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I got this laptop in March of this year (2007) and having used it almost every day since, and often for many hours per day, I feel I'm now at a point where I can offer a fair review.
I paid £360 for it, which I thought was a reasonably good buy at the time for the specification: including a 1.73Ghz processor with 1MB cache RAM (this is important, as a small cache like on some budget laptops will seriously impair performance, 1MB minimum I say)
Ok it's a Celeron processor, but for this price it's a good deal, and Celerons are better than they used to be.
It's quite a good looking laptop too, with a decent 15.4" screen.
It comes with Windows XP Home preinstalled, and mine came without a Windows OS CD/DVD, so you are supposed to make an image of your drive and burn it onto CD when you first get it. I did want Vista, but having heard about all the driver and compatibility problems people have been having, I think I'd rather stick with XP until Microsoft get Vista working properly.
The hard drive is not very large however, at only 60GB, especially for today's standards, but most of these models come with a DVD writer - make sure you check before buying though, as you may get caught out with a CD burner only (as I did, but after complaining to the company I bought it from that their advert said DVD burner, they sent me a laptop DVD burner), so you can burn any excess data onto CD/DVD.
When I first got it, it had the standard 512MB of RAM installed, but I quickly found that this was not enough, especially since the graphics are integrated, and therefore take up part of the RAM (128MB if my memory serves me correctly, or maybe 112MB, one or the other!), and when you've got a few programs installed and a few running, the memory soon gets eaten up, particularly if you use an arts
program like Adobe Photoshop to edit digital photographs like I do sometimes.
So, I decided to upgrade and bought an extra 1GB of RAM for £45 (generic unbranded RAM), and boosting upto 1.5GB RAM has definately made things faster and the laptop more a more capable machine overall, even if you want it for only basic purposes, extra RAM makes programs load faster and there are less delays in processes.
- The battery life is quoted at 2.5 hours, but even with a fully charged battery, it wouldn't run a full 2 hour film, and I had to watch the ending the next day when I got home! I think it lasted around 1h40mins before dying. Maybe it would last longer if you're just typing a document, but for watching a film, etc, don't expect to get to the end of an averagely long film, i.e. 2 hrs!
- Windows Media Player seems to run with a refresh problem, in that the mouse jerks across the screen and the 'trippy' visualisation graphics have a 1 second delay resulting in severe jerkiness, which seems to go away when you have even one small Windows box or program running on top of the visualisation graphics - weird!
Films run ok though.
I was having problems playing media files with another media player (VLC media player), both films and music, with the sound cutting out for a split second every few seconds, meaning you couldn't watch a film or listen to a music track, but this problem now seems to have gone away?!
However, my main problem and a serious one is that occasionally it freezes - sometimes the touchpad mouse stops working, and sometimes the whole laptop 'locks up', meaning I have to unplug the power cable and disconnect the battery to reboot it, which is particularly frustrating and annoying if you're half way writing an email, doing some work, or writing a review for Ciao!
In the back of my mind I know it might freeze up at any minute, so I'm saving this text in a Notepad document and saving it every few minutes, to avoid losing what I've written!
I've asked on forums what it could be and people have said it could be overheating. The fan does seem to be working quite a lot, but I'm not overdoing anything, and it can freeze up with hardly any system resources being used - e.g. one Windows Explorer box and a Notepad document - hardly a major strain! & it shouldn't be overheating with so few programs running.
I even asked on the Fujitsu Siemens support forum, and didn't receive a reply!! BTW: I also asked them about the jerkiness with Windows Media Player (which I have infact updated on Microsoft's website to the new version, but to no avail), and guess what - Fujitsu Siemens didn't reply to me on their support forum about that either!
I've not tried to run any games on it, as I have an Xbox 360 for games, so no need for it on the PC, and the sound card seems fine - the internal speakers although ok are tinny and I run the sound through an external proper audio amplifier and decent speakers.
N.B. There is no TV-Out option with this laptop, which I would have liked, but for a budget priced laptop, you can't expect this feature at the moment.
Overall I am fairly/reasonably satisfied with it, and I don't regret getting it.
However, with the locking up/freezing problem I can't recommend it to others.
very good review! i agree with these comments completely, I have the same problem with my laptop. Last night however the hard drive packed in completely, i didnt expect it to happen like this, as it has been falling apart for quite some time. So beware potential buyers!
silverfox357 07.07.2007 15:47
Just a thought. The freezing might be due to some software problem, the firewall for instance.
Mitsudan 07.07.2007 15:15
Not good for the nerves if you're constantly waiting for it to freeze! Very good first review. David