Fujitsu Siemens Esprimo M9410 review: Fujitsu Siemens Esprimo M9410

The Good Dual operating systems; Integrated 3G modem; non-glossy screen.

The Bad Average performance; styling; spongy keyboard.

The Bottom Line The Esprimo M9410 is the only laptop in this range with a 14.1-inch screen, helping it achieve a good balance of portability and functionality. It's a good business laptop, and we love that it has an integrated HSDPA modem for go-anywhere Internet access. But its questionable design and average performance won't be to everyone's tastes

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7.5 Overall

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Fujitsu Siemens' Esprimo range is designed for business professionals who are just as likely to find themselves behind a desk as they are on a train between business meetings. The Esprimo M9410 is the only laptop in this range with a 14.1-inch screen, helping it achieve a good balance of portability and functionality. It packs Intel Centrino 2 technology, high-end components, and is available now from approximately £740.

When we first saw the M9410, the year 1999 called, and when we picked up the phone it said, "I want my laptop back." Who could blame it? Aesthetically, the M9410 is far better suited to that decade than to the one we're in now.

Our main beef is the grey finish that's reminiscent of school uniforms. But there are also other prehistoric touches, such as the LED info strip living  above the keyboard. This gives handy information like the battery charge levels, whether Wi-Fi is activated and more, but it looks like the readout from an old electronic calculator.

Fujitsu Siemens' defends the M9410 by saying the machine is designed for business users, not for the ordinary consumer. That doesn't really fly with us -- we showed it to several of CNET UK's most be-suited, sales-jargon-talking lead chasers and they didn't like it either. They did, however, say criminals would be less likely to steal it from them. But at the same time, they'd be more inclined just to give it away.

Looks aside, there are a number of cool design touches on the M9410. The row of shortcut buttons above the keyboard, for instance, comes in quite handy. The two most useful of these let you quickly lock the machine and launch either the Windows Mobility Center or the Fujitsu Siemens Launch Center -- from which you can start backups or change system settings. The Eco-mode button reduces screen brightness, which can be useful on occasion.

Down in the left-hand corner are front-facing audio ports, a memory card reader and a hardware switch for disabling the Wi-Fi and HSDPA modem when you're in a place that prohibits their use. The left side is home to an ExpressCard/34 slot, a dual-purpose USB/e-SATA port and a vent for expelling hot air. On the right side there's a DVD rewriter drive, which can be removed and replaced with an extra 3,800mAh battery should the need arise. Round the back you'll find two more USB ports, D-Sub video output and Ethernet ports.

Despite its old-school appearance, the Esprimo M9410 is rocking some very modern components. It's Centrino 2'd up to the eyeballs, which means it's geared towards creating the best possible mobile computing experience.

Our test sample uses an Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 clocked at 2.4GHz, plus 2GB of high-speed DDR3 1,066MHz memory. Storage came courtesy of a 320GB 5,400RPM hard drive -- a generous amount given the fact that the M9410 is aimed at business users. Personally, we'd have preferred storage space split across two 160GB drives, with the second drive being used as a backup.

The Esprimo M9410 comes with a DVD super multi drive. This lives in a modular drive bay, so it can quickly be removed and replaced with a variety of alternative components. Users can either add a second battery, a second hard drive or simply leave it unoccupied to reduce weight by a few hundred grammes.