WinBook's W series provides more screen but less bulk than you usually have to endure with a wide-screen notebook. Our test machine, the top-of-the-line $1999 W360 with an 80GB hard drive, weighed just 6.4 pounds and measured a slim 1.3 inches tall despite its 15.4-inch screen. Other highlights include a right-side fixed dual-format DVD writer, dual-band Wi-Fi, and a three-in-one reader that takes SD Card, MultiMediaCard, and Memory Stick. An upgrade-friendly notebook, the W360 offers a hard drive, memory slots, and a battery that are all easy to reach.
Like most WinBooks, the W360 is not a knock-your-socks-off multimedia machine. DVD movies play smoothly and the built-in stereo speakers emit good-quality sound, but the volume peaks quickly and the unit has no dedicated audio controls to make playing music CDs easier. We were frustrated to find that the combination keystroke for adjusting volume does not even display an on-screen meter.
The first model we received had a sticking spacebar that made us run words together. A replacement unit worked a bit better but still caused trouble when we typed. We didn't care for the one-piece mouse button; we often failed to press far enough left or right to avoid its fixed center. WinBook did not send us a print manual in time for our deadline, but the W360's on-screen manual, located somewhat inconveniently in the Windows Help and Support Center, was useful overall, including simple line drawings. A more detailed contents page and an index would have made searching easier, though.
The W360 proved to be a good, if unexciting, performer. Our unit came with Intel's new Dothan CPU, a 1.7-GHz/600-MHz Pentium M processor 735, including 512MB of 333-MHz DDR SDRAM. The black-and-silver business portable lasted 3.2 hours on one charge, a respectable time. Its WorldBench 5 score of 80 is right on the average for its class and 7 percent higher than the average figure for 1.6-GHz/600-MHz Pentium M-equipped notebooks we've tested.
A sleek, decked-out wide-screen notebook with a slim silver case, the $1999 Winbook W360 would make a classy business choice. Unfortunately, WinBook has a bug to iron out in the keyboard.
WorldBench 5 score of 80, 1.7-GHz/600-MHz Pentium M, 512MB of DDR333 SDRAM, Windows XP Professional, 15.4-inch wide-format active screen, 80GB hard drive, rewritable DVD drive, SD Card slot, built-in V.92 modem and 10/100 ethernet, 802.11g wireless, touchpad pointing device, 7.2 pounds (including AC adapter and phone cord). One-year parts and labor warranty; free unlimited 24-hour toll-free tech support.