Wednesday, June 25, 2008



Fujitsu-Siemens’ announcement of the expansion of its Esprimo range peaks with the high-end D9500, a professional notebook computer targeted at the mid-range market. It’s a mid-sized desktop replacement model with a 15.4-inch WXGA screen, weighs in at a fairly svelte 2.5kg and offers the latest in wireless connectivity.

It certainly seems to be designed for the professional market. A gunmetal silver finish on the outside and black interior aren’t particularly inspiring from an aesthetics point of view, and at first glance the designers seem to have taken a minimalist approach to the control set. You won’t find much in the way of shortcuts or extra buttons dotted around the keyboard, which simply provides you with an on/off switch and shortcut to the wireless connectivity activation panel.

In the latter you’ll find Intel Pro Wireless 4965 a/g/n LAN, Bluetooth 2.0 and the latest UMTS/HSDPA mobile data technologies, so you should have no trouble jumping online or connecting to external wireless devices on the move. It’s handy to be able to activate and deactivate any or all of these connections via a simple shortcut control, making it easier to prevent unnecessary power-drain as well as increasing security where necessary.

Elsewhere you’ll find an Intel Core Duo T7700 2.4GHz processor, 2GB of DDR2 RAM and a 120GB hard drive. There’s also a DVD super multi drive present, although in terms of multimedia prowess we have to question the D9500’s potential. The screen, while clear enough in low light conditions, isn’t particularly vibrant even at the highest brightness setting. It’s also quite susceptible to glare from direct sunlight or interior lighting.

We were also less than impressed by the built-in speakers, which sit under the front lip of the notebook, a position that no doubt contributes towards sound getting lost during operation; they’re all but useless in any but the quietest environment.

Being aimed at business users this shouldn’t be a big problem for most people, but in today’s competitive market we believe it’s important that notebooks be built for as many potential uses as possible. This point is further highlighted by the integrated X3100 Intel graphics, which puts gaming out of the picture as well.

But when viewed in its intended light, the D9500 is a perfectly capable machine with some impressive wireless connectivity. Wired ports are few - four USB 2.0, VGA and S-video out and the appropriate network and modem connections don’t exactly scream adaptability - but Fujitsu-Siemens does laud the addition of a common port replicator to aid transition between home and office environments, although this must be picked up separately.

Finally, you’ll get around 8 hours of battery life provided you attach the optional second battery, which, considering the lack of high-demand components, is fairly middle-of-the-road