Fujitsu Siemens' latest Lifebook is a smart black number with a slightly unusual design. There's no mass of connectors at the rear of the unit, for instance, just curved edges and a pair of above-average speakers. The power switch and various LEDs are visible when the lid is closed, too - handy as a reminder if you're running short of power, for instance.

Open the lid and you'll discover a 10.6-inch screen offering 1,280 x 768 pixels. This makes for small print, but it's also crisp and clear, with vivid colours that are as good as you'll see in this type of laptop. Keyboards are another potential problem with ultra-portables, and sure enough this one is a little cramped.

The layout is as you'd expect - good to see that Fujitsu Siemens hasn't been tempted to move various keys around to random positions - and on the whole the device is comfortable to use.

Our benchmarks with this system were particularly interesting, as both results proved to be extreme. Battery life was excellent at 320 minutes, for example. Yet for some reason, MobileMark's performance on the Lifebook was down at 115. Why, we don't know: the machine never seemed slow in use, and other benchmarks didn't show any real problems.

It's a puzzle - but for this review, at least, the battery score matters most. In addition, the fact that you can replace the DVD drive for another battery, potentially adding another 150 minutes, is a significant plus point. Alternatively, you can take out the removable DVD drive to reduce its already low weight even further.

That's not the only advantage you get with the Lifebook. It's supplied with goodies such as a fingerprint stripe sensor for biometric security, and wide standard support: DVD-RAM as well regular discs, 802.11a along with the usual 11b and 11g. Add a generous three-year collect-and-return warranty, and this has to be a good deal.