MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.
NEC Versa E6510-2505DR
An excellent mid-range notebook.
- Powerful hardware, good variety of connections, good value, great graphics
- The fake leather looks and feels very fake, some unusually small keys (cursor keys, Fn, Ctrl)
The NEC Versa E6510-2505DR is a very cost-effective and powerful machine that is difficult to fault. Although the faux leather looks and feels fake and the non-standard keyboard may occasionally cause typing errors, users who can look past these faults will find it to be an excellent device.
Price$ 1,999.00 (AUD)
If you're looking for a 14.1in notebook that has powerful hardware and plenty of ports, and you're willing to spend time getting used to a non-standard keyboard, then the NEC Versa E6510-2505DR is an excellent choice.
Let’s get the main negatives out of the way first. Although the vast majority of the keyboard is comfortable to use, the Ctrl, Fn and cursor keys and keys are overly small, which results in typing mistakes. By way of contrast, Lenovo usually places the Fn key where a Ctrl key normally sits, but the Ctrl key is normally larger, so users can tell the two apart by touch. This is the case even with designing small and sleek notebooks like Lenovo's ThinkPad X301. To save space, NEC has reduced the width of the cursor keys, which increases the concentration and effort needed to use them.
The device has what NEC calls a "leather-like top" on its cover. Rather than use real leather or even "pleather" (plastic materials that feel like leather), the manufacturer has gone entirely plastic, meaning it looks and feels fake.
The Versa has a glossy 14.1in screen with a native resolution of 1280x800 and it displays games, movies and still images with good colour and contrast and no dithering. It has an average viewing angle — so don't sit too far to either side — as well as reflectivity issues in outdoor environments, but this is fairly common with glossy screens.
Much of the device's fast performance is thanks to the 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T9400 CPU. The 4GB of DDR2 RAM installed in the NEC provides plenty of memory but the 32-bit Vista operating system that comes with the notebook can only use 3GB of it.
The system runs at a scorching pace. In our iTunes testing, where we convert 53min worth of WAV files into 192Kbps MP3s, the E6510-2505DR completed the task in 1min 10sec. The CPU’s strength was confirmed by its completion of our Blender 3D rendering test in a speedy 1min 11sec. On top of this, it achieved a respectable WorldBench 6 result of 92, which means it can cope with hardware-intensive tasks like 3-D rendering and movie encoding.
The NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GS graphics processor’s strength is shown in its excellent 3DMark06 test score of 5296. This indicates an ability to play older games like Half Life 2 or F.E.A.R. at medium to high settings, as well as newer games with more demanding hardware requirements like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, which should be able to run at medium settings.
The built-in 320GB hard drive, which has a 5400rpm spin speed, provides more than enough space for business users to save office files. However, given the appeal of this laptop as a gaming machine, and the fact that newer games take up excessively large chunks of drive space, it would have been nice to see more storage.
In terms of connectivity the Versa is very good, but sadly it lacks Sleep-and-Charge-style USB ports and e-SATA ports which would make it great. The HDMI output allows users to connect to modern external displays, while the FireWire port means easy file transfers from devices like DV camcorders. It has two USB 2.0 on each side and a D-Sub port, which is good news for people wanting to connect projectors to the laptop.
Connecting on the go is easy to do thanks to the E6510’s built in 802.11n wireless capabilities, and it also has Gigabit Ethernet and a dial-up modem.
The device returned a DVD rundown test time of 1hr 35min, which is an average result. The unit’s weight of 2.35kg without the power supply and 2.85kg with it included mean it is slightly lighter than average, which reinforces the Versa’s suitability for travel.
Throughout all of the data-crunching the NEC never got too hot. People using it on their lap may find their left thigh warming up, but the temperature never rises to an uncomfortable point.
Overall, this is an excellent device at a reasonable price. If you can get past the keyboard with shrunken Ctrl and cursor keys, then this powerful notebook has plenty going for it.
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