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NEC Versa UltraLite

It's based on Transmeta's 600MHz Crusoe

Review April's PC Advisor saw Transmeta's Crusoe mobile processor enter the market with more of a whimper than a bang. After tempting the PC market with its claims of high performance twinned with hugely increased battery life, it was undermined by the limitations of current benchmarking methods.

NEC Versa UltraLiteThere is no accurate method of providing figures for battery life, so we were unable to check the claims that a Transmeta-powered PC could last up to six hours, as opposed to the two-hour life of an AMD or Intel-based notebook.

Equally, NEC's performance in our WorldBench tests leaves much to be desired. Again, though, this could be due to the testing method, as the sophisticated technology may be too intelligent for existing benchmarking software. This is because Crusoe's ability to gather speed with repetition works better in an everyday environment, where most PC activities run the same pieces of code time after time, than in a benchmarking program that runs through a range of tasks over a short period of time.

While the Versa's WorldBench score of 86 seems disappointing, in use it felt faster. More significantly, this score is 17 points higher than April's Sony Vaio, despite both notebooks sharing the 600MHz Crusoe chip. The UltraLite is a true lightweight at 1.5kg. The small 10.4in screen helps to cut down the pounds, although we didn't find its colour palette to be the best in bright conditions. No DVD-ROM facilities are provided as standard, and the 10GB hard drive and 128MB of RAM are far from astounding.

Until we can find a way of assessing the full capabilities of the Transmeta chip, it's unlikely to make much of an impression on our charts. Even so, the NEC is a pleasing notebook with a £1399 price tag that may be just low enough to tempt you. ®


Price: £1399
Contact: 0870 010 6326


Processor type: 600MHz Transmeta Crusoe TM5600
RAM: 128MB
Dimensions: 264x211x29mm
Weight: 1.5kg
Screen size: 10.4in
Graphics card memory: 4MB
Modem: 56Kbps
Network interface: 10/100

This review is taken from the July 2001 issue. All details correct at time of publication.

Copyright © 2001, IDG. All rights reserved.

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