Fujitsu Siemens LifeBook S6420 review: Fujitsu Siemens LifeBook S6420

The Good Mobile broadband module; spill-proof keyboard, performance.

The Bad Battery life; mediocre graphics capability.

The Bottom Line We like the S6420 for its solid build quality, performance, security and mobile broadband capability. It's a little pricey, but if you require a laptop with its substantial security capabilities, it's well worth a look

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7.5 Overall

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The S6420 is an ultraportable laptop designed for the mobile professional. It's light, relatively small, and best of all, it has a built-in 3G modem so you can go online almost anywhere. You can pick one up now for approximately £1,000.

The LifeBook S6420 is pretty much identical to its predecessor, the S6410. It's a compact, lightweight laptop that tips the scales at 1.75Kg and measures 314mm wide by 234mm high by 22mm deep. It's not as small as a netbook, but it's still portable enough to carry around all day.

Recently, we likened the LifeBook S6420 to a mullet hairstyle because its design is part serious, part fun. With the lid closed, it's got a very serious look about it, mostly because of the staid-looking Fujitsu Siemens Computers logo and the matte black finish. Open the lid, however, and its party central, sort of. The keyboard section has a contemporary white finish, which works well against the matte black screen bezel. It's no MacBook, but it's certainly no minger.

Business users and MI5 agents will appreciate the fingerprint reader between the mouse selector buttons. A dedicated lock button above the keyboard allows you to lock the PC instantaneously and -- provided you've enrolled your fingerprints with the security software -- only a swipe of the correct finger will unlock it.

Beside the lock button, you'll also find an "Eco Mode" button. Press this and the laptop will enable a set of parameters designed to save power. The screen brightness sets to around 40 per cent and the CD/DVD drive is disabled -- as are the PC Card and memory card readers, wired LAN and Firewire ports.

Ordinary consumers -- people who find the laptop abandoned on a London Tube train -- should appreciate the front-facing audio ports, which minimise the likelihood of cables getting in the way. There's also an integrated DVD rewriter drive on the right side, plus a modem port, 3 USBs and a D-Sub video port.

Whereas the LifeBook S6410 was a Centrino laptop, its successor is certified as Centrino 2. The new badge indicates it has a newer, more efficient CPU, better graphics and a new wireless adaptor that's compatible with the high-speed 802.11n protocol.

Our review sample used an Intel Core 2 Duo T9400, clocked at 2.53GHz. This is a slightly unusual choice of CPU, seeing as T-series Core 2 Duos are designed with desktop replacement and entry-level gaming laptops in mind. Fujitsu Siemens also produces a version of the S6420 with P-series 'power-optimised' chips running at 2.4Ghz and 2.26Ghz, which we think would be more suitable.