capsule review

WinBook C120

At a Glance
  • WinBook C-120

WinBook C120
Artwork: Rick Rizner, John Goddard

WinBook's C120 is both good-looking and functional, and at $1249 it's attractively priced. Though its deep keyboard gives it a big footprint, it weighs just 6 pounds and measures a fairly slim 1.5 inches thick. WinBook left out a parallel port, but you get three USB ports, a FireWire port, and--positioned front and center--a memory card reader that takes SmartMedia, SD (Secure Digital), and Memory Stick (although not the increasingly less popular CompactFlash). We also liked the DVD burner located on the right side of the case.

Touch typists should approve of the C120's sensibly arranged keyboard. It's a tad springy, but quiet and easy to type on. Augmenting it is a wide, stylish, and functional touchpad, with curved mouse buttons that are bisected by a four-way scrolling pad.

A top performer, the 1.4-GHz/600-MHz Pentium M-equipped C120 lasted 4.75 hours on one battery charge and ran like a notebook equipped with a faster processor: Its PC WorldBench 4 score of 122 is about average for notebooks carrying the faster 1.6-GHz/600-MHz Pentium chip.

Though the C120's stereo speakers are relatively weak (as with most notebooks, you're better off with headphones), a row of audio-control buttons are nicely located on the front of this portable's case--they're handy for playing music CDs, even when the notebook is turned off. You can also use the buttons to launch applications and activate wireless 802.11b scanning when the notebook is up and running. However, it would have been nice to have a dedicated volume control dial; to change volume levels when the notebook is turned on, you have to use combination keystrokes or a software utility.

Another small gripe: The C120's battery takes up the rear of the unit, forcing all the connections to the sides and front, which might be inconvenient on a crowded desk.

WinBook remains one of the few vendors to provide comprehensive printed and electronic user manuals. The print documentation excels in helpful tips; its electronic counterpart, found in the Windows Help and Support center, is easy to search on the run.

Quick, modestly priced, and nicely appointed, the C120 is an attractive road-ready notebook for business travelers on a budget.

Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • WinBook C-120

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