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ViewSonic ViewBook Pro review

Alan Lu
27 Jan 2010
ViewSonic ViewBook Pro
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
679
inc VAT

Viewsonic's ViewBook Pro has a good quality display and an ExpressCard slot, but its flawed touchpad and relatively short battery life count against it.

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Specifications

13.3 in 1,280x800 display, 1.6kg, 1.3GHz Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300, 2.00GB RAM, 320GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit

Viewsonic's ViewBook Pro bears an uncanny resemblance to Toshiba's Portege R600 which costs almost twice as much. Like the Portege, it feels well-made but flexes under pressure more than we'd like. The base can also become very warm.

The ViewBook weighs just under 1.7kg, but the internal DVD writer can be removed, cutting this down to 1.5kg. A blanking plate is included, but ViewSonic plans to sell secondary batteries that will slide into this bay. These could be a necessity if you want to work away from a wall socket for long periods of time since the ViewBook lasted just over four hours in our light-use test - less than we'd expect given the low-power processor.

The ViewBook has only two USB ports, instead of three like most laptops we've seen. There's no memory card reader either, but the ExpressCard/34 slot means you could add these missing features later, although most peripherals, such as 3G modems are now USB-based. The Core 2 Duo SU7300 processor performed well in our benchmarks, although 2GB of RAM is stingy at this price.

Touchpads should require only a soft touch to work, but the ViewBook's touchpad needs firm and constant pressure which makes it unpleasant to use. It even stopped responding intermittently during our tests. In short, it's the worst touchpad we've seen on a laptop in a long time. The keyboard doesn't feels quite as firm as we'd like, but the large keys are pleasant to type on and responsive enough for working for long periods.

Unlike many most new laptops, the 13.3in screen has a 16:10, rather than 16:9, aspect ratio and has a 1,280x800 pixel resolution rather than 1,366x768. In practice, it makes little difference. ViewSonic is better known as a monitor manufacturer, so we weren't surprised to discover that the ViewBook's display had the best image quality of any ultraportable we've seen recently. It's bright with accurate colours, an even backlight and fairly wide viewing angles.

We wanted to like Viewsonic's ViewBook Pro, but its comparatively short battery life and deeply flawed touchpad let it down. Although the ViewBook has its merits, such as its great display, the flaws prevent us from seeing it as a serious contender to more established competition.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo SU7300
Processor clock speed1.3GHz
Memory2.00GB
Memory slots1
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory2GB
Size26x320x239
Weight1.6kg
SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad
Power consumption standby7W
Power consumption idle20W
Power consumption active35W

Display

Viewable size13.3 in
Native resolution1,280x800
Graphics ProcessorIntel GMA 4500M
Graphics/video portsHDMI, VGA
Graphics Memory32MB

Storage

Total storage capacity320GB
Optical drive modelLiteOn DU8A2S
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL

Ports and Expansion

USB ports2
Bluetoothyes
Wired network ports1x 10/100
Wireless networking support802.11a/n
PC Card slots1x ExpressCard/34
ModemNo
Supported memory cardsnone
Other portsnone

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
Operating system restore optionrestore disc
Software includednone
Optional extrasnone

Buying Information

Warrantytwo years collect and return
Price£679
Detailswww.viewsonic.co.uk
Supplierhttp://www.morecomputers.com