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Ultraportable laptops & Ultrabooks Reviews
15,670 Reviews

ViewSonic ViewBook 130 review

£649 inc VAT

Manufacturer: ViewSonic

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

ViewSonic's ViewBook 130 is a half-price take on the MacBook Air – but will it have only half the style, performance and build quality?

ViewSonic's ViewBook 130 is a half-price take on the MacBook Air – but will it have only half the style, performance and build quality?

ViewSonic isn't the first PC maker to take inspiration from the MacBook Air, and it probably won't be the last. But of all the copycats we've seen recently, the ViewSonic ViewBook 130 is actually one of the better examples.

Unlike some ultraportables that try to hide their girth with razor-thinned edges, the ViewSonic ViewBook 130 has more consistent rectangular sides and edges. Its body may get umistakeably thicker toward the rear - but that's handy when it comes to supporting a range of ports that would embarrass an Air.

There's HDMI and VGA video, three USB ports (usefully scattered left, right and rear), a reader for SD cards and Sony Memory Sticks, gigabit ethernet - even an ExpressCard 34 slot.

Three variants of ViewSonic ViewBook 130 are available, from the cheapest with a single-core Intel Celeron processor, to two dual-core models. We tested the top-spec ViewSonic ViewBook 130 with 1.3GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel GS45 chipset and 2GB of DDR3 RAM.

In other respects the specification remains the same between these ViewSonic ViewBook 130s, including 320GB 2.5in hard drive, wireless-n networking, and a keyboard that stands out from the crowd with its broad, flat lilly-pad keys and smooth, pleasant action.

The trackpad of the ViewSonic ViewBook 130 is said to be multi-touch, although like most Windows notebooks with pretensions of multi-touchiness, we found it a crude imitation of the tactile interface found on MacBooks.

By default, its ‘one-finger side scrolling' means whenever your finger approaches the right side, the mouse cursor freezes as it expects to take on scroll duties. We couldn't work on this pad until this feature had been deselected from the mouse control panel.

Two-finger pinch gesture recognition in particular was slow and awkward in Internet Explorer; not so bad for expanding images in Photo Viewer but still buggy and erratic.

NEXT: Manufacturer's specs vs our tests >>

ViewSonic ViewBook 130 Expert Verdict »

1.3GHz Intel Core 2 Duo ULV SU7300
3MB cache
13.3in (1366 x 768) 16:9 LED-backlit glossy LCD
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 32-bit
Intel GS45 + ICH9-M chipset
2GB (1 x 2GB) DDR3-1333 RAM
320GB 5400rpm SATA HDD
3 x USB 2.0
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
1.3Mp webcam
built-in mic
Intel GMA 4500M graphics
multi-card reader
ExpressCard 34 slot
multi-touch trackpad
1.3Mp webcam
audio in, headphone jacks
stereo speakers
31Wh removable battery
330 x 221 x 18mm
  • Build Quality: We give this item 7 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 6 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

Mock-metal plastic isn’t unusual in the sub-£1000 laptop price band but be aware that the ViewBook is trading on the prestige of a certain laptop hewn from more durable aluminium. Despite pretensions of mixing with the upmarket ultraportables, the ViewSonic ViewBook 130 is after all a relatively affordable thin ’n’ lightish notebook, and one that remains cool and mostly quiet in use. We can't help thinking that for the same money, some highly capable 15in laptops can be found elsewhere. But this 13in notebook has excellent connectivity options and slimmer style, leaving its biggest let downs an oversold touchpad and mediocre battery life.

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