NEC Versa S970 notebook PC - Review

NEC Versa S970 notebook PC - Review

NEC Versa S970 notebook PC - Review
A fully encrypted hard disk so thieves can't get at your files

Pros: Excellent security; great battery life; good core system performance

Cons: High keyboard rim; poor LCD brightness; no webcam; integrated graphics

Bottomline: The hard disk is great, but the notebook has a bland construction and is physically flawed in areas

Manufacturer: NEC

This is the first notebook to use Seagate's new 120GB FDE (full drive encryption) hard disk.

With encryption enabled, you must type in a password whenever you turn the laptop on.

The security mechanism resides on the hard disk itself, so if someone removes the disk and puts it in another notebook, they'll still need to know the password before data can be unencrypted and accessed – and that includes booting into Windows.

It's an extremely secure design and, despite our fears, performance wasn't affected. NEC also fits a TMP 1.2 chip, which gathers your various passwords (be it internet banking logons or Windows passwords) in a secure hardware chip.

Core system performance was very good, thanks to a 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo T7500 and 2GB DDR2 667MHz Ram, but its integrated graphics mean gaming is out of the question.

The chassis is a little bland but includes a reasonable selection of ports, including three well-spaced USB ports, a Firewire port and a multi-format card reader.

Some notebooks use a two-pronged aerial for Wifi connectivity, but Nec goes the whole hog and has a three-pronged version attached to its Draft-N Wifi card, resulting in excellent Wifi reception.

Less appealing is the 14.1in screen, which is a bit dimmer than many other modern notebooks. It also lacks a webcam, has stiff trackpad keys and the spacebar sits next to a high plastic rim so your thumbs continually whack it when typing at speed.

A relatively large 5,200mAh battery powered it for three hours, 28 minutes in the Mobilemark Reader test.

If you need top-notch security this is the best in the business, but the S970 is rather mundane overall.