The NEC Versa S970 is a smart-looking laptop that's slim and lightweight enough to be easily portable.

See our Laptop Advisor website for expert reviews of today’s best laptops, plus read our essential advice to make sure you choose the right specs

In fact, despite having a 14.1in screen, the NEC Versa S970 has a similar depth and height to many a laptop housing a screen some 2in smaller. Not that this necessarily makes for good image quality.

Indeed, we weren't particularly enthused by the NEC Versa S970's non-glossy screen. It isn't particularly clear or crisp, and the edges were a touch too dark.

As the NEC Versa S970 has a 2GHz dual-core processor it's fairly powerful for a mid-price laptop PC.

The NEC Versa S970's WorldBench speed benchmark of 54 is a little disappointing considering the NEC is slightly more expensive than the better performing Toshiba A200-180.

However, considering the NEC Versa S970 relies on the Mobile Intel 965 Express Chipset Family, the games testing score of 10fps (frames per second) was higher than expected (if still quite poor) and battery life was proven to be good at 110 minutes. The NEC has an Eco mode that allows you to get an extra 20 percent by lowering energy consumption, screen brightness and processor speed.

The silver and black interior and outer casing is attractive and resistant to scratches. Although the NEC Versa S970 feels durable and the lid seems sturdy there is no clasp to keep it from coming open.

The NEC Versa S970 is well featured, with a 4-in-1 card reader and three USB ports. It also connects to a, b and g wireless networks. The 120GB hard disk is plenty for a mid-range priced laptop. A built-in camera would have been nice though.

The NEC Versa S970's trackpad is quite small and not particularly easy to use. The keyboard, though, is surprisingly large given the compact size, and the keys have a pleasing touch and an accuracy that makes them easy to type on.

NEC Versa S970: Specs

  • 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7100
  • Windows Vista Business
  • 1GB DDR RAM
  • 120GB
  • 14in
  • 1,280 x 800 display
  • Mobile Intel 965 Express Chipset Family
  • 8x/8x/2.4x/4x (DVD-ROM/+R/+R DL/+RW) drive
  • 24x24x10x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW) drive
  • 802.11 a/b/g
  • 1-year guarantee on-site pick up and return
  • 332mm x 240mm x 35mm
  • 2.2kg
  • 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7100
  • Windows Vista Business
  • 1GB DDR RAM
  • 120GB
  • 14in
  • 1,280 x 800 display
  • Mobile Intel 965 Express Chipset Family
  • 8x/8x/2.4x/4x (DVD-ROM/+R/+R DL/+RW) drive
  • 24x24x10x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW) drive
  • 802.11 a/b/g
  • 1-year guarantee on-site pick up and return
  • 332mm x 240mm x 35mm
  • 2.2kg

OUR VERDICT

Although the NEC Versa S970 is reasonably priced. It's let down by the quality of its screen and the lack of case protection. Neither is it particularly easy to use due to the size of its trackpad and buttons. However, the NEC Versa S970 is easily portable, conveniently slim and well-suited to users wanting a reasonably powerful laptop that doesn't break the bank.

Find the best price