Fujitsu Siemens – AMILO Pi 1505 review

cheap and very cheerful Core Duo laptop
Photo of Fujitsu Siemens – AMILO Pi 1505
£499

Fujitsu Siemens has a track record of offering an enormous range of laptops with a huge choice of processors, so it’s no surprise that it is backing Intel’s new Core Duo processor with a vengeance.

Our review sample of the AMILO Pi 1505 sported a T2050 Core Duo that runs at 1.6GHz on a 533MHz FSB. This is the slowest of the three dual-core options, although you could instead have a 1.8GHz Core Solo but we strongly favour the extra performance of dual core.

We got the bare minimum 512MB of DDR2 memory, although you can install up to 2GB in two modules, but despite the fairly lowly specification we found that performance in PCMark05 was very impressive, and presumably there is more to come if you opt for a faster processor. Although the 60GB Fujitsu hard drive has a relatively small capacity its 5,400rpm spin speed contributes to the healthy performance of this laptop.

The AMILO Pi 1505 uses the Intel 945GM chipset with integrated Intel GMA950 graphics and a 15.4-inch screen with 1,280 x 800 resolution. The specification claims a brightness rating of 180cd/m2 and a contrast ratio of 300:1 which are fairly average figures, but we were very happy with the image quality which struck a good compromise between clarity and colour depth without being too reflective under office lighting.

You get a decent selection of ports in the shape of three USB 2.0, one mini FireWire, LAN, modem, VGA and TV outputs and a 4-in-1 card reader. Just as importantly, the ports are conveniently located on the left and right sides with nothing on the rear and only the audio jacks and a toggle switch on the front to enable the Intel 802.11b/g wireless. On the left side there’s an LG dual layer DVD writer.

You don’t get Bluetooth and neither do you get a PC Card slot, however Fujitsu Siemens does include a new-fangled ExpressCard slot that accommodates both 34mm and 54mm cards.

The components have been chosen well and performance is very impressive, providing you don’t hope to play games, but we do have an area of concern. Our loan sample had a six-cell Li-Ion battery installed with a rating of 4,000mAh and we got just over two hours our of it, which isn’t as much as we would hope to see.

The only alternative battery offered by Fujitsu Siemens is half the size at 2,000mAh and presumably would deliver barely more than one hour of operation.

So far, our feelings are generally positive about the AMILO Pi 1505 although we have a couple of reservations. But then we come to the price, which is ridiculously low. So low in fact that we double-checked it was correct, and blimey it’s good value. We’re well aware that promotional offers have a habit of ending abruptly so our advice is that you rush out and buy this laptop ASAP.

Company: Fujitsu Siemens

Contact: 0800 692 9292


Verdict
There was a time when a budget laptop was a slab-like affair with a slow processor and a small screen, but no more. Fujitsu Siemens has departed from the script with its AMILO Pi 1505 which sells for an amazingly low price yet offers an impressive specification while also looking neat and sophisticated.