NEC Scores a Battery-Life Breakthrough

Transmeta-powered Versa DayLite logs 7.5 hours between charges in tests.

Owing to a unique mixture of processor, battery and display technologies, NEC Computers Inc.s Versa DayLite can keep users computing hours after other notebooks would run out of juice. Whats more, the DayLites reflective display allows it to go where few mobile systems have gone before—into direct sunlight.

However, the DayLites power-thrifty, sun-loving display can be a significant liability as well—indoors, the display is sometimes very difficult to see, even when the units backlight is engaged.

In eWeek Labs tests of a $2,499 Versa DayLite powered by a Transmeta Corp. 600MHz Crusoe processor and configured with 128MB of RAM, we found the unit to be a solid and long-running performer, albeit one that requires good lighting to be useful.

The DayLite, which began shipping at the end of June, makes excellent sense for outdoor computing chores, particularly those for which frequent battery charges are impractical. We recommend that users in more traditional settings take a look at the screen to see if the DayLite will work for them.

The notebook ships with 128MB of RAM but supports up to 192MB of RAM. We recommend that sites opt for 192MB, particularly because 16MB of RAM is required for the Intel Corp. code-morphing that the DayLites Crusoe chip carries out, which reduces available RAM.