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Viewsonic ViewBook 130 review

Barry de la Rosa
15 Feb 2010
Viewsonic ViewBook 130
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
468
inc VAT

A thin and elegant ultra-portable, it's let down by poor performance and short battery life.

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Specifications

13.3 in 1,366x768 display, 1.5kg, 1.3GHz Intel Celeron M ULV 743, 4.00GB RAM, 320GB disk, Windows 7 Starter 32-bit

If you're looking for something a bit bigger than a netbook, but can't afford a full-on ultra-portable, Viewsonic's ViewBook 130 could be of interest. This 13.3in laptop weighs 1.5kg, so it's light enough to carry around all day.

The cost has been kept down by using a budget processor, a 1.3GHz Intel Celeron M ULV 743. As you can tell from the model name, the processor is an ultra-low voltage (ULV) model, meaning that it uses less power than a traditional laptop.

In turn this should mean that battery life is improved, but this wasn't so and the ViewBook lasted for just three hours in our light-usage test. It's disappointing that such a small and light laptop can't last for more than a few hours away from a power socket.

Longer battery life could help us overlook the Celeron processor's main shortcoming: this single-core processor struggles when running multiple powerful applications, as you can see from the multi-tasking score of 2; this is worse score than from a netbook, as those laptops use Atom processors with Hyper-Threading. Standard performance when running basic applications, such as an office suite or image editor, is much better.

The rest of the laptop is actually pretty good. The 13.3in widescreen display gives the ViewBook the perfect compromise between size and portability, with plenty of room for keyboard; netbooks, in comparison, often have cramped keyboards.

Our first impressions of the keyboard were good, as it has large keys and a standard layout, with a double-height Enter key and space on the right for page navigation keys. However, the keys themselves are a bit wobbly and have a very light action, which reduces feedback for touch-typists. The touchpad is small but responsive, with a light action on the see-saw button. Pressing the button firmly reveals some flex in the case, but it's nothing to worry about.

The display has a resolution of 1,366x768 offers a decent amount of desktop space. A glossy coating helps improve contrast and colour vibrancy, although it will make the screen harder to see under bright light. The backlight was a little uneven and vertical viewing angles are tight, although this latter drawback's not so much of a problem when the laptop's only big enough for a single person to view the display.

HD content stored on the laptop's 320GB hard disk (there's no optical drive)can be decoded by the Intel GMA 4500 graphics and displayed on an external monitor or TV using the laptop's HDMI output. The graphics chip's no good for games, though, and wouldn't even run our Call of Duty 4 test.

There's a decent complement of three USB ports conveniently distributed around the case, as well as a VGA output and network port. A memory card reader makes it simple to copy photos from a digital camera, while the ExpressCard/34 slot gives you upgrade options, such as adding a TV tuner.

Viewsonic's ViewBook 130 is a decent 13.3in netbook, but it's let down by its poor battery life. Acer's 11.6in Aspire Timeline AS1810TZ-413G25N is £30 cheaper, has a dual-core processor and its battery lasted for more than nine hours; it's the better buy.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
ProcessorIntel Celeron M ULV 743
Processor clock speed1.3GHz
Memory4.00GB
Memory slots1
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory2GB
Size18x330x220mm
Weight1.5kg
SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad

Display

Viewable size13.3 in
Native resolution1,366x768
Graphics ProcessorIntel GMA 4500M
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory32MB

Storage

Total storage capacity320GB
Optical drive modelN/A
Optical drive typeN/A

Ports and Expansion

USB ports3
Bluetoothyes
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slots1x ExpressCard/34
ModemNo
Supported memory cardsSD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro
Other portsminijack audio output, minijack microphone input

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 7 Starter 32-bit
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includednone
Optional extrasnone

Buying Information

Warrantytwo years RTB
Price£468
Detailswww.viewsonic.co.uk
Supplierhttp://www.lambda-tek.com/componentshop