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FSC Esprimo Mobile D9500 review

Highly portable and powerful, but lacking in features

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Our Verdict

Limited features, but performance, mobility and warranty manage to impress

For

  • Brilliant usability
  • Strong performance
  • Good warranty

Against

  • Screen lacking in contrast
  • Poor multimedia performance
  • Uses Vista Home Basic

Last year, Fujitsu Siemens (FSC) added the Esprimo series to its business laptop range. While the Esprimo Mobile D9500 (£770 inc. VAT) lacks the compact design of some rivals, it compensates with impressive power, battery life and warranty cover.

The 2.7kg chassis makes it quite a large machine. However, its 199-minute battery life provides strong mobility, and increases to 225 minutes using Vista's Power Saver settings. The chassis is sturdy but easily scratched, so adequate protection is needed during travel.

Comfortable keyboard

Usability is excellent. The keyboard is generally sturdy, but bounces slightly during use. The keys are well-sized and responsive, so long-term typing is comfortable. The touchpad may be too small for some users, but is equally usable.

As with most corporate laptops, the 15.4-inch screen has no glossy Super-TFT coating. Reflections are eliminated, for optimum visibility in all conditions. The downside is that the screen lacks contrast. Nevertheless, the sharp image will suit most users.

Graphics use an integrated solution, so performance is quite low. This is common among corporate laptops, but better 3D power is available at this price. Basic photo and video editing is possible, but don't expect much multimedia power.

Strangely, it uses Windows Vista Basic. Features such as scheduled backups and Media Centre functions are missing, so home and corporate users may find themselves lacking the usability they require.

There is also no integrated camera or Firewire connectivity. Software is included for internet security and CD/DVD creation tasks, but there are no office tools, so you'll need to factor this into your budget.

The Esprimo impresses with strong performance. The Intel Core 2 Duo processor is powerful enough for home and office use and allows smooth multi-tasking. The 120GB hard drive is also large enough to store your business data alongside all your music and photos.

Another strength is the impressive warranty. One year of on-site maintenance is included, so you won't need to return the laptop in the event of a fault. Upgrading to three-years of cover is made accessible, thanks to a low price of just £83 (inc. VAT).

With limited selling points for home or business use, the Esprimo Mobile D9500 is hard to recommend. Performance and warranty are strong, but features are too limited to target either the corporate or home market and, while undeniably a good laptop, it fails to impress.