Benq Joybook Lite U101, steams into the front-running for cheap 10.2in netbooks

 

It's not widely available, but with this battery life on offer the BenQ Joybook Lite U101 should be

BenQ have been all quiet on the laptop front in recent years. You would be lucky to find them at small computer stores, and they definitely weren’t in evidence at major department stores.

So when BenQ visited the labs a couple of months ago, just as they were preparing to launch a new all-in-one Atom system called nScreen, we were surprised to hear that their netbook had been selling quite well. Then we asked if we could take a look at one. 

“It’s not widely available,” said BenQ’s product manager, who has since moved to Samsung to be part of their newly-formed IT team. This bodes well for the appearance of Samsung laptops on Australian shores in the near future, but left us without a netbook. 

Fortunately, the lovely folk at Anyware came through, sending us one to take a look at. And we’re very glad they did. Although the BenQ Joybook looks like a clone of some of the cheaper netbooks, it stands out in a number of ways.

The first of those standout features is the battery life. We’ve been seeing more and more 6-cell batteries on netbooks as executives realise that lugging a 1kg netbook to conference and taking a day’s worth of notes is far simpler than lugging a heftier, far more expensive laptop. And the average netbook battery life is equal to many standard laptops, with a few models going much better.

The unchallenged leader in that regard so far has been the 8.9in EeePC 901, at 8hrs 13mins for our Light Use test and a phenomenal 4hrs 43mins in our intensive use test. 10.2in models with that kind of battery life haven’t appeared, although the recent MSI Wind 120H managed a creditable 6 hours of Light Use.

But the BenQ steams into the front-running for 10.2in netbooks. Its 7hrs 47mins in our Light Use battery benchmark is nothing short of astonishing, and it manages an excellent 3hrs 57mins on our punishing Intensive Use testing too, running PhotoShop, encoding music and video and crunching massive spreadsheets simultaneously for that entire four hour block. 

If all you care about is battery life, then it might be tempting to choose the EeePC 901, regardless. But before you do, it’s worth considering how the BenQ stacks up in other areas. Apart from the larger 10.2in 1024 x 576 backlit screen, the BenQ offers a 160GB hard disk, compared to the 901’s 20GB SSD. The BenQ also performs about 10% better in our benchmarks than the 901, and its score of 0.43 equals the best performing netbooks we’ve seen.

When it comes to connectivity, the two models are practically identical. Both have an 802.11n wireless module and a Bluetooth adapter to extend the appeal to those on the move. The physical ports are also identical, so you get VGA, three USB ports, Ethernet and a 4-in-1 memory card reader.

But that’s where the other standout features come in, like the great build quality, for example. The BenQ flexes under pressure, but shows no warping or serious bending. The keyboard and mouse, too, are better than the EeePC – more like the Aspire One, as well as being around 92% of a full-size keyboard, providing more comfort while typing for most people. The lid helps it look more like a traditional laptop, with patterning and a choice of colours (royal blue, black, silver or pink).

It weighs in at 1.3kg, compared to the 1.1kg of the EeePC 901, and it comes only with Windows XP – with the EeePC 901 you can choose between Windows XP or Linux. But given the increased usability and excellent battery life, the BenQ JoyBook comes out just ahead and is the best performing 10.2in netbook we’ve seen so far.

It’s a rare thing when a product completely lives up to its name, but the BenQ JoyBook Lite manages to do exactly that. At $583, a mere 1.3kg and with 8hours maximum battery life, this is one netbook we’re happy to recommend.

 


Benq Joybook Lite U101, steams into the front-running for cheap 10.2in netbooks
 
Performance:
Features & Design:
Value for money:
Overall Rating
Product Info
Supplier:
 
Price when reviewed:
AUD$583
 
 
 
Top Stories
Frugality as a service: the Amazon story
Behind the scenes, Amazon Web Services is one lean machine.
 
Negotiating with the cloud email megavendors
[Blog post] Lessons from Woolworths’ mammoth migration.
 
Qld govt to move up to 149k staff onto Office 365
Australia's largest deployment, outside of the universities.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...

Latest VideosSee all videos »

The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
Scott Noteboom, CEO of LitBit speaking at The Australian Data Centre Strategy Summit 2014 in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. http://bit.ly/1qpxVfV Scott Noteboom is a data centre engineer who led builds for Apple and Yahoo in the earliest days of the cloud, and who now eyes Asia as the next big opportunity. Read more: http://www.itnews.com.au/News/372482,how-do-we-serve-three-billion-new-internet-users.aspx#ixzz2yNLmMG5C
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
To COTS or not to COTS? iTnews asks Karl Maftoum, CIO of the ACMA, at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
AEMO chief information officer Susan Sly calls for more collaboration among Australia's technology leaders at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Credit Union Australia's David Gee awarded Finance CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards.
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Damon Rees named Retail CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Woolworths.
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Acting Foxtel CIO David Marks accepts an iTnews Benchmark Award on behalf of Robyn Elliott.
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Sanjay Mehta named Industrial CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at ConocoPhillips.
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Greg Wells named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at NSW Health.
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
William Confalonieri named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Deakin University.
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
David Johnson named Government CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at the Queensland Police Service.
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott discuss the Coalition's broadband policy with the press.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
The Australian Federal Police have arrested a Sydney-based IT security professional for hacking a government website.
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO Chrissy Burns talks data.
New UTS Building: the IT within
New UTS Building: the IT within
The IT behind tomorrow's universities.
iTnews' NBN Panel
iTnews' NBN Panel
Is your enterprise NBN-ready?
Introducing iTnews Labs
Introducing iTnews Labs
See a timelapse of the iTnews labs being unboxed, set up and switched on! iTnews will produce independent testing of the latest enterprise software to hit the market after installing a purpose-built test lab in Sydney. Watch the installation of two DL380p servers, two HP StoreVirtual 4330 storage arrays and two HP ProCurve 2920 switches.
The True Cost of BYOD
The True Cost of BYOD
iTnews' Brett Winterford gives attendees of the first 'Touch Tomorrow' event in Brisbane a brief look at his research into enterprise mobility. What are the use cases and how can they be quantified? What price should you expect to pay for securing mobile access to corporate applications? What's coming around the corner?
Ghost clouds
Ghost clouds
ACMA chair Chris Chapman says there is uncertainty over whether certain classes of cloud service providers are caught by regulations.
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Privacy experts David Vaile (UNSW Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre) and Craig Scroggie (CEO, NextDC) claim they were not surprised by the Snowden leaks about the NSA's PRISM program.
Latest Comments
Polls
Which bank is most likely to suffer an RBS-style meltdown?





   |   View results
ANZ
  21%
 
Bankwest
  9%
 
CommBank
  11%
 
National Australia Bank
  17%
 
Suncorp
  24%
 
Westpac
  19%
TOTAL VOTES: 1461

Vote