Meanwhile, the Info button brings up Fujitsu-Siemens’ LaunchCenter, which lets you reassign these buttons and other functions, check the hardware configuration of your PC and perform systems diagnostics as well as data backups. In addition, you’ll find hints and tips, manuals and shortcuts to accessories that can be added to the machine like docking stations.
Next is the Eco button marked by a large ‘E’. Again this affects battery life, this time by physically switching off certain components or modules, though most of these can be switched off individually by hardware switches. Among these are Bluetooth, HSDPA, Wi-Fi and the webcam, while the screen is dimmed to a set level. This button can also deactivate whatever you’ve chosen to insert into the modular drive bay, which can house an ExpressCard module, a second hard disk or secondary battery instead of the standard DVD optical drive. Finally we have a Wireless button, though is made a bit redundant by the large wireless hardware switch on the notebook’s front.
To the left of the power button there is another interesting and unique feature; a slim LCD display indicating things like hard drive activity, signal strength and battery life. Though it’s not backlit, it’s still easy to see in the dark because even set to its dimmest the main screen provides enough light to see both it and the U9210’s spill-proof keyboard.
Speaking of the keyboard, it’s a pretty good effort. There’s just a bit of flex on the keyboard, but it’s not particularly dramatic and doesn’t impact on typing comfort one iota. Keys are comfortable, with a decent amount of travel for a notebook and a positive click and on the whole it’s not hard to generate a good typing speed.
The responsive touchpad is similarly a pleasure to use. Coloured light grey, it stands out from the rest of the notebook and its texture makes for just the right level of friction. Its two buttons below it are large, well-positioned and offer very nice feedback and a good audible click. They’re also separated by a solid section that can be filled by an optional finger scanner should you so wish.
One annoyance by no means unique to this machine is that if you’re the touchpad-tapping type, moving the cursor accidentally with your palms while typing can lead to some problems. However, you can deactivate it using a shortcut, though a dedicated button, as seen on the HP Pavilion dv5-1011ea, might be a nice addition, too.
If you don’t like touchpads, don’t fear; like most business-minded notebooks, the U9210 has a trackpoint unobtrusively nestled between the G, H and B keys. Unfortunately it doesn’t have its own buttons the trackpoint itself does have a tapping facility, it’s not ideal and works particularly poorly when double-clicking. Otherwise the trackpoint is good, providing an ample level of control when navigating documents and menus.