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NEC Versa UltraLite - Extensive Review

NEC Versa UltraLite - Extensive Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The NEC Versa UltraLite is positively sleek, and amazingly slim, measuring in at a mere 1.06" thick
 92% Rating:   
Filed under: Notebooks Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: NEC Sep 04 2001   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Notebooks > NEC Versa UltraLite

First, what is a subnotebook?

Today's laptops have been segmented and compartmentalized into two or three distinct categories. The largest notebooks typically weight 7+ pounds and come with huge 15" screens, multiple media drives and insanely hot and power hungry Pentium processors. Depending on what you get, a laptop of this class will typically work for three or so hours on battery power alone, all the while barbecuing your legs with its' heat. Should you be carrying around the computer for a long time you will know full well that 7lbs eventually feels a lot heavier.

The full-size notebook may be powerful and well equipped for the occasional business trip, but if you are lugging around 8 pounds of computer gear with you everyday, you're either going to need a really good bag like the Waterfield Cargo here , or intelligently decide its time to shed some of that weight for the bare essentials.

Now just to be clear, I'm not about to tell you that full-size notebooks don't have a very useful place in the world of computing - that would just be insane. Notebooks and subnotebooks exist in harmony and each class is designed with specific uses in mind. Full-sized notebooks, while portable, are best used at a desk. Subnotebooks are best for situations where the user is always moving around, away from both desk and power plug.

Take for example our little silvery NEC UltraLite. Since it only weighs about 3lbs, and measures a scant 10.4" x 8.3" it is easily held in one hand while the other is free to type. A full-size notebook may have a 15" screen, but with its size and weight is damn near difficult to hold in one hand and type on without being dropped to the floor. Feel free to test this theory with your own notebook if you like.

Of course the pundits to the emerging class of sub-notebooks will all bring up the driveless point, and in a way they are right - a driveless notebook is not that useful when you're far from the network and need to move some data to or form the hard drive. Lacking a floppy or a CDROM the notebook looses a lot of its real world usefulness.

However what those legacy folk are missing is the real question. That question being how often do transfer data to a floppy, or load up a CD-ROM? More likely than not, if you're in the field you'll find yourself working madly away on the keyboard with little need for the disc drives. [The emphasis in that sentence is on WORKING , not watching DVD's, or reinstalling Office XP on that 20 hour flight to Taipei.]

And therein lies the beauty of the sub-notebook formfactor. In its most essential configuration the notebook is trimmed down to just a display, a keyboard, a hard drive, and a few vital data ports. The end result is incredibly compact, lightweight, highly portable and expandable. When drives are needed they can be added by simply connecting a USB cable. When they aren't, you needn't lug around the extra weight.

Japanese consumers have flocked to the subnotebook formfactor, and as a result there are many different notebooks available on the market there. North American users are really only now starting to see the added versatility and benefits of the subnotebook. Now this isn't to say that full-sized notebooks are going the way of the dodo, as that is hardly true, rather it is more akin to choosing the right tool for the right job. And in that same sense, the Crusoe processor is inherently the better processor for this formfactor. Its' light power requirements and low thermal outputs are optimal for subnotebooks where the key features are lightweight and longer battery life.

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Contents of Article: NEC Versa UltraLite
 Pg 1.  NEC Versa UltraLite - Extensive Review
 Pg 2.  — First, what is a subnotebook?
 Pg 3.  The Size Difference
 Pg 4.  Features of the UltraLite
 Pg 5.  External CDROM and Floppy Drive
 Pg 6.  Powered by the Crusoe Processor
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: Battery Life
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: Productivity
 Pg 9.  UltraLite Conclusions

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