capsule review

ChemBook 2333

At a Glance
  • Chem USA ChemBook 2333

    PCWorld Rating

ChemBook 2333
Artwork: Rick Rizner

This rebranded Asus Z33Ae is plenty light and compact enough to toss in a backpack or briefcase and go. As with the Asus Z33Ae, however, the ChemBook 2333 could have better battery life and a better keyboard.

The ChemBook 2333's 3.4-pound weight includes an integrated DVD&#177;RW drive and a 12.1-inch screen. The tri-tone black, silver and gray case mirrors that of the Asus Z33Ae, and its battery life test results were similar to those of the Asus notebook: The 2333's battery lasted just 2.2 hours on one charge. As for the keyboard, the right <Shift> key--no larger than a regular alphanumeric key--is way too small. I also had trouble hitting the crowded arrow keys, which are half the size of those on a standard laptop. The 12.1-inch screen is plenty bright.

The 2333 is speedy, thanks to a 1.86-GHz Pentium M 750 processor and the generous 768MB of RAM that came with our $1479 test unit. The combination helped our unit earn a WorldBench score of 82.

Beyond basic connections, the 2333 has a FireWire port but no other extras such as an S-Video port or Bluetooth. You do get the same basic video-editing and slide-show-creation applications as you do with the Asus Z33Ae. A card slot that accepts Memory Sticks and SD Cards is another nice extra. Our test unit didn't include productivity applications, but Chem USA says you can purchase the notebook with Microsoft Office 2003 Small Business Edition ($230) or Pro Edition ($300).

As with the Z33Ae, the 2333 has some upgrade challenges. The difficult-to-remove memory module requires you to remove two security screws (carefully, so they don't fall into the case). Upgrading storage, though, is much easier, thanks to a modular, user-accessible compartment for the 60GB hard drive.

I loved this tri-tone portable's light weight and respectable little screen but not the cramped keyboard or short battery life

Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Rebranded version of Asus Z33Ae has a cute case but lacks a comfortable keyboard and long battery life.

    Pros

    • Lightweight and compact

    Cons

    • Keyboard is uncomfortable
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