Thin and light computers aren’t just made by Apple
The Viewbook Pro not only resembles Apple's Macbook Pro in name, but borrows some design ideas from it too.
Its slim chassis is built from strong but light aluminium, it comes with a bright 13.3in widescreen display, spaced-out keys and a multi-touch trackpad. The specifications of the computer are reasonable: it uses a low-voltage dual-core processor, which helps increase battery life, with 2GB of memory and, a 320GB hard disk, and it comes with the Windows 7 Home Premium operating system.
Similar thin laptops tend to lack a DVD drive, but, surprisingly, Viewsonic has managed to squeeze one into the Viewbook Pro. It also has a memory card reader, two USB sockets and two video outputs to connect it to an external display, so it can connect to devices with either HDMI or VGA connections.
It may only be slightly bigger than a mini-notebook or netbook computer, but the Viewbook Pro is more powerful and more pleasant to use than a netbook – but it’s also considerably more expensive. It has a larger, higher-resolution screen, which is better for working on, and the computer is powerful enough to allow it to play high-definition video in the best and most taxing resolution of 1080p. While it copes with that and with light video editing, though, it's still no powerhouse, and its graphics aren’t really good enough for 3D games.
Unfortunately this otherwise excellent laptop has one minor flaw that made it feel cheaper than it is. The entire keyboard flexed or bent with only moderate pressure on the keys, which isn't a major problem, but it on a computer this expensive we would have expected a more rigid build. On our test unit, the screen also suffered from a minor flaw – one of the pixels in the top-left was stuck, which resulted in a tiny green dot persisting throughout whatever else was on screen. This can happen with any flat-panel display, and it’s quite rare, although Viewsonic informed us that such a flaw wouldn’t qualify it for a replacement under the warranty.
Apart from that, the attractive design, curved edges, and slim shape are aesthetically appealing, a quality sometimes forgotten by designers of Windows laptops, which tend to be very much function-over-form.
Viewsonic reckons on an impressive eight-hour maximum battery life. Our own battery test pushed the laptop to its limit and managed three and a half hours from a single charge, which isn't a bad achievement, so if you're only surfing the web or editing office documents, expect something between this and the quoted time.
Like the Macbook Pro, the Viewbook Pro is a high-quality laptop that isn’t for everyone – while it is considerably more expensive than similarly sized computers, it’s well built and impressively powerful.
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Nicely portable computer, with respectable battery life and good looks Good points Decent battery life; impressive screen quality; thin and light; powerful processor Bad points Keyboard felt cheap; relatively expensive
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