Connectivity is predominately good, but there are a few surprise omissions. For video output you get a VGA output, you’ll need a docking station for any digital output, but more significantly for some, there is no sign of any ExpressCard slot.
As mentioned earlier, this is in fact an optional extra and comes in the shape of a bay drive that replaces the DVD drive. A mitigating factor here is that HSDPA is probably the most common use for this slot and the Esprimo U9210 already has mobile broadband built in, but if you do have any ExpressCard devices then this is something you need to factor in.
On the positives side, you get three USB ports, one of which doubles as e-SATA. There is the usual 5-in-1 memory card reader handling SD, SDHC, MMC, MS Pro and xD, a Kensington lock slot and microphone and headphone sockets, in addition to Gigabit Ethernet and a docking-station port on the notebook’s bottom. Best of all for security-minded businesses is an integrated smart-card reader.
Further hardware features businesses will appreciate is a TPM 1.2 (Trusted Platform Module) and a ShockSensor to protect the sensitive data on the hard drive from falls and, well, shocks.
In terms of specifications, this notebook is no headline-grabber, but it’s more than powerful enough to cope with any non-entertainment use may demand. An Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 running at 2.4GHz with a 1,066MHz FSB is supported by 2GB of DDR3 RAM, keeping Windows Vista Business 32-bit zipping along nicely. 160GB of hard drive space might not sound like much, but again is plenty for storing spreadsheets, presentations and documents rather than film collections and games.
Likewise the integrated Intel GMA X4500HD graphics chip makes a lot of sense. It won’t run demanding games or graphics intensive applications, but is perfectly adequate for the U9210’s target audience and uses very little energy, maximising that all-important battery life. Consequently this little machine does rather well in this regard, with its six-cell 5,200mAh battery providing a superb five hours and 22 minutes in the low intensity Reader test. In the multi-tasking Productivity suite it managed an equally impressive four hours and 36 minutes, so this machine even surpasses the Dell Vostro 1310, one of the best battery performers we’ve seen this year.