NEC Versa M540

April 1st, 2005 DG, Mobile Computing, Tech

There’s always something missing from a laptop computer. Unless you pay $6 or $7K you have to be prepared to sacrifice something… it might be a desktop chip passed off as an ultra-fast mobile chip, as some not-quite-dishonest-but-not-completely-honest retailers and manufacturers are wont to do.

Sometimes (in laptops designed just for business use) you won’t get a very good sound system or graphics card, and that’s a good thing; they not cheap and if you aren’t a big gamer or music fan you won’t need them.

And the design in some machines leaves a lot to be desired — it’s very hard finding a middle ground between overlarge, clunky, heavy monstrosities and machines that might as well be PDA’s, where you feel like you’re typing on the head of a pin.

But it’s rare for a single machine to offer everything you could possibly want.

The NEC Versa M540 not only has it all, it’s been put together so well it gets better performance than most other laptops around at the moment — even leaving ones with bigger, faster or stronger individual components in the dust.

It’s been included with touches even more serious geeks wouldn’t think to look for. Instead of the usual 4200rpm hard disk, it contains a 5400rpm one, and you can feel the difference.

The M540 doesn’t just have a DVD/CD burner drive but a burner in all CD and DVD formats, and if that isn’t enough, it’s dual layer — enabling you to burn full capacity 8.5Gb discs.

After some very negative publicity about the sound systems on old Versa systems, NEC have packed enough audio grunt into the M540 to make a professional DJ turn his head — the subwoofer coming out of the base nearly lifts the whole machine off the table, and playing music, movies or games will transport you into another world instead of give you headache from a tinny whine.

And if all that isn’t enough, you’ll open it up, turn it on, and realise there’s something very different. If the picture seems unusually sharp and bright, try putting it next to another laptop. That’s the Super Shine View screen technology (called Diamond View — not to be confused with the old Mitsubishi CRT line), and it’s crystal clear and bright enough to pass as a TV screen. On the 15′ screen the M540 squeezes out of every spare millimetre on the design of the chassis, it’s stunning.

Besides every possible port and connection you could ask for no matter whether you’re in gaming, film editing, networking or wireless, the figures under the hood tell part of the story behind the breakneck performance; 1.7Ghz Centrino Pentium M, 80Gb HD, ATI Radion 9600 video accelerator.

All this in a brilliant design and extremely user-friendly keyboard layout make it the best deal in a laptop for at least the last 12 months.

NEC Australia

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