Notebooks are one of the few regions in computers where the
products actually look good, and in some cases downright sleek and sexy. Now if notebooks
can look this good just imagine where sub-notebooks are going in terms of
The NEC Versa UltraLite for example, is positively sleek and amazingly slim, measuring in at a mere 1.06" thick - your
average glazed donut isn't even that thin! But be warned, don't let the UltraLite's small
size make you think this is a dumbed down version of full-sized notebook.
The Versa UltraLite is a highly engineered piece of kit that uses the
Transmeta Crusoe TM5600 processor running at 600MHz to power Windows 2000,
and anything else you can throw at it. With the Crusoe
processor come two added benefits. The first being lower power consumption, and the second being cooler running
to a PIII the Crusoe is positively frozen, requiring no noisy
fan to keep it from melting a hole in the tops of your spiffy new Teflon coated
The software based TM5600 Crusoe processor comes packing Long Run power management
which gives it the ability to adjust to the demands of the system hundreds
of times a second. Long Run scales back power consumption cubicly,
but without putting the system in a position where performance suffers. Add
to that the Versa UltraLite's massive little 20BG hard drive, 128MB of memory
and 10.4" 1024x768 pixel resolution XGA LCD display and you have one deadly little
silver bullet of a computer.
Ultraportable subnotebook based on the 600MHz Crusoe processor.
TM5600 600MHz Crusoe
10.4" TFT-LCD XGA display
Twin battery architecture
Built-in NIC, modem
5.5 hours battery life
Magnesium upper casing
20GB Hard Drive
1x PCMCIA bay
2x USB ports
Windows 2000 OS
(w x h x d)
Dot.com execs watch out! We all know of the unspoken rivalry between execs
on long airplane flights is a heated one, even if they won't admit to it
themselves. The smaller the computer, the more cutting edge the technology, and
the more power under that magnesium shell, the better you stand. With both the
technology and the break-away from all things black design on its side, the UltraLite
is sure to turn a few heads - especially after the other notebooks use up all their
Putting sheer looks aside for brief moment the UltraLite breaks away
from the shackles of legacy devices and dives headfirst into the cutting edge.
Packed with dual Lithum based battery systems and twin USB ports this little
notebook is built for the work-a-holic.
On top of the built-in 56K Flex modem, and 10/100 NIC comes a VGA output, and Type
II PCMCIA port which is perfect for Bluetooth expansion cards - but not on flights,
cause we want the airplanes to actually land.... on their wheels.
What was that about a dual battery system? Maximizing on the sliver of space behind the LCD backlight
is something you won't find in most subnotebooks - a battery. In only a
few millimeters of space the Versa UltraLite packs in a 1800mAH Advanced Lithium-polymer battery.
This is in fact the primary battery for the entire computer
system believe it or not.
If you really want to impress your competition on that flight from New York to Seattle,
you can tell a little tale by removing the secondary battery pack and continuing
to work on a computer without any visible power source - maybe even stretch
the truth a wee bit by telling them that mere keystrokes generate enough electricity
to power the computer! ;) Well, Transmeta's Crusoe processor is low
power, but not that low power.... Still, it is a good trick to quiet
up those people who just can't help talking non-stop about the be all
and end all of having the highest clock speed.
If that was the overview on the UltraLite then it's now time to get our hands
dirty and move past all the hype to see how this sleek little silver subnotebook
holds up against a standard full-sized competitor. We know its unfair to compare
a sub-notebook directly to a full-sized version, but given the current market
trends this is the way it is. Subnotebooks are only really just beginning to
make some headway into the consciousness of North American consumers. Hopefully
we'll be able to look past the cramped keyboard comments and objectively see how
this little wonder of engineering stack up. Be it good, be it bad, we're going
to find out, so buckle up cause here we go!