Features of the UltraLite
| NEC Versa UltraLite
1. Audio Jacks: Audio jacks for a
pair of headphones and an external microphone. The headphone jack can also
output to a pair of external speakers, or act as an audio output to an
amplifier. When a
pair of headphones are plugged in, the built-in 1 Watt mono
speaker is disabled. A built-in microphone is located just adjacent to the
two jacks and is cleverly hidden from sight.
2. Power: Sliding power
on/off button. Will bring the notebook back to life if it has entered
sleep mode. Sleep is not 'off', and before the system can be shut down
from the sleep mode it must be turned on and
shut down from the start menu. We experienced
an unresponsive system once while the UltraLite was in sleep
mode. The power override (hold for four seconds) let us
shut down the system in that instance.
3. PCMCIA Port: The one PCMCIA slot
on the UltraLite accepts a type II card. The little lever on the left-hand
side flips out so that cards like a wireless LAN interface, for example, can
be ejected. There is no protective flap to fully stop dust from entering
the bay, just a dummy spacer like the one shown above.
4. USB Port No.1: All of the
IO ports on the UltraLite are hidden behind flip-down covers that conceal
and protect the connectors inside. This USB port is one of two on the
notebook, and can be used to attach the external floppy drive or CDROM for
example. If a USB hub is attached, up to 127 USB devices can potentially
be connected to the UltraLite. Data transfer rates for USB sits at about 12Mbps.
5. Kensington Slot: This hole is for the Kensington security lock that if
used, can protect this very portable notebook from 'walking' away from a
1. DC Power: DC input from the AC-Adapter
powerpack. The adapter is 100V-240V, 50-60Hz compatible so it can be used
just about anywhere in the world provided the appropriate plug adapters are on hand. Be careful
when using the notebook on the lap while the adapter is plugged in -
how the notebook is resting, it may be putting bending stress on
the jack, which sticks out perpendicularly ~30mm.
2. Cooling Vent: The only cooling
solution on the UltraLite is this very silent vent. A fine protective
screen behind the casing prevents stray paperclips from entering the
grills. Additional venting on the base of the notebook acts as the intake
for the convection cooling which takes place. If the UltraLite is being
used on a soft surface the bottom vents can be blocked, raising the
overall temperature of the notebook. In our tests, the highest temperature
we experienced was 39.2C, lower than the temperatures reached on the
reference PIII notebook.
Port: The external video
port allows a standard monitor to be attached by a 15-pin D-Sub
analog connector. Behind the protective flap is a miniature connector where
a small adapter cable connects. The adapter cable connects to the monitor
and a maximum resolution of 1024x768 pixels is supported. The
notebooks LCD display and the
external monitor can be run simultaneously.
port: An embedded RJ-11
phone jack makes hooking up the internal 56K flex Xircom modem simple. The
modem supports V.90 data/V.17 fax protocols. The RJ-11 jack is protected,
and hidden, by a rubber flap.
5. USB Port
No.2: The second USB port on the UltraLite is useful for
connecting the external CDROM/floppy, or perhaps an optical mouse. Windows
2000 is hot pluggable so the external devices can be connected, and
removed while the system is still in operation (a real benefit if you
happen to be using multiple USB devices and lack a hub).
6. LAN Port: Rather than including an embedded RJ-45 port, an external
adapter cable similar to that of the video cable is used for the Ethernet
attachment. Personally, I would have preferred to plug the CAT-5 cable
directly into the UltraLite - as this means one less adapter to loose. In
any case, the onboard NIC supports 10/100Mbps transfer rates via 10Base-T
or 100Base-TX protocols.
1. Ir Window: The infrared port
allows users with other infrared equipped devices to transfer data through
line-of-site connections at speeds of ~9.6Kbit/sec - 4Mbit/sec. The
distances between Ir devices should be less than 36". The UltraLite
ships with this port disabled by default.
2. Status LED:
The power indicator LED's will light up green or
orange depending on the system variables.
3. Latch: This is the LCD
panel latch, and as the notebook is so light, and the tension in the
display panel joints so stiff, the notebook must be opened with two hands. This is not a fault, it
just happens that the bottom half of the UltraLite is not heavy enough
to open the notebook up without it lifting off the table.
4. HDD Cover: The hard
drive cover can be removed for access to the
2.5" 20GB HDD by undoing two small
1. Removable Battery: There are two
batteries on the UltraLite and this is the second one. The built-in
1800mAH Advanced Lithium Polymer battery behind the LCD panel is not
removable. The removable battery pack is a three cell Lithium-ion
battery that delivers 2500mAH
for between 5-8 hours of
use. The batteries require approximately 4.5 hours to fully
The removable battery
pack clips in to the UltraLite and is locked
securely in place. Unlike standard notebooks, there are no I/O
ports on the rear of the Versa.
2. HDD: Remove the cover and the UltraLite's hard drive can be
upgraded to a larger 2.5" HDD.
3. Memory: One SO-DIMM slot is
available behind this panel. the UltraLite
ships standard with a 64MB of onboard memory, and with the available SO-DIMM,
can be upgraded to a maximum of 192MB. Adjacent to memory socket is a small set of DIP switches
for configuring the keyboard, and a few other system related features on the
UltraLite. The keyboard will support 86-key US, or 86-key European standards.
4. Processor: At
the heart of the UltraLite is a 600MHz TM5600 Crusoe processor.
The TM5600 is a 474 BGA chip with integrated northbridge, 128Kb
L1 cache, 512KB L2 cache and can provide deep-sleep power
modes of as low as 60mW.
We didn't really cut a hole in the base
of this sleek little notebook, so relax.
What isn't supported?
Well like most subnotebooks, legacy
devices have been abandoned to meet the desperately small
space requirements. As you've noticed, flipping to the back of notebook
reveals nothing but a battery. Since all the ports are located on the
side of the computer, legacy devices like the parallel and serial ports
just don't fit in. In fact, if you really want to weigh in what
isn't on the UltraLite to what would be on your typical notebook the following items would have to be
counted as no-shows: docking station, PS/2 ports, parallel and serial ports.
If we go
past the "what no parallel port!" notion for a second and consider things level-headed
you will see that none of this is a real loss. Printers and scanners can be
connected by either one of the dual USB ports, and a docking station is somewhat of
a silly notion for a highly portable notebook in this class. Video output
is supported via an adapter cable, and while a PS/2 port would have been a nice
addition, mice can be connected via the USB ports if the UltraLite ever finds itself confined
to desk duty. The only real port which could be considered forgotten is the serial port, but that's
the price you pay for a notebook measuring 1.06" thick.
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