The desktop replacement category at the high end is heating up faster than a stuffed chicken in a nuclear reactor, and now Fujitsu is entering the fray with the Lifebook N6460. Amongst all the monster "laptops" from HP, Dell and Toshiba, there's been a heavy focus on multimedia and power, and to a degree, the Fujitsu does well here -- the speakers, lack of Bluetooth and price being the only things that truly cripple it.
This machine doesn't make any attempt to insult your intelligence by being needlessly pretty or "personalised" (can something be personalised if it's mass produced? Perhaps that's what Apple's engraving deal is all about). As a result, it's big, it's grey, it's well built, it's non offensive, but neither is it inspiring.
A full sized keyboard and separated numpad lets you know you're in desktop replacement land, other than the obvious 17-inch 1,440 x 900 resolution glossy screen which rightfully dominates the view.
Ports dot the left, right and rear, but wisely there is nothing on the front. The air vent at the rear means no hands will be cooked while using external mouses.
This is where a large notebook will always do well, due to the amount of extra space inherent in such a venture.
The N6460 features both Express Card 54 and PCMCIA Type I/II, and comes laden with five USB ports meaning that it should be able to support most add on hardware. Above the Express card slot is a card reader, servicing SD, XD and Memory Stick/Pro formats.
The included Firewire port, composite in, RCA audio in, S-Video in/out, VGA and HDMI ports means that most of your video needs are covered as well, and since it uses a Radeon 2600 as a graphics card, the HDMI port will carry sound over it as well, unlike a lot of other HDMI solutions. The Radeon 2600 isn't too crash hot as a gaming card, but will fill the gap in a pinch.
The video fun doesn't stop here, as it comes with a TV tuner as well, relying on Windows Media Center to show the result. Fortunately, for recording Cyberlink's PowerProducer is also available, and for watching back your Blu-Ray movies PowerDVD is included as well.
A rebranded version of PC-Doctor is a welcome hardware testing application, for when you're trying to hunt down that elusive problem you just can't solve.
Gigabit Ethernet and a dial-up modem are featured at the back with wireless A/G/N available as well. Bizarrely for the current market no Bluetooth adaptor is installed.
A fingerprint reader doubles as a scroll wheel, but isn't terribly accurate, leaving you to use the much better trackpad scrolling option.
The circle situated at the top near the screen is actually a four way button -- hit the side labelled "A" and it makes a vastly annoying sprite type sound and loads notepad. Hit "B" and you get the same annoying sound, but calculator pops up instead. The other sides bring up your browser and mail client. All the buttons can fortunately be customised to launch the application of your choice, although shutting up the sound is a little less intuitive, requiring you to click on a button labelled "Application registration" click the "Next" button and then check "Do no replay sound" [sic]. Pressing the mode button next to the circle switches it to a media control, play, pause, stop and seek buttons lighting up.