NEC Versa M360 £699
13th Apr 2007 | 23:00
A well-priced corporate workhorse, but lacking in features
NEC's Versa M360 (£699 inc. VAT) is a useful tool for the corporate user, with a range of options available to tailor it to your exact requirements - from different processors to personalised logos.
The screen is a 15.4-inch panel, which we found sharp. Thanks to its widescreen layout, there's more than enough room for opening several windows simultaneously, which means you'll be able to view one document while creating another.
NEC has opted for a standard TFT panel. A standard screen is a much better choice than a Super-TFT for those on the move, as it's less prone to fingerprints, dust and reflections. A downside to this, however, is that images don't look as vivid.
As with many business systems, the graphics card (Intel's GMA 950) is integrated, helping to increase battery life and keep the cost down. When used for watching movies and running applications, we managed to get up to 139 minutes from a single charge.
The choice of GPU means this machine is only capable of regular office tasks, as complex 3D applications are the preserve of laptops with dedicated graphics cards. That said, you'll have no trouble watching DVDs, or even editing your photographs.
The screen gives the Versa a fairly wide footprint, allowing for a good-sized keyboard. Stretching to the sides of the chassis, the large keys are comfortable to type on. NEC has even managed to fit a dedicated numeric keypad.
The chassis itself is strong, and all of the buttons move quietly and with precision. Even when used for longer periods, the NEC remained cool to the touch, and the fans ran quietly.
With a weight of 2.9kg, this is a semi-portable machine, striking a good balance between usability and mobility.
It's not all good news, however. Although the firmly mounted display is sturdy and reasonably thick, the rear of the casing flexes, even under slight pressure, leaving the screen at risk.
Using Intel's Core 2 Duo T5500 chip (1.66GHz), we found it highly responsive, and one of the faster laptops in its class when used for everyday applications such as Microsoft Word. It's helped, in part, by 1024MB of memory. This is more than enough to keep applications running smoothly. The hard drive is smaller than average, at 80GB, but still provides enough storage space for all but the most ardent of users.
If you're after a well-priced, well-made corporate workhorse, the Versa M360 makes an attractive proposition.