NEC PowerMate P5010

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NEC PowerMate P5010
  • NEC PowerMate P5010
  • NEC PowerMate P5010
  • NEC PowerMate P5010

Pros

  • Stylish (if derivative) design, compact size, impressive 17in display, wireless mouse and keyboard

Cons

  • Performance remained unremarkable across all benchmarks

Bottom Line

NEC's Great White Hope comes equipped with some interesting features, but ultimately it fails to deliver on several fronts. Beneath its dazzling array of style hides a run-of-the-mill PC equipped with average components. With that being said, the trendy set will love it.

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Most PC manufacturers would have you believe they feel nothing but contempt for the Macintosh. And yet, beneath this veneer of smug superiority lies a palpable mix of insecurity and fear. Deep down, they're all jealous of their sleek white rival and desperately want to 'be' it. For proof, look no further than the NEC PowerMate P5010; a me-too iMac wannabe that stops just short of pilfering its fruit-shaped logo.

All kidding aside, there is stylistically very little to distinguish this unit from Apple's assorted offerings -- from the bold and creamy aesthetic to the integrated hard drive and monitor, it shamelessly wears its influences on its sleeve (it even sports a side slot-loading DVD drive). However, despite its hackneyed exterior, there's still enough innovation going on inside the P5010 to make it stand out from the crowd.

Touted as a 'hybrid PC', it combines the best of mobile and desktop technologies to deliver an economically sized computer that doesn't skimp on additional features. Having said that, an unimpressive showing in our benchmarks would suggest it's better suited for casual use, making it a 'no go' zone for graphic designers and gamers. (This is a shame, as either would have made an ideal target audience for such a 'hip' looking machine.)

With its mish-mash of notebook and PC components, the P5010 is a curiously eccentric model that arguably falls between two technological stools. For a start, there's no external battery, which severely limits its use as a mobile device. This is particularly annoying when you consider that conceptually similar devices have managed this feat in the past (the Sony VAIO VGO-LA38G, for instance, came equipped with a notebook battery that lasted over 90 minutes). Meanwhile, the included components lack the expected 'oomph' of a desktop PC, leaving the P5010 stranded at the market crossroads.

Inside its roomy monitor, the P5010 comes equipped with 2GB of DDR2 RAM, a Turion 64 X2 T-52 (1.6GHz) CPU and an ATI Radeon X1200 graphics card. While this line-up of components doesn't seem like much to complain about, our benchmark tests revealed a different story. In WorldBench 6, the P5010 received a far-from-impressive score of 54. While it managed to get through each test unmolested, power-hungry applications like Adobe Photoshop were on the wrong side of slow. As such, gaming is not really an option with this machine, unless you're willing to stick to titles from a few years ago. (Its score of 264 in 3D Mark06 reflects how poorly it will handle modern games; whereas its result in 3D Mark01 of 3893 shows that it will cope with older releases.)

One of the big selling points of the P5010 is its wireless mouse and keyboard, delivering a 'one cable' solution that fits in nicely with its paired down design. If you're sick of your desk resembling a chaotic spaghetti hell, this is one feature that is bound to put a smile on your face. (Naturally, it also makes storing and transporting your computer a lot easier .) For the truly space deprived, a built-in joystick resides on the keyboard which negates the need for a mouse; yet we found it to be a tad sluggish.

Topping the scales at 4kg, the combined monitor and chassis isn't something you'd want to run a marathon with, but it should prove relatively easy to lug from one room to another. As you would expect, the 17in widescreen LCD display is one of the P5010's nicest features, which is just as well, as you're stuck with it. Although it only offers a maximum resolution of 1440x900, images appeared crisp and vibrant throughout our testing, while text remained perfectly legible at a variety of angles. Likewise, the in-built speakers fared quite well, although noise maniacs will probably want to invest in a beefier external pair.

The P5010 also comes equipped with integrated wireless LAN, a 13-in-1 Multimedia Card Reader and the latest version of Cyberlink's Software Digital Media Adaptor (SoftDMA 1.5), allowing users to receive streamed data from other PCs.

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