It's not just in the home sector that notebooks are taking over from desktops. For business users, having a portable machine not only facilitates taking work home and on the road (what joy), but also makes the tech department's job easier as it reduces queries on how to hook up monitors, mice and keyboards - and more importantly, can hugely reduce a company's electricity bill.
Even road warriors will often buy business notebooks as their personal machine, since these usually emphasise rugged durability over fancy design. This is certainly the impression conveyed by the new Esprimo Mobile U9210 from Fujitsu-Siemens, a 12.1in Centrino 2 notebook with embedded HSDPA/UMTS or, as most of us have come to know it, mobile broadband.
While it might not sport the lovely brushed metal chassis of the Dell Latitude E6400, the U9210 nevertheless means business; its construction is incredibly solid, with a dark-grey magnesium lid that does a great job of protecting the screen, a solid plastic keyboard surround, while the rest of it is textured black plastic. To be honest, the U9210's chunky, plain look appeals to me rather more than many 'designer' notebooks such as the Samsung Q210, but then everyone's taste does vary.
There's a functional looking Fujitsu-Siemens logo on the lid that tallies well with the generally industrial look. This look and feel is continued when you open the machine up, with a combination of dark and lighter grey plastics complementing the black keyboard. It all feels incredibly robust, with not the slightest hint of creaking or unwanted flex anywhere on the machine.
That logo also appears below the screen in unobtrusive lettering, while above the screen there's the inevitable 1.3MP webcam. Above the keyboard is a flush power button backlit in white. To the right is one of the more interesting features of the Esprimo range, a set of five assignable application buttons.
By default (from left to right), the first button with a key symbol locks your workstation, a great idea for when you need to step away from your desk suddenly. The second is referred to as the 'mobility button' and gives you convenient access to a whole range of settings including Fan Control, display brightness, volume, presentation modes and energy settings. Honestly, this is the kind of thing every notebook on the market should offer; a simple way of controlling everything that affects battery life in one simple place, so Fujistu-Siemens should be applauded for this.