NEC isn't a name often heralded in regards to notebooks. Its efforts are generally restricted to the business arena, providing simple and functional notebooks to the hoards of office workers who require them. It's very much a no frills operation, a fact that's pretty obvious when you look at its latest offering, the Versa S970.
Measuring 332 x 240 x 35mm (WxDxH) and weighing in at a sprightly 2.2kg, the Versa S970 is nothing much to look at. On the outside it's finished almost entirely in dull silver, while on the inside it's a combination of that and a simple black finish around the display and keyboard. It's all fairly anonymous stuff, while the relatively low weight can be attributed in part to the thin, low quality plastic used for parts of the chassis. As a consequence the S970 doesn’t feel especially sturdy, with the screen in particular being vulnerable to any outside pressure.
It's just as well then that the Versa S970 is a cheap notebook. Our sample model retails for just over £760 inc. VAT and features a 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, 1GB 667MHZ DRR2 RAM, 120GB 5400rpm SATA hard drive, a 14.1in 1,280 x 800 display, and DVD Re-writer drive. Network connectivity is provided by Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi, while there's also Bluetooth 2.0 EDR and an Infrared Port. In addition to all this there's also a Trusted Platform Module, providing secure encryption and identification verified via the fingerprint reader located between the touch pad buttons.
In addition, although our sample is a Centrino Duo system, NEC does provide the option of Centrino Pro notebooks that include Intel's vPro IT management system. This system allows IT Managers to remotely manage machines connected to a network, then troubleshootand solve problems if and when they arise. Another option not included in this sample is Draft-N wireless, which although useful is probably less essential in an office environment where older wireless technologies still prevail.
Overall this is a solid, if unspectacular, specification. A 2.0GHz dual-core CPU is well up to any challenges put to it, and a 120GB hard drive is ample enough. However, for running Windows Vista Business the 1GB of RAM will be a limiting factor, especially if intending to run several programs at once. As such 2GB would be recommended, unless you request XP Professional – which is an option.