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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

External CDROM and Floppy Drive

The sleek silver UltraLite comes with two external drives which connect via a pair of USB ports, one on either side of the machine. Since carrying around an AC-adapter and power cable can one of the most annoying aspects of a notebook you might think that an external floppy and CDROM would be last straw.

This couldn't be further from the truth of course. Almost every subnotebook on the market is a one-spindle machine. The 'spindle' in this case refers to a drives motor, and in the case of a one spindle machine, the hard drive specifically. Standard notebooks are usually classed as three-spindle machines for their hard drive, floppy and CDROM.

With the NEC UltraLite both external drives are included with the notebook, and are not pieces of kit you have to buy in addition to the computer. This a giant step forward and it would be good to see companies like Sony follow suite with their VAIO subnotebooks. In any case, love them or hate them, external drives go hand in hand with ultra-portable notebooks. The only exception that we know of is Fujitsu's Biblo Loox, which comes with a built-in DVD drive.

For someone used to carrying around 7lbs of notebook every day, it's comforting to know that if I don't need the CDROM or floppy I can just leave them at the office. The drive units are quite small and while the floppy unit is simply a laptop drive adapted for external use by USB cable, the 24X CDROM is custom built and almost as much of an attraction as the notebook itself.

Sadly the drive is not DVD compatible, but it does have some redeeming features of its own. The unit is very light weight and just about the size of CD jewel case. The top flips open and CD's are inserted on the spindle as you would any other portable CDROM.

The entire unit is powered by the USB cable which clips out from the back of the drive when not in use. Like a traditional CDROM in a desktop computer this unit comes with play/pause and stop buttons, a volume wheel and a jack for a pair of headphones. The top of the unit is silver and looks metal, but is glass-fiber reinforced plastic. The base of the unit is metal. A small drive activity LED on the front of the unit lets you know what is happening inside, in addition to a small tinted viewing slit on the top.

Had NEC gone one step further and thrown a rechargeable battery pack into the fold, or a place to drop in some AAA's to make this portable CDROM into an on-the-fly portable CD player I'm sure I would be dolling out an editors choice award for the drive alone.

While in operation there are some noisy motor noises from the laser mechanism, but for the most part, the drive is near silent and will work in a horizontal or vertical orientation.

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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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