capsule review

WinBook T230

At a Glance
  • WinBook T230

    PCWorld Rating

WinBook T230
Photograph: Chris Manners

The WinBook T230's balance of weight and screen size makes it an easy notebook to carry around, and it is reasonably priced at $1299 (as of May 18, 2006). It has a large hard drive, too. Unfortunately, short battery life prevents it from being the perfect travel companion.

This handsome black-and-silver notebook with hidden hinges is a compact 12.95 inches wide by 10.75 inches deep by 1 inch thick. Our test unit weighed 5.4 pounds and sported a 14.1-inch WXGA screen with 1280-by-768-pixel resolution; it's big enough for most types of work while still being small enough to open easily on an airline tray. The unit's 120GB hard drive is the second-largest available for notebooks (160GB is tops).

The T230 can easily handle mainstream tasks such as word processing and photo editing. Helped by 1GB of 533-MHz DDR2 memory and asmiddle-of-the-road 1.66-GHz Core Duo T2300 processor, our T230 test unit earned a WorldBench 5 score of 86, splitting the difference between two other 1.66-GHz-equipped notebooks we've tested--Sony's VAIO VGN-FE570G (82) and Asus's A6Jc (90).

Unfortunately, you'll need to carry along the power adapter wherever the T230 goes because the six-cell, 4800-mAH power pack lasted just over 2 hours in our tests. At least there's an external button to turn Wi-Fi on and off to help conserve power.

A DVD burner sits on the right side of the case, while a quartet of USB ports and a two-in-one memory card reader occupy the left. Microphone, headphone, and FireWire ports are conveniently located on the front of the case, and the keyboard has a comfortably springy action. Though there's little space between the mouse buttons and the front edge of the notebook, the buttons are big and easy to use.

Accessing the interior is a different matter. To reach the hard drive and two memory slots, you have to remove a large unwieldy cover that takes up most of the bottom of the notebook. I recommend that you print out the PDF page that shows where the screws that hold in the cover go before attempting a do-it-yourself upgrade.

The WinBook T230's 14.1-inch screen is just the right size for road jockeys who don't want to squint at small screens--a sweet spot that makes the T230's poor battery life all the more regrettable. It helps that the power adapter adds less than a pound to the load, but with this unit, catching a movie or getting a lot of work done in-flight isn't realistic.

Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    The light, compact WinBook would be a great travel notebook if not for its short battery life.


    • Light for a 14-inch notebook
    • Has a big hard drive


    • Short battery life
    • Access to internals is cumbersome
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