has a 12in screen, and with the second battery still gives me in excess of 5 hours battery life. It has been a very happy marriage, but with a younger model on the scene in the shape of the S7010, my adulterous eye is starting to wander.
The latest incarnation of the S Series ups the stakes while still focusing firmly on the business user. At its core is Intel’s excellent Centrino technology, with a Pentium M 1.7GHz processor and integrated 802.11b/g wireless LAN. There is 512MB of 333MHz DDR RAM, a spacious 60GB 4,200rpm hard disk and – showing its business roots – Intel Integrated graphics based on the 855GME chipset.
In addition to the more unusual features, the 14.1in screen, Bluetooth and DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive (capable of 8x DVD read and 24x CD write and rewrite) I mentioned earlier, the S7010 also comes with the typical connectivity options, V.92/V.90 modem, 10/100Mbit/sec Ethernet, IrDA port, Cardbus Type II PC Card slot, microphone, line-in and headphone points, one serial port, one FireWire connector and three USB 2.0 ports. This is a good selection for a thin machine and it misses little in comparison with heavier laptops. A docking station can also be purchased separately which will replicate most of these ports and interestingly adds DVI-D for digital video output as well as D-SUB and parallel ports.
Further emphasising its business target market, the S7010 comes with an integrated security PIN (accessed using the quick launch keys positioned above the keyboard) which can be set to completely lock the machine down from unauthorised access, even disabling power on.