FSC Amilo Pi1556

[digg=http://digg.com/hardware/FSC_Amilo_Pi1556_Review] Well, they say that I am generally impulsive on many things, and well I never deny the fact as well. You guys are now looking at the proud owner of a Fujitsu Siemens Computers Amilo Pi1556 laptop. It's an awesome laptop that's and easy to use. Well, it has to be easy to use as I am working on a German Operating System as of now. Have to wait until Monday to call them up and find out how to change the language if at all possible. Else, I am hooking it up with Fedora Core 5!! Muahahaha!!

After many deliberations and discussions with "The Overclocked Fragger", I had decided to go in for an Acer Aspire 5672WLMi or an Acer Aspire 5652AWLMi. However, on Friday, when I had called up the centre to find out about the servicing and warranty and revoking [aka returning the laptop in case I am unhappy with it], I realised that Acer sucked and also puffed hard. Hmm, so the "search for a laptop" finally comes to an end.

So, what's the config of my baby? FSC Amilo Pi1556 config

During the process of hunting for the laptop, I managed to notice quite a few things as far as buying a laptop is concerned. It's NOT as simple as buying a desktop/configuring a desktop. There, the components will work as they are supposed to, most of the times, the form factor being more manageable and testable, and the components, being loosely coupled, in the most loose definition of the term. In the case of a notebook however, the components are far to tightly coupled, and it often depends upon the manufacturer that the notebook will last/not!

Furthermore, in a desktop, you can keep adding/subtracting things at a later time from your initial configuration, the liberty for which is not all that present in a laptop! Consequently, there are few things you NEED to keep in notice before buying a laptop. You also need to have a very clear idea of what you really are expecting from your notebook. I started out with absolutely no clue at the beginning of the venture, and slowly progressed, with the help of "The Overclocked Fragger" to finally settle down for what I really expected off my notebook!!

I started out from Finding a Good Laptop in Germany and went through a lot of changes as far as my requirements went. In the middle, I had also decided to forego a medium performer laptop to go for an entry level and then went back to the good performer laptop, with some basic customizable and configurable and upgradeable options!

So, if you are indeed going for a laptop, your first question to yourself should be - where are you going to use your laptop? Is it at home, probably moving it around from room to room, and rarely take it outside the house? Or are you in the frequent fliers list and you wanna take your laptop along with you? Coz, it's very important that you decide!! Portability and performance are usually at two ends of the spectrum! Yes, the manufacturers are getting better at it, slowly, and they are picking up pace to bridge the gap, slowly!

Yes, there are some awesome laptops there that are portable, cool, look rad, and are power packed with performance and features, however, they come at a high cost. Consequently, unless you have infinite resources in front of you, you need to fix your budget as well.

My budget was Euro 1200.00 all inclusive, i.e. delivery charges as well and I wanted to limit myself to getting the laptop from a particular website called http://notebooksbilliger.de/, as I heard that their service is awesome, which is wrong information btw. The laptop manufacturer is the only one providing the service. Then, there was a search for which laptop manufacturer provided the best service in Germany, and also some form of service once I get to India.

The first on the list at that point was of course, Dell. However, there is not too much difference in price for a Dell Laptop between Germany and India. IOW, too expensive for just the service factor. You should also consider the build quality and the performance aspects. For the 1200 Euros, all that you could get was probably just about a souped up Dell Inspiron 6400, which was certainly not what I was looking for.

So, what was I looking for? As I already told you, it pretty much took a full circle, before I decided on the final config and laptop. =D!

The FSC Amilo Pi1556 made its mark on my mind and also on Fragger's mind ever since we saw it and found that it had a MXM nVidia Geforce Go 7600 [it can be upgraded for the uninitiated]. It had an Intel Duo Core T2400 processor, which was definitely in our wanted list, being powerful enough and for not being a battery hogger. It also had a 2MB cache being shared across the 2 cores, therefore giving a performance increase even in single threaded applications. Consequently, your daily routines would also get done faster, not to mention your games just zooming way faster. It had a GIG of RAM, which should do fine until I really have to work and play together. The framework I work alone, when in full flow would automatically consume, without even running any applcation about 300MB of memory after boot up!! :-)! So, I needed upgradeable RAM. Well, this one can upgrade only to 2048MB RAM, whereas the Acer Aspire models could easily upgrade to 4096MB! However, those were heat generators. And they were 60Euros more costlier. Now, not that I don't mind paying more to get my balls warmed up, but definitely this is NOT the way I'd like 'em warmed up!! :-D! Anyhoo, this has one less USB port, owing to the MIni USB connectivity option. This also does not feature two separate Monitor Connectivities. It has one DVI port and they have coupled it with a DVI to VGA Adapter. Well, I like my laptop sides to be as bare as possible, and this fellow was indeed giving me that. The Acer models looked overloaded to me as far as the sides and the front were concerned. This baby also has almost nothing in the front, pretty much the way I like it. [Ewwwing at the Dell E1505 with the media control buttons in the front ;-)]

