Nec's New Frill Filled Notebooks

As companies such as Dell Computer Corp. and Compaq Computer Corp. announce yet another round of price cuts, some PC makers are still hoping to attract buyers by cramming lots of features into their machines and providing more customer service. The latest company to try this strategy is NEC Technologies Inc.

On Mar. 8, the Boxborough (Mass.) subsidiary of the Japanese giant announced its latest notebooks, dubbed the UltraLite Versa series. Versa computers use an 80486SL microprocessor from Intel Corp., a special power-miser version of the 80486DX chip found in most desktop computers and also features such new technology as the "local bus," which speeds up performance. What's more, the notebook is built on a modular design, so buyers will be able to upgrade major components. For example, the company says it will offer a replacement screen that accepts pen input. On the service front, NEC is adding a three-year warranty with free, two-day repair service during the first year. Versas won't be cheap: from $2,659 to $4,539, depending on options.

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