So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
A small and loveable netbook.
- 1.1kg, doesn't get very warm, ExpressCard slot, sturdy construction
- Cramped keyboard, uncomfortable touchpad, no 802.11n wireless networking
The more we used this netbook, the more we fell in love with it. Despite being small, you get used to typing on it. It's one of the few netbooks on the market to have an ExpressCard/34 slot, so it's perfect for use with a mobile data card. We also love the unit's build quality. All up, we recommend this unit if you're after an 8.9in netbook.
Price$ 699.00 (AUD)
The M1010 is Fujitsu's first netbook, and it tries to build upon the good work that has been performed by the likes of Acer, ASUS, HP, Lenovo and MSI. If you were to combine the netbooks from these vendors you'd get a little marvel of a laptop — and the M1010 comes very close to being that marvel. However, it could still use some refinement.
It's a 1.1kg netbook with an 8.9in LCD screen, which isn't glossy so it won't be susceptible to reflection from office lights and it has a native resolution of 1024x600. It is bright and it's useable outdoors on sunny days, as long as you are in a somewhat shaded area. It displays videos smoothly; with a battery that lasted 2hr 27min in our video rundown test (which is a better result than the Aspire One and many other recent netbooks) and with the screen at maximum brightness, it makes for an adequate portable movie player.
With a width of 23.2cm and a depth of 17.5cm, the M1010 is small and will suit travellers and students. You can use the M1010 easily while on the road to write documents and browse the Internet at hotspots, but its 80-key, 21.2cm keyboard, despite being well laid out, is very cramped and can be tiring to type on for long periods. You do get used to its size and its keys do have good bounce-back. Put simply, if you have thin enough fingers and small enough hands, it won't be too uncomfortable.
Its touchpad is a little more awkward, as it borrows the button design of the HP Mini-Note. The left- and right-click buttons are placed either side of the touchpad, which itself is small and uncomfortable to use. Fujitsu has left quite a bit of space between the keyboard and the screen, which is taken up by the speakers. We would have preferred the keyboard to be installed a bit closer to the screen, sacrificing the speakers (after all, you will probably use headphones anyway), and giving the touchpad and palm-rest more area.
Around the sides of the M1010, you will find D-Sub, Ethernet and two USB 2.0 ports, as well as an SD memory card slot and an ExpressCard slot. The inclusion of an ExpressCard slot sacrifices one USB port but gives the M1010 better expansion options than most netbooks of a similar size (apart from the Mini-Note).
The operating system of choice for the M1010 is Windows XP Home, which is responsive when it comes to navigating menus and launching applications. Inside the M1010 is an Intel Atom N270 CPU and 1GB of RAM (this can't be upgraded without pulling apart the unit), so it will run most basic office applications easily and will be able to multitask to an extent. For example, you will be able to surf the Web while creating a document and listening to music, but you shouldn't edit a whole bunch of photos while running iTunes and downloading torrents onto the notebook's 60GB hard drive.
The M1010 took 8min 57sec to encode our test WAV files to MP3s, which is much slower than the Toshiba NB100, for example. This can be put down to the M1010's hard drive, which is a 1.8in, 4200rpm Toshiba drive, similar to the one found in an iPod, rather than a 2.5in, 5400rpm drive of the sort that is found in most laptops. The benefit of this drive is that it produces less heat than a 2.5in drive and it also weighs less.
With a conventional spinning hard drive and 1GB of RAM, the M1010 gets only slightly warm during many hours of usage, so it won't be uncomfortable while resting on your lap. Its balance is also perfect: its screen only tilts back about 100 degrees, so it won't fall off your lap if you take your hands off the palm rest.
The construction of the M1010 is very solid. The screen's shell is hard and withstands a lot of bending, and the chassis is rigid and can withstand plenty of pressure, even when you press down on it over the empty SD and ExpressCard areas. The notebook's white colour is nice, but it does tend to get dirty.
The unit's connectivity could use some bolstering: the M1010 only has 10/100 Ethernet and 802.11g network connections. Copying a 1GB file over a network will take at least 5min. In this respect it can't compete with the ASUS Eee PC 901, which also costs less than the M1010. But this is only a small quibble as these network adapters are still fine to use for browsing the Web and transferring the odd song here and there, and they will also let you stream compressed videos without much hassle from a file server.
You also get a built-in webcam and easy to use webcam software, useful hotkeys for the volume level and power management mode, Bluetooth and integrated Intel graphics. By the end of our test session we grew to like the M1010 very much for its size and usability. It becomes more comfortable to use over time. While it's priced a little higher than it should be, we think this is a good model to consider if you're after an 8.9in netbook.
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