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FSC Amilo Xi 2550 review

Good performance and an impressive specification, but lacking in quality

Our Verdict

For those with less money to spend on a gaming machine, this laptop will do very nicely

For

  • Competitive price
  • Plenty of features
  • Smaller and more portable than most rivals

Against

  • Dull styling
  • Cramped keyboard

The Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Xi 2550 (£999 inc. VAT) is aimed at the casual gamer who doesn't need two graphics cards or the fastest possible performance.

As such, it's a lot more affordable than much of the competition, and its smaller size is more practical for day-to-day use.

Good gaming performance

The 17-inch Super-TFT screen is impressive, offering lots of detail and good contrast.

It can't match some rivals when it comes to vibrancy, with bright colours looking slightly more subtle, but the high resolution and crisp image quality are great for games or watching movies.

It's uses an ATi graphics card, and performance was strong. The Amilo couldn't compete with high-end laptops, but it bettered the other mid-range laptops during our 3D tests.

Crysis ran smoothly in low resolutions, but slowed considerably when we used higher settings.

Robust build

The FSC has a decent keyboard. The individually mounted keys are responsive and comfortable to use, but the inclusion of a dedicated number pad has resulted in smaller than average shift and directional keys. We also found the touchpad was too close to the keyboard, making it easy to move text as you type.

It's a tough laptop, feeling sturdy to the touch, but the design lacks any stand-out features. The grey plastics are uninspiring, and there's nothing to suggest on first impressions that this is a gaming machine.

At 3.8kg, it does retain an element of portability, and it's easier to take to gaming events than some larger machines.

Bundles of storage

Processing power comes from a mid-range Intel Core 2 Duo T8100 chip. Running at 2.1GHz, the Amilo wasn't quite as quick as some rivals, but we still found it ran smoothly.

Production models will also ship with 3072MB of memory - rather than the 2048MB on our test machine. It's a great choice for those with lots of media files, with twin 250GB hard drives offering up to 500GB of storage.

The comprehensive list of features includes a Blu-ray optical drive. This lets you watch high-definition movies, as well as back up files to compatible discs - with up to 25GB of storage space available on a single-layer disc.

You'll also find the fastest fixed and wireless networking features currently available.

A competent laptop

A remote control is provided for controlling your movies or CDs, and it fits neatly in the ExpressCard slot when not in use.

If you're able to ignore the rather cramped keyboard and uninspired styling, the FSC Amilo Xi 2550 is still a good laptop.

It has all the features you are likely to need, and can cope with most games without problem.