Thursday, December 18, 2008

BenQ Joybook Lite Part 1


Again, another netbook landed in my hands after HP Mini 2133. It was handed to me right after the purchase at recent PC Fair @ KLCC Convention Center. Not a gift (I wished!), not for technical support, but for me to blog! Ha! I didn't ask for it, but my friend knew it's my hobby to discover new gadget though, even it does not belong to me. ;)

Let's start with the solo show by BenQ Joybook Lite...

The front cover...


It's not a plain color. It has some unique design. Look at this screen first...


Total of 13 emoticons. If you can't figure out the words from the emoticons, this screen should tell you...


Now look at the screen closer (click to enlarge), follow the short arrow then the long one...


This is the design all about. At least it's something unique in the market 'cause there's no other netbook has such design. Further, the emoticons match the theme of the netbook, Joybook. Not only for visual pleasant, my friend and I were assured by the brochure and sales representative that the emoticon cover can withstand 50kg of pressure before it breaks and cracks. As far as I know, no such assurance from other netbook makers including my lovely MSI Wind.

Turn to the back...


It features 2 compartments for easy access. The big one is for RAM, a single DDR2 slot for RAM upgrade. The smaller compartment over the top of the big compartment is for optional Solid State Disk SSD...


Now the left side...


Power connector, fan and ventilator, VGA out and an USB port. And the right side...


A 4-in-1 card reader, headphone and mic jack, 2 USB ports, LAN port and a K-lock.

No surprises, the spec is pretty standard for netbook nowadays.


(click to enlarge)

Like other netbooks such as MSI Wind U100, HP 1000 series 1001TU, Asus 1000H and Dell Mini 12, BenQ Joybook houses an Intel Atom N270 1.6GHz CPU, 1.3MP webcam, loaded with Windows XP Home Edition and more detailed spec at its official site. One thing unique in Joybook among other netbooks is its LED screen compared to LCD screen on other netbooks. It claims to have 8ms response time, better brightness and contrast and consumes lesser power than LCD screen. I must admit the screen does look sharper and crisper than my MSI Wind. No photos for comparison, I took but the difference wasn't obvious.

Talk about Wind reminds me the overclock feature in Wind's BIOS. I powered up the Joybook, gosh! The POST startup was darn quick that I missed 3 times before I managed to read from the screen that press "F2 to enter the BIOS". Imagine the BenQ logo screen sprints off to the Windows logo screen even before it fully printed itself on all the pixels on the screen! Thumbs up!


(click to enlarge)

Further confirmed the spec. The Joybook has a total of 512MB built-on-board RAM and it was topped with 2GB RAM stick upon purchase and sum up a total displayed on the screen. No SSD but a 160GB SATA I harddisk. Go to the Advanced screen, only 4 options but no overclock feature. The first drawback that I discovered, the frame buffer size which is for graphic performance is limited to 128MB. Since it supports a maximum of 2GB RAM, this limits should be removed and allow the system to dynamically allocate the amount. Remote Power On is actually the Wake On LAN WOL feature. Simply, connect the Joybook to a wired network and you can remotely wake up the Joybook by sending a special command. Question is, how useful is this feature since it's Joybook "Lite" that often people will just carry along with them wherever they go, plus who is gonna use wired LAN with wireless network is so common now? Anyway, an unused feature is better than a non-existence feature that you might find it useful one day.

Boot it up to Windows...


Looks like a blue themed netbook with blue top cover, blue Windows logon screen, blue LED indicators and blue power button.

Frankly, I never liked and skeptical on BenQ products, but this Joybook Lite changed my impression on BenQ. In term of spec, it's identical to Wind and better than other big names like HP (PATA/IDE harddisk on Mini 1001TU) and Dell (maximum 1GB RAM on Mini 12). In term of design, it wins hands down to Lenovo S10 and Asus 1000H which was the target of my friend when shopping in PC Fair. The 10.1" screen quality is comparable to the screen of HP Mini 2133 and better among other netbooks like MSI Wind, though it's 0.1" smaller than Wind's 10.2". Build quality is quite impressive and feel more durable than Asus 1000H, the plastic doesn't feel fragile and plasticky at all that you worry you might break it easily when open the lid. Hand holding feel is also very solid.

Lastly, the package comes with a black Targus slipcase with BenQ label...


It's a double-sided slipcase which I believe it's designed to fit both male's and female's preference. Flip it over to have a brighter purple color...


To be continued...