capsule review

WinBook W364

At a Glance
  • WinBook W364

    PCWorld Rating

    Handsome silver laptop is easy to use and features memory card reader handily placed on front of case.

WinBook W364
Artwork: Rick Rizner, John Goddard

With its serious-looking black-and-silver case and wide-screen 15.4-inch display, the WinBook W364 looks a bit heavy, but it's only 6.4 pounds without the power adapter. It's well-equipped for a $1899 laptop--it comes with a three-in-one card reader, for instance--but don't expect anything fancy or the most attractive design. We liked the decorative dimpled panel at the top of the keyboard but struggled with the sticky lid latch and the loose, ill-fitting cover over the hard drive.

A dual-layer optical drive is the highlight of this unit. The firm black keyboard allows quiet typing, but provides no scrolling or shortcut buttons. The no-gap mouse buttons seemed a little flimsy, wiggling a bit on their moorings. Status lights are in easy view in the screen hinge and bottom left edge of the keyboard. The screen's native resolution of 1280 by 800 pixels is plenty readable, although system tray icons require a bit of squinting.

WinBook throws in a composite video-out adapter for the W364's S-Video out port, a nicety many vendors don't bother with. But the most pleasant surprise the W364 brings is its built-in sound, possibly the best we've heard from WinBook. Fairly loud and rich for a laptop, it's fine for watching a movie without headphones or even for listening to music from across the room.

WinBook portables come with one thin printed manual that mostly (and annoyingly, repeatedly) refers to the Help and Support Center in Windows. Still, between these two resources, you should be able to find most of the information you need.

This WinBook falls short of the average battery life of recently tested notebooks by about an hour; it lasted about 2.5 hours before running dry. It did better in our speed tests, scoring 86 on WorldBench 5, compared with the 83 of a sibling with the same CPU, the 2-GHz Pentium M 755-equipped WinBook X540.

With its dual-layer DVD±RW drive, the WinBook W364 is a good package for the money.

Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Handsome silver laptop is easy to use and features memory card reader handily placed on front of case.

    Pros

    • Handsome design

    Cons

    • Short battery life
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