[Note to self: Put in the pics of the laptop]

Now, I will be running the benchmarks and all soon enough and that would mean Monday, when I can download the same from the net. I am waiting also to test out the wireless, which will be delivered with my DSL connection sometime this week. Once that is done, I myself would be connected from home on a 2MBPS download and 512KBPS upload rates. Waiting to also test out the 3DMark'03 and '05 benchmarks and demos on the laptop. Speakers: I am not very happy about the laptop speakers, actually is/was terribly disappointing. Almost made me change the laptop to the ruddy Acer ones, but then I had to weigh down the fact about the servicing. Coz, I have to pack it and send it for any kinda service. They only have ONE, I repeat, ONE Service Centre for the whole of Germany. FSC - Fujitsu Siemens Corporation, on the other hand, will come up to my house, pick it up, and will return it back to me at the end of service. Now, that definitely outweighs the tinny speakers part. I can always carry around a pair of headphones, which when adorned, definitely increases the sound quality, and it is quite close to what I have in office as well, which again is a Fujitsu Siemens Computers machine.

So, what have I been doing with the machine? Well, watching movies... ;-)! I finished watching The Lion King, The Usual Suspects, Nottting Hill, The Recruit! Well, the widescreen with its glossy finish definitely calls for a nice movie watching experience. But, it also is a lovely screen to type and set all my different vector wallpapers on. :-)! I have kinda made it look like a Mac now! Yes, the German keyboard, actually looks a bit hatke, which will work well for me, coz I like things a bit hatke ;-)!

So, I also saw Timeline today. Man, that movie is a grave injustice for the book. The book was really nice when I read it. I feel like reading it again now. The movie sucked big time, especially the actors were definitely not who I had in mind when I read the book. They have some not-so-popular actors. I mean, if the "Vertical Limit" actor is playing the professor's son, CHEAP!! :o!!

Hmm, apart from the speakers, the laptop is indeed an awesome laptop to have. It's 0.1kg more than the Acer Aspire 5672WLMi and the 0.2kgs more than the Acer Aspire 5652AWLMi, and it only has a 6Cell LiOn as compared to the 8Cells provided with the Acer models, but it comes 100Euros cheaper and it has an MXM option. Else, it's got the same Motherboard and a better processor than the Acer Aspire models. And it's also got the same options for connectivity. There's no bluetooth connectivity tho, which mite be a bad thing, considering that my phone is one of the better models with bluetooth out there with an option to control your computer through it as well!

There's a nice little feature on the laptop, which I haven't noticed till now, which is to lock the touchpad, when you are typing. There's a small button presented, which when enabled would lock the touchpad, allowing you to type really fast without having to bother about your hands accidently touching the pad and making your mouse and the cursor move to another position :-)!

So, here are my overall ratings as far as the groupings go - Display - 4.0/5 [They could have increased the resolution to a WSXGA+ screen with such a nice graphics card on board] - Keyboard - 4.5/5 - Graphics - 4.0/5 [Still to be tested for reliability and any crappy wakey effects to be present and the performance with the current configuration] - HDD - 4.0/5 [With the 7200RPM on the prowl, even the extra bit of space in the harddisk mite be a detterent as far as performance goes, but it's silent, very very silent] - Portabiliy - 3.0/5 [6Cell battery with about 2 hours of charge, and the 3.1kgs, and the heating up on the hands resting doesn't really make this guy a swell portable option] - Performance - 4.5/5 [The T2400 Intel Core Duo definitely provides what it promises. I may have got this baby for a cheaper price if I had waited till Christmas, but then I _had_ to go for a laptop asap with a DSL connection to be delivered later this week] - Looks and style + comfort [4.0/5] Not very sleek, but it has the features of a laptop with a full blown keyboard and the aluminium casing - Build Quality - 4.0/5 - [Well, they could have done better as far as the DVD Writer goes. They have bundled an NEC option, which ain't all that great. They have gone for the cheapest option with a Slot Loading DVD option]

Overall rating of the laptop = 3.90/5!!

Note: I am still to test its looks and display outside in the sun, where I have heard that the glossy screen is not something you'd desire. :-)!

The pics have been uploaded here!