capsule review

WinBook W535

At a Glance
  • WinBook W535

    PCWorld Rating

    With short battery life but a great keyboard and screen, the WinBook W535 is a decent budget notebook.

WinBook W535
Artwork: Rick Rizner, Chris Manners

The sturdy 6.1-pound W535, which costs $1300, is standard WinBook fare: It's a nice mainstream notebook with a few compromises, notably in this case the relatively short battery life of just 2 hours. Almost every other notebook in its price range lasts longer on one charge.

Its performance was typical. Our 1.73-GHz Pentium M 740-equipped test model with 512MB of RAM earned a WorldBench 5 score of 74, just a bit behind the average score of 76 from other notebooks we've tested with the same processor.

The unit is nicely designed overall; more than anything, it's comfortable. The 15.4-inch wide screen with WXGA resolution is perfect for conventional work, with big icons that prevent eyestrain. The large keyboard is well arranged and loaded with convenience features, including a touchpad lock, a Wi-Fi switch, and quick-launch application keys. Front buttons turn the notebook into a stand-alone CD player with decent-sounding speakers. (The W535 doesn't include movie playback in stand-alone mode, however.) Discs are easy to remove from the optical drive (a multiformat DVD burner in our review unit), thanks to the oversize eject button. The only flaw is that four of the five USB ports are on the back, where they're hard to reach. I also found memory upgrades a bit tedious.

The manual neglects to mention that you have to remove the hard drive before tackling a large, irregularly shaped bottom panel held in by ten small screws. Replacing everything in the proper sequence is like a jigsaw puzzle.

With short battery life but a great keyboard and screen, the WinBook W535 is a decent budget notebook.

Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    With short battery life but a great keyboard and screen, the WinBook W535 is a decent budget notebook.

    Pros

    • Moderately priced; nice keyboard

    Cons

    • Short battery life
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