Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fujitsu-Siemens - Amilo Pro V3515 review

Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pro V3515 Photograph

Fujitsu Siemens claims that its Amilo Pro V3515 is “designed to deliver breath-taking performance.” Sad to report that our review model fell well short of that claim, due to the choice of processor. Although it costs just £333 (including VAT), shopping around you will find other laptops in the same price bracket but with faster processors and better specifications.

It's a big old beast weighing in at 3.15kg (including AC adapter) so it's not one you'll want to carry around all day. Overall the build quality of the chassis is good, though the screen has quite a lot of flex to it, and it looks quite stylish in its silver and black finish.

For some reason Fujitsu Siemens declined to go down the Dual Core or even the Core Solo route with our review Pro V3515, although both processor types are available as options. Instead the company plumped for a Celeron M 520 to provide the processing power.

Although the Celeron M 520 is clocked at 1.6GHz, it's only a single core CPU with 1MB of L2 cache and a 533MHz FSB. You don't even get the benefits of Intel's latest chipset, or any Intel chipset for that matter, as the Pro V3515 uses a VIA chipset combination; P4M900 NorthBridge, VT8237A Southbridge. Backing this lot up is a mere 512MB of PC2-533 memory, which really is poor for a laptop these days.

So what of the overall performance? Well, all you can say really is that it's adequate to let you perform most office applications and that's about it, as confirmed by the PCMark05 score of just 1,659. Sadly, it's not as if the choice of processor gives you improved battery life; we could only squeeze 120 minutes out of it while watching a DVD.

However, if you think the overall performance is poor then the graphics performance is even worse. True, for £300-odd maybe you shouldn't expect much in the way of graphics performance, as at that price point its bound to be an integrated graphics solution, but because of the choice of the VIA chipset, the integrated solution here is the VIA Chrome 9HC chipset. It won't even run 3DMark06 at a 1024 x 768 resolution, let alone its native one, while 3DMark05 gives a score of just 300 and an average frame rate score of just 5fps in F.E.A.R.

So are there any good points? Yes, the 15.4-inch WXGA screen is clear and sharp and has a 1,280 x 800 pixel native resolution and the hard drive supplied is a Western Digital 5,400rpm, 80GB unit; maybe not the fastest notebook drive around but good and reliable. There's a dual layer DVD burner to back up data onto and you also get a PC Card slot. There's no Express card slot, but this is no great loss. To connect to the outside world there is 802.11a/b WiFi, 10/100Mbps wired Ethernet and a 56kbps modem.

There aren't many ports housed in the chassis, but what are there are all useful; four USB 2 ports, two audio ports, LAN and modem ports and a VGA port to connect to an external monitor.

Interestingly, both Windows XP and Vista are offered as operating systems, so if like a lot of people you are not convinced by Vista, you can go down the XP route. Fujitsu supports the Amilo Pro V3515 with a year's RTB warranty.

It's hard to recommend the Amilo Pro V3515 as we received it. A much better idea would be to go for one of the others in the range, many of which are around the £400 mark.

Fujitsu-Siemens - Amilo Pro V3515 features - Verdict

The Amilo family of notebooks has some very impressive members in it, but unfortunately our review system isn't one of them. If you want an Amilo Pro V3515 then we'd suggest picking one of the faster models which offer better value for money.

Fujitsu-Siemens - Amilo Pro V3515 price

Buy Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pro V3515 securely online at a bargain price

£333 inc. VAT

Fujitsu-Siemens: 01344 475 666

Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pro V3515 Photograph

No comments: