Fujitsu LifeBook S6510 (3.5G)

The Fujitsu S6510 is a light business laptop with HSDPA built in -- meaning it's perfect for those who are always on the move.

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Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.

There's a definitive business laptop style -- black, tiny speakers that are nothing better than functional, integrated graphics, some legacy components and lately, a fingerprint reader and low resolution Webcam -- a formula Fujitsu, and many others, have down pat.

This presents a challenge: how to differ the product other than cost and service. Ancillary features, ease of use, battery life and design are about it, and as far as dour business notebooks go, the Fujitsu actually does a good job at being attractive within the usual constraints.

The most interesting feature in this regard is the glossy LED screen -- which although it bleeds white light from the top and bottom of the screen (a common ailment of most laptop screens), it looks nice and colourful, cuts down on weight and will save more battery life than your standard LCD.

The front of the laptop is riddled with little activity LEDs, more than just power and hard drive -- it lets you know when there's a wireless network available, when your power cord is plugged in, when your battery is charging or flat, and if you've opted for a secondary battery that replaced the modular DVD+-RW, it has indicators for that too. If you're concerned about weight, an optional "weight saver" module can sit in the bay, saving, well, weight.

The trackpad is quite coarse, however this is quite pleasant to use, and the buttons are responsive. The decent sized keypad (thanks to the 14.1-inch form factor) means that typing is a breeze as well. The usual smattering of media shortcut buttons (does anybody use these?) are at the top of the keyboard, while the air vent sits on the left hand side -- lefties using an external mouse will certainly feel their digits warming.

Business users will likely be lulled by one other key feature though -- the built in HSDPA. Throw in an appropriate SIM, and you're online without the need for a bulky dongle.

In terms of outputs, there's only VGA -- despite the virtual domination of LCDs in the workplace, digital outputs such as DVI or HDMI are still annoyingly rare on business laptops.

Fortunately what's not rare is connectivity, and the Fujitsu has it all -- Bluetooth, 802.11n (with on/off switch), gigabit Ethernet, 56k modem, SD/XD/MS card reader, three USB ports, a single firewire port, audio out, headphones and microphone ports. A positively crusty Type II PC Card slot is present, but considering the lack of Express Card peripherals, particularly in the business segment this is no great sin.

On the software side, Fujitsu bundles its own shock sensor which parks the hard drive heads when a jolt is detected, a display manager for quick resolution setting (ideal for those using projectors), 3G Watcher for your HSDPA connections and the hardware diagnostic tool, built on PC Doctor.

Apart from the usual less-than-stellar speakers, performance wasn't too bad. Although it was never going to win accolades on 3DMark06, scoring an abysmal 427 thanks to its Intel GMA X3100 graphics, PCMark05 was just fine at 4181, and considering its business focus 3DMark06 is pretty much moot anyway -- this laptop was never intended for games.

Turning off all power saving features, setting screen brightness to maximum and playing back a DVD, the battery lasted a decent one hour and 43 minutes.

Fujitsu covers the S6510 with a two year, parts and labour inclusive pick up and return warranty.

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