As far as software goes, there’s not much to say other than it runs Windows XP Home and comes with Cyberlink YouCam, Norton Security Suite and Fujitsu-Siemens Systems Diagnostics. The latter can be used to extensively check the hardware of your entire system, including hard drive, memory, CPU, etc. Having an office suite pre-installed would have been nice, but at least Open Office is competent and free to download.
Onto that all-important battery life, things are fairly par for the course, though the Amilo Mini does do slightly better than Dell’s Inspiron Mini 9. Fujitsu-Siemens has provided a 2200mAh battery, which managed three hours of playing back video at 50% brightness and with wireless turned on. More conservatively, doing general tasks at a very usable 20% brightness with wireless turned off, the Amilo managed a decent four hours and 20 minutes. Good news is that Fujitsu-Siemens has indicated availability of six-cell batteries by the end of this month.
So is the Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Mini Ui 3520 worthy of your hard-earned 260-odd quid? Though perfectly competent, unless you really need an ExpressCard slot or Bluetooth, go for the Acer Aspire One instead. For around the same outlay you get a netbook that’s styled more attractively, has twice the hard drive capacity and for which six-cell batteries are already available for around £60. And though it’s not quite as solid and weighs around 100 grams more than the Amilo Mini’s 1.14kg, it’s also slightly smaller.
Most importantly, it has a keyboard that’s so much better it’s in a different league altogether. Also, if you’re cash-strapped and don’t mind Linux, going for the Linpus Linux edition of the Aspire One will save you £30. If, on the other hand, you can afford an extra £40 and don’t mind a few extra grams and centimetres, the Samsung NC10 (which won our Best Netbook of 2008 award) beats them both in almost every regard.
Aside from the dreadful keyboard, there’s nothing particularly wrong with Fujitsu-Siemens’ stab at the netbook and if you’re the type that likes changing your tech’s colour regularly it’s the only choice. But in a market as crowded as this that’s no longer enough for most consumers and there are better alternatives than the Amilo Mini Ui 3520.
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