Although the Fujitsu-Siemens AMILO M3438G is not the first 17in widescreen laptop we’ve seen here at TrustedReviews, it is one of the better looking ones. It might not be quite up to the standard of the Dell Inspiron XPS Gen 2
, but it’s a definite step up from some of the earlier machines we have reviewed.
It is also one of only a handful of machines to have a GeForce GO 6800 graphics chipset and this one is paired with 256MB of graphics memory. Not a bad start, especially if you’re after a mobile gaming solution. The high-end features don’t stop here though, as our review sample was fitted with 1GB of DDR2 memory and a 2GHz Pentium M 760 processor.
Fujitsu-Siemens offers a wide range of configurations for the AMILO M3438G – all with a GeForce GO 6800 graphics card and 17in display – so there are models to fit most pockets with the most basic version costing less than £1,000 inc VAT.
The notebook is based on the i915PM chipset, which is currently the top of the range mobile solution. This, alongside the Intel Pro/Wireless 2200BG 802.11b/g WiFi network card means that the AMILO M3438G is Centrino branded. There’s a switch on the front of the laptop to enable/disable the wireless antenna. Gigabit wired Ethernet is also part of the specification along with a dialup 56k V90 modem.
Our review model came with a single 80GB SATA hard drive, although models with up to 120GB drives are available. More interestingly, Fujitsu-Siemens also has models with RAID configurations available, although so far the only one I have seen on sale has twin 80GB drives. The drive supplied with this machine was from Fujitsu and has an 8MB cache and operates at 5,400rpm – not too shabby for a notebook drive.
The optical drive writes to DVD+/-R media at 8x, DVD+/-RW media at 4x and DVD+R Dual Layer media at 2.4x. It will also write to CD-R media at 24x and CD-RW media at 16x.
There are plenty of features to go yet, so let’s start with the left hand side of the chassis. The first thing here is a volume control wheel – I really like hardware controls like this as it makes it much easier to adjust the volume on the fly. There’s also microphone and headphone sockets – with the headphone socket also doubling up as optical S/PDIF out. The AMILO M3438G features Intel HD audio and although you won’t get more than stereo sound out of it, the quality is far superior to AC97. The built in speakers are helped by a small subwoofer to add that bit of extra bass to the sound, although most gamers would most likely use headphones.
Next up is the optical drive and just behind that are a single USB 2.0 port and the power connector. Around the back is the modem connector along with DVI and S-Video outputs – in case you want to attach your laptop to an external screen, TV or projector.
The right hand side is home to the Ethernet connector, a 4-in-1 card reader for SD, MMC, MemoryStick and MemoryStick Pro cards, a four-pin FireWire connector, three more USB 2.0 ports and an ExpressCard slot. The ExpressCard slot is also the home of the included remote control with which you can control the InstantOn media playback features. Finally the front only has two features worth pointing out, the on/off switch for the wireless antenna and an infrared receiver for the remote control – this is not an IrDA port so it doesn’t work with other IrDA devices.
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