Kids, eh? You can't live without 'em and you can't kill 'em -- a situation that can present complications when the new school term rolls around and they need a new laptop. They'll pester you with relentless demands for the latest Sony Vaio, and all you'll have money for is a Fujitsu Siemens Amili Li 2727. But is that such a bad thing? This entry-level, 15.4-inch widescreen laptop costs less than a hitman -- just £275 -- and it could be the solution to all their back-to-school needs.
The word 'Acme' springs to mind when looking at the Amilo Li 2727. Its generic-looking matte silver lid with contrasting black interior hardly pushes the design envelope. It's not ugly by any means -- it just looks like it cost £275, and that's not a good thing.
The Li 2727 is a fairly large beast. It measures 355 by 256 by 24mm and weighs a quite hefty 2.7kg, so it's not the sort of thing you'll want to lug to and from school or university if you're living at home with your parents. On the flipside, its large size makes it perfect for anyone who lives on campus. It's comfortable to use and because the 15.4-inch, 1,280x800-pixel screen is relatively large, your kids will avoid the onset of myopia for a little longer than you did.
The Li 2727 doesn't have many of the bells and whistles that help tart up more expensive laptops. Apart from the keyboard, the mouse trackpad and its faintly stiff selector buttons, and the on switch, there's not much to talk about. You get four USB ports -- all sat on the left side -- front-facing headphones and mic jacks, D-Sub and S-Video output ports, and an Ethernet port at the rear. That's your lot.
£257 isn't a great deal of money to kit out a laptop, and it shows. There's no fancy Core 2 Duo CPU here -- just a Celeron M CPU running at 1.73GHz, and 1GB of RAM. That's a bit pants really, but it's enough to chug through most ordinary desktop tasks, so if the kids complain, threaten to take away their trust fund.
3D gaming isn't the Li 2727's bag. The Intel GMA 950 graphics adaptor is best suited to running things like Solitaire, but it'll turn its hand to the odd bit of video playback, too. Be warned, though: your kids won't be blowing up many virtual bad guys with this system -- they're going to have to get their kicks another way.
"Does it have enough space to store my music collection?" is a common question in the laptop world. And the answer in the Li 2727's case is "not really". The laptop comes with a rather small 120GB hard drive, split across two partitions -- one for the operating system, and one for dumping all your files into. There is approximately 40GB of space remaining on each partition -- and prolific file hoarders will find that running out sooner rather than later. The system does come with an integrated dual-layer DVD rewriter, so you can make backups of up to 8.5GB in size.