Nec Versa UltraLite: test and review

NEC has launched an assault on the ultraportable market with the Ultralite Versa. Although it is not as compact as some Sony Vaio models in the range, it is nonetheless a good product. After an initial inspection, the usual compromise on this type of material does not obvious. The keyboard is of course confined to a small space. But it remains usable and its keys are nice and soft. Nevertheless, some are really too small, especially “Tab” and “Ctrl” for example, but nothing catastrophic. Even the trackpad has kept a reasonable size.

However, size omissions reduce the attractiveness of this product. There are no built-in player, except for the small hard disk of 10 GB. Diskettes and CD-ROM drives are certainly delivered, but in the form of external devices that plug into USB ports. Fortunately, the UltraLite Versa have two. This notebook is also equipped with an integrated V.90 modem, a network card Intel Pro / 100, one PC Card slot and the usual audio ports. If you want to connect an external display, a suitable cable is provided, but do not try to connect devices on a parallel or serial port, the computer does not. So you are forced to perform your impressions via an infrared system if your printer does not support USB.

The 10.4 inch screen is not huge. The backlight is satisfactory if you work in a well-lit desk but not enough if daylight is your only light source. The computer is equipped with a chip ATI Rage Mobility-M, which uses part of the RAM, so you actually have 112 MB of the 128 MB available. This is enough, however, for the typical office.

One of the distinctive features of this machine is its processor, Transmeta Crusoe. The whole point of this chip is to consume as little energy as possible by offering enough processing power to handle common office tasks such as word processing, email, browsing the internet, etc.

And the battery lasts all that is most impressive, especially considering the size of the battery Li-Ion, which perfectly fits into the small space between the keyboard and screen . It is assisted by a second lithium polymer battery that NEC has ingeniously “integrated” into the chassis. In our tests, the notebook held nearly four hours, which is exceptional for machines that are struggling to surpass the three.

The power and ease of transport are always easily compatible characteristics with each other. But if you are looking for a small laptop can run really long time, the ultimate Ultralite is ideal.

Alex Cruickshank, ZDNet UK Reviews, translation Evocati