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NEC Versa E6510-2505DR review: NEC Versa E6510-2505DR

The E6510 looks the part of a serious business laptop, but there's a more fun exterior lurking within — at least for as long as the battery holds out.

Alex Kidman
Alex Kidman is a freelance word writing machine masquerading as a person, a disguise he's managed for over fifteen years now, including a three year stint at ZDNet/CNET Australia. He likes cats, retro gaming and terrible puns.
Alex Kidman
3 min read

The first thing you'll notice about the NEC E6510 is that it's not a system that's playing to the style over substance crowd. Or, to put it more bluntly, this is a business notebook, at least in design terms, with plenty of polished plastic, a "leather-like" top (that's NEC's description) with an NEC logo engraved on the back. Oddly, NEC seems to think the logo is a selling point. Are there NEC fanatics out there that we've previously been unaware of?


NEC Versa E6510-2505DR

The Good

Good performance. Lots of ports. HDMI included.

The Bad

Average battery life. Cramped keyboard.

The Bottom Line

The E6510 looks the part of a serious business laptop, but there's a more fun exterior lurking within — at least for as long as the battery holds out.

The E6510 is large by netbook standards, but still fits into what we'd call the portable notebook category, with a 14.1-inch display. The keyboard lacks a number pad, but NEC has otherwise worked hard to cram every other possible key onto the keyboard. Two USB ports, the optical drive and power sockets run down the right-hand side, while the left houses two more USB ports, ExpressCard, HDMI, VGA, Ethernet and modem sockets. One slightly unusual design touch is that the headphone and microphone sockets are located in the centre of the notebook's front, directly under the touchpad.

The E6510 we reviewed was the 2505DR, top of the range model, which features an Intel Core 2 Duo T9400 2.53GHz processor, Windows Vista Business, a hefty 4GB of 800MHz DDR2 RAM and a 320GB, 5400rpm hard disk drive. The optical drive is a super-multi DVD burner, supporting everything save Blu-ray, essentially speaking. On the graphics front, the E6510's business styling seems somewhat at odds with its integrated 256MB Nvidia GeForce 9600M-GS chip. Either NEC figures that even business types like to crack out the odd game of Far Cry 2 every once in a while, or they're planning on some very hefty PowerPoint presentations in the near future.

Video-conferencing is taken care of thanks to an integrated 2-megapixel webcam, and while you're visually networking, actual networking standards include on-board gigabit Ethernet and, via Intel's WiFi Link 5100 chip, 802.11a/g/n networking. Just in case your executive does fall into a lower-class hotel in these uncertain economic times, a 56Kbps V2 modem port is also on board, as is Bluetooth 2.0. The E6510 features a single ExpressCard 54 slot for additional expansion.

Despite being placed in NEC's "Small & Medium Business" category, NEC's designers have snuck a few consumer desirable features in there, including HDMI output and a multimedia touchpad that can be used to control AV and other features. It's not quite a multi-touch Macbook Pro, but it's close.

Given what NEC's shoved into the E6510, we were expecting good things from it, both in normal performance and graphics to boot, and the E6510 didn't disappoint. Its score of 6,363 3DMarks and 53,06 PCMarks place this as a serious contender, at least from a sheer grunt point of view. All that grunt does come at something of a price, however. Despite having a somewhat portable form factor, battery life conked out in our DVD test at just over one and a half hours, which was disappointing. You wouldn't want to leave the power cord behind with this particular model.

Although, we did hit one factor with the E6510 which we found highly annoying — the keyboard. Specifically, it's very cramped, even for a notebook keyboard, with the directional keys being particularly squashed down into one corner. There's very little space in-between keys, and this makes typing with both speed and accuracy a difficult task.