Fujitsu Siemens Lifebook S2110 AMD-based notebook
First UK Review Fujitsu Siemens has launched a new Lifebook notebook on the first day of CeBIT, and it’s the first model in this range to use an AMD processor. Strictly speaking, the Lifebook S2110 isn’t a new model as it has been on sale in the US for a couple of months under the Fujitsu brand. However, Fujitsu Siemens is a 50:50 joint venture between Fujitsu and Siemens, which gives the S2110 a tenuous claim to fame...
Conspiracy theorists might like to note that this year CeBIT overlaps with Intel Developer Forum so this European launch takes place while Intel’s great and good extol the virtues of Pentium M. Those same conspiracy theorists might like to note that the Lifebook S2110 was delivered to us in a box adorned with an Intel sticker.
The key features of a professional notebook are low weight, decent battery life and connectivity, while a huge screen and gaming graphics take a back seat.
On this front the S2110 delivers the goods - it weighs in at 1.9kg with the DVD-Ram drive installed. The optical drive slips into a modular drive bay which can alternatively accommodate a second battery, which on past form will cost about £110 inc VAT. We didn’t receive this accessory with the review sample so we ran our battery test on the main 5200mAh battery and got a real world battery life figure of 2h 31m. The secondary battery is a rated at 3800mAh so it's fair to speculate that this would boost the working life to 4h 20m, which is rather impressive.
In the past, AMD notebooks have suffered from questionable power management which has often been blamed on the chipset, but in this case the combination of the ATI RS482 North Bridge with ATI's own SB400 South Bridge on a Fujitsu FJNB19A motherboard gives us no cause for complaint. Although the Radeon Xpress 200M graphics support DirectX 9 with Shader Model 2.0, it's clear from the pathetic 3DMark05 score of 468 that the S2110 will be of no interest to gamers. It is, however, superb at running presentations, and although the 13.3in screen is limited to a resolution of 1,024 x 768 you can raise the resolution to 1,600 x 1,200 if you plug in an external monitor or projector. The screen is superb, but frankly we’d expect that of any 1,024 x 768 panel in this day and age as every notebook manufacturer has stack of experience with this technology and Fujitsu Siemens is no exception.
The Turion 64 Mobile MT-34 is a lidless Socket 754 processor from the Athlon 64 family that runs at 1.8GHz and has 1MB L2 cache. It supports 64-bit software, although we doubt that many will upgrade their notebook to Windows Vista when the opportunity presents itself. More importantly the Turion has the hardware Enhanced Virus Protection feature that prevents buffer overflow attacks, and it does all this with a Thermal Design Power rating of 25W.
During our time with the S2110 it was noticeable that part of the underside of the chassis got warm, and it can surely be no coincidence that this region has a thin layer of furry material that is surely intended to prevent, ahem, thermal problems in the trouser area. When the notebook is idling it is essentially silent but when it is working for its living you can hear a cooling fan spinning into action.
Fujitsu Siemens supplied this model with 1GB of PC2700 memory in two 512MB modules of memory so there's no scope for an upgrade but realistically that won’t be necessary.
The chassis is solidly built and has a matt black finish that will endear it to the business community. The keyboard is well laid out with everything in the correct place, although the Del key is top right next to the Pause key. Most importantly the Enter key is outboard of the other keys so touch typists will be able to work at full speed. We wouldn’t go so far as to say that the S2110 keyboard surpasses a ThinkPad – does anything? – but it runs it very close indeed.
Above the keyboard there are six buttons in a row, along with a single row LCD display. Four of these buttons can be toggled between application mode and DVD playback mode and to their right is the Power button which has the all-important blue backlight. The toggle button has a green backlight that clearly states which mode you are in.
Fujitsu Siemens supplied the S2110 with a port replicator which typically costs £60. It adds legacy ports, two USB ports and an S-Video output while carefully skirting the mini Firewire output on the back of the notebook, but this brings us to the one annoyance that we can level at the S2110. All of the ports are arranged along the back, along with the wireless on/off switch, with the modular drive bay on the right and the single PC Card slot on the left. The chassis is very tight for space but we would have dearly loved to have one USB on each side to make life easier for those who prefer to use a mouse with their notebook. It’s a small complaint but one which will nonetheless affect most users.
The main feature of the S2110 is the AMD processor and it is also the least significant part. Indeed, we would defy anyone to tell whether this notebook runs on a Turion or a Celeron, but anything that provides us with more choice as buyers has to be a good thing.
Testing the machine using PCMark 05 yielded a score of 1,848 marks - not at all bad for a machine of its class.
The Fujitsu Siemens Lifebook S2110 is a smart, professional notebook that uses its AMD mobile-orietned Turion processor to keep up with the Intel competition and deliver a very decent battery life. Not a machine for gamers, or multimedia buffs, but it's spot on for business users and most consumers looking for a compact, lightweight system. ®