NEC Versa S1300
Thu 02 Apr 2009
One for the Ladies
By Aloysius Low
The blatantly pink exterior of NEC's latest Versa notebook, the S1300 should be a dead giveaway that it's meant to appeal to the ladies. More so when the matte inner pink surface is revealed. If you're a guy and happen to carry one, we're guessing you're pretty sure of your own masculinity.
Fingerprints aren't a problem with the S1300, as the pink glossy exterior manages to hide smudges well. What could be a potential problem is the shiny reflective 13.3-inch screen. Speaking of which, NEC has added a brightness sensor that detects your ambient light and adjusts your screen brightness automatically.
This notebook is slightly on the chunky side at 3.65cm thick and checks in at 1.96kg, not quite what we expected for a pink notebook targeting the ladies. Then again, this sturdy design is probably due to the fact that it can withstand up to 100kg of force. Given a choice of something thin and fragile, or thick and sturdy, we'll go with the latter, just because we don't really want to break a spiffy new notebook.
You'll find the usual bevy of connectivity options that should be more than sufficient for the road: three USB 2.0 ports, a 3-in-1 card reader, VGA out, LAN and modem jacks, and the standard audio in and out jacks. Keyboard layout too was fine, though we encountered some flex while typing. The trackpad response was fine and we quite liked the buttons located just below the trackpad as they gave a nice tactile feel when clicked.
Stressing the Internals
Moving on to the specifications of the S1300, you'll find that it uses AMD's PUMA platform, so it comes loaded with an AMD Turion 64 X2 processor, 2GB RAM and a 250GB HDD. Graphics is powered by the integrated ATI Radeon Xpress 3100, though don't expect gaming grade 3D performance. It's still capable of playing older 3D games, but not at the default 1280 x 800 resolution and high graphic settings. You'll be better off running a lower resolution or graphic settings as a compromise.
For our benchmarking tests, we used our standard 3DMark06 and PCMark Vantage tests to see where this pink machine stands compared to the other AMD Puma notebooks that we've previously reviewed. The good news? Well the results are similar, with the exception of a slightly weaker 3D performance for the S1300 with a score of 1341 marks, compared to the next highest score we recorded of 1703 marks.
For the more demanding PCMark Vantage, the results were also comparable to our past few notebooks using the same processor. For our battery test, the S1300 did reasonably well to last 143 minutes. Decent? We think so.
We have to admit, we were quite charmed with the NEC Versa S1300 at first sight. After all, it's not every day that you get a notebook that's completely and unabashedly clad in bright pink. While the chunkiness did put us off somewhat, we were warmed over by its sturdy build and decent performance. At S$1699, the price hits the sweet spot in our books as it's cheap and something to consider given the current recession.
- Processor: AMD Turion 64 X2 processor, Dual-Core RM-70 (2.0GHz)
- OS: Windows Vista Home Premium
- Chipset: AMD RS780MC + SB700
- System Memory: 2GB DDR2 RAM
- Video & Display: Integrated ATI Radeon Xpress 3100, 13.3-inch WXGA wide screen with SSV (Super Shine View Technology), native resolution of 1280 x 800
- HDD: 320GB, 5400RPM
- Optical Drive: DVD Super Multi Double Layer Drive
- Communications: Wireless Lan 802.11b/g, 10/100/1000 Gigabit LAN, V.92 compliant 56K modem
- Front & Side I/O Ports: VGA, USB 2.0 (3), RJ-11, RJ-45, headphone jack, ExpressCard/54, 3-in-1 card reader
- Miscellaneous: 2.0MP webcam, digital array microphone
- Battery: 6-cell Li-ion
- Dimensions & Weight: 310mm (L) x 235mm (W) x 36.5mm (H), 1.96kg