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NEC has made its entry into the Small, Cheap Computer arena with a machine we hope is fashioned in a spirit of retro.

The LaVie Light certainly has the look of one of those 'brick' notebooks from yesteryear. Had NEC dropped the trackpad and brought the keyboard forward over the wrist-rest area, the machine would have been a dead ringer for the Compaq laptop we were using in 1989.

NEC LaVie Light

NEC's LaVie Light: retro 'brick' styling

But we suspect that's not NEC's intention.

The Light's spec is a netbook-standard 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 processor; 8.9in 1024 x 600 LED-backlit display; 160GB hard drive; and 802.11b/g Wi-Fi. The trackpad supports multi-touch input and gestures.

The chunky - by today's standards - box measures 250 x 177 x 31-37mm and weighs 1.17kg. To be fair to NEC, the company's is pitching the machine at corporates looking for a less stylish, more resilient offering than the usual run of SCCs aimed at consumers.

The LaVie Light went on sale in Japan this weekend. It comes with Windows XP pre-installed. NEC hasn't said when or if it'll be available over here.

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