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