ViewSonic VNB101 netbook
ViewSonic's VNB101 is a 1.1kg netbook that ultimately fails to satisfy
- Dual-booting (Windows XP and Linpus Lite), touchpad with gesture support, relatively nice design
- Audible cooling fan, only two USB 2.0 ports, awkwardly positioned SD card slot, comparatively short battery life
If you're looking for a thin and light netbook, ViewSonic's 1.1kg VNB101 does have some merit, but it also has a few drawbacks. You only get two USB 2.0 ports, its SD card slot is located in an awkward position, and its battery life was short of two hours in our tests. It does look decent, though, and it comes with a version of the Linpus Lite operating system pre-installed, in addition to Windows XP.
Price$ 699.00 (AUD)
ViewSonic's VNB101 netbook won't turn many heads, but it's a decent, albeit quirky, little laptop for users who want something small and reasonably easy to use. It runs Windows XP, but it also has a version of Linux installed that you can boot into quickly if you don't need to use anything more than Web-based applications.
It's a 10.1in notebook with a native screen resolution of 1024x600, and its specifications are nothing out of the ordinary. You get an Intel Atom N280 CPU (which runs at 1.66GHz and has a 667MHz front-side bus), 1GB of DDR2 SDRAM (it has only one slot for memory and therefore a maximum capacity of 2GB), integrated Intel GMA 950 graphics, and a 160GB SATA hard drive.
It performed slightly slowly in our tests considering it has the faster of the two popular Intel Atom CPUs (N280 as opposed to N270). It took 8min 01sec to encode 53min worth of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3s in iTunes, which is slower than we were expecting. Netbooks with a 1.66GHz CPU generally perform this task 10-25sec quicker. Nevertheless, the ViewSonic VNB101 felt responsive during our test period and it will be fine for browsing the Web, creating documents, watching downloaded videos, listening to music and viewing photos.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of the VNB101 is its built-in Linpus Lite-based operating system. This is a Linux-based operating system that resides on the hard drive. It allows you to quickly boot into a basic environment from which you can browse the Web, use Skype or log in to instant messaging accounts (via Pidgin).
ViewSonic's Linpus Lite interface for the VNB101 netbook
You can load Linpus by selecting the 'Internet, Messenger, Skype' icon from the boot-up splash screen when you first switch on the VNB101, and it takes approximately 21sec for the netbook to boot it.
There are few things about the netbook's design that aren't standard fare. It has edge-to-edge plastic on its LED backlight–based screen, which is similar to the look of the HP Mini 2140. With this design there are no edges around the screen for dust to accumulate. It's also a glossy screen, and if you watch movies on it anywhere near lights or outdoors, you will notice plenty of reflections. Another thing you'll notice is the alloy palm rest, which doesn't look too bad and feels nice and smooth.
The VNB101 netbook only has two USB 2.0 ports, with one located on the left (next to the audio ports) and the other on the right. This can be inconvenient if you ever have to plug in an external hard drive that requires two USB ports (one for power and one for data). There aren't any other ports or slots along the sides. This makes the VNB101 look very plain, rather than sleek. The rear of the netbook has a D-Sub port, a 10/100 Ethernet port, and an SD card slot.
The SD card slot is awkward to access and requires you to plug in your SD card upside down. We'd prefer if it was located on one of the sides.
The keyboard has keys that are 16.5mm wide, and none of them are in awkward positions. The keyboard bounces slightly when you hit the keys, which is annoying, but overall it's a reasonably comfortable keyboard to type on. The touchpad is big (7.5x4.2cm), and it supports gestures. You can zoom in or out by pinching your fingers and you can also rotate photos and flick backwards and forwards through a series of photos in Windows.
At 28mm, the VNB101 is approximately the same thickness as most other 10in netbooks on the market, but it has tapered edges that make it look a little thinner at the front. It weighs just 1.1kg. There are vents on the bottom of the chassis near the hard drive and RAM, and there is also a vent on the spine that works in conjunction with a fan to keep the CPU cool. It does make noticeable noise (it's probably the loudest netbook fan we've encountered), but the overall result is that the netbook's base (even the battery) stays relatively cool even after it's been working for almost a couple of hours.
The battery is located under the base of the VNB101, rather than on the spine, and it's a slim and light 3400mAh (milliamp hour) battery that's based on lithium-ion polymer technology. ViewSonic says it can last 20 per cent longer than competing 3-cell batteries, but this claim doesn't stack up against many of the 3-cell netbooks we've tested.
The VNB101 lasted 1hr 57min in our video rundown test, in which we disable power management, enable the wireless radio and maximise the screen brightness. This is short of the 2hr 10min we saw from the Acer Aspire One AOD150 and the 2hr 24min we saw from the ASUS Eee PC S101H, for example. However, it lasted 15 per cent longer than the MSI Wind U123T, which recorded a time of 1hr 43min in the same test. Nevertheless, the VNB101's battery life did fall slightly short of our expectations.
With an RRP of $699, the ViewSonic VNB101 is priced at the same level as many of the other notebooks in its class. It's not a bad netbook overall, but it's not as refined as its competitors. It has a slightly shorter battery life; it only has two USB 2.0 ports (most netbooks have three); it has a relatively loud fan; and its SD card memory slot is located in an awkward position. It does have some redeeming features: the (limited) Linpus Lite operating system, a weight of 1.1kg, a touchpad with gesture support, and a reasonably vibrant physical design.
Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu
Join the newsletter!
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Apple iPhone X
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
cloudandco Smart Cane
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Toys for Boys
Google Daydream View VR Headset
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Bose SoundLink Micro
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Xbox One X
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 LG 65E7T Ultra HD OLED TV review: The South Korean thoroughbred is still first past the post
- 2 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 3 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 4 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 5 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
Latest News Articles
- CES 2018: Everything Announced By ASUS
- CES 2018: Everything Announced By Dell
- macOS High Sierra ‘root’ security issue allows admin access to your Mac—but there's a fix
- Acer attempts to woo Australian gamers with reveal of its new Predator range
- Lenovo ThinkPad celebrates 25 years of cutting edge technology
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- CES 2018: Belkin go big on wearables accessories and wireless charging
- OPPO Load Up A73 Smartphone With Flagship Features
- CES 2018
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTBackend Java DevelopersNSW
- FTKnowledge AnalystOther
- FTEducation/Training OfficerNSW
- FT.Net DeveloperACT
- FTSCADA Project MaanagerOther
- FTSales/Account Manager - Government SectorNSW
- CCBusiness Project ManagerNSW
- CCReporting AnalystNSW
- FTLinux System AdministratorVIC
- FTLead Business AnalystOther
- CCSecurity Operations SpecialistQLD
- CCNetwork Engineer - Aruba/PaloAltoWA
- FTBusiness Analyst - HR RosteringOther
- CCJava Developers wanted (Melbourne CBD location)VIC
- CCJunior to Mid Level Java Developer - BankingVIC
- CCPresales Network Solution ArchitectWA
- FTPenetration TesterNSW
- FTTest Analyst - AGILE- CMS/Digital/Web projectsOther
- FTUX Design Manager (Urgent!!)Other
- TPIT Project ManagerQLD
- TPSenior Project Manager - ApplicationsQLD
- FTProject ManagerACT
- CCJunior to Mid-level Developer - BrisbaneVIC
- FTIT Security OfficerACT