Notebooks Guide

NEC Versa S5200 review

NEC Versa S5200 Centrino Duo Notebook

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System Components

System Components

For a notebook designed for office use, the NEC Versa S5200 could really have been made more secure if it was equipped with a biometric scanner. After all, with corporations and home users fast becoming acutely aware of the importance of security against viruses, data theft and malicious spyware, a biometric scanner would be an ideal security measure due to its ease of use and convenience. Considering the Versa S5200 was fitted with its own Trusted Platform Module (TPM) security chip, which for all its benefits is to provide a safer computing environment for end-users, the absence of a biometric scanner was all the more uncharacteristic of a notebook that was seemingly designed with security in mind.

Also missing is a dedicated WiFi on/off switch, which is also becoming more and more common across all categories of notebooks as wireless security takes on a more significant role in notebook design these days. Due to the lack of a WiFi on/off switch, pressing a combination of keys on the keyboard is the only instantaneous way to control the status of the onboard WiFi card for power conservation and security from rogue wireless access.

Primary storage of our NEC Versa S5200 review unit comes in the form of a 2.5-inch 80GB Fujitsu hard disk drive. This particular model has a performance rating of 5,400RPM and an 8MB buffer that briefly translates to fast application loading and less stutters as compared to notebooks of yesteryear. An internal Panasonic Super-Multi DVD writer shoulders all optical storage duties of the Versa S5200 and is capable of writing to DVD-RAM, DVD-R/RW/DL and DVD+R/RW/DL media. But while the DVD writer is hot swappable and therefore upgradeable by end-users, the same cannot be said for the hard disk drive because there is no access panel built into the undercarriage of the Versa S5200 for users to perform upgrades on their own. That being said, owners of the Versa S5200 would have to return to authorized NEC service centers to swap out the old hard disk drive for a larger variant should they want to retain the integrity of the warranty of their notebook.

Unlike some notebooks that tend to outfit keyboards that are somewhat cramped and often underutilizing the width available to them, the keyboard on the Versa S5200 is stretched out horizontally to the ends for maximum typing comfort on a 14-inch notebook. Although it is not in the same league as those found in an IBM ThinkPad equivalent, ThinkPad users would probably love the sharp tactility feedback provided by the keyboard on the Versa S5200 just as much. The only foreseeable gripe users might have and would require getting used to is the placement of the "Del" and "Ins"' key, which are positioned on the far right of the spacebar. Two customizable keys beside the power button allow users to quickly initiate two frequently used applications, which in all likelihood are probably going to be for email and web browsing purposes.