WinBook W360 &#151 Power-Packed, Wireless Mobility

Anyone looking for a powerful notebook with a price that won’t destroy the company’s bottom line will appreciate the Winbook W360 &#151 unless long-lasting battery life is the next item on the wish list. By including Intel’s new Pentium M 735 processor, Winbook’s used the first-class speedster to build a thin and portable laptop. We only wish it were just a bit lighter and that the battery lasted longer.

Features Come and Go

Back in December 2003, we tested WinBook’s first generation of W family notebooks. Compared to the W160, the W360 takes advantage of Intel’s faster 802.11b/g wireless connectivity with the Pro/Wireless 2200BG adapter. This provides a big speed boost if you travel for business and need to stay connected to the Internet. The display offers a slightly larger wide-aspect-ratio display &#151 15.4 instead of 15.2 diagonal inches, although resolution actually decreases from 1,280 by 854 to 1,280 by 800 pixels. All but the top couple of brightness settings were too dim, but the screen was clear and crisp, with vivid colors and no bad pixels in sight.

You may be bummed to find that the play, pause and other buttons along the notebook’s front edge &#151 for using the closed system as a Walkman &#151 have disappeared, although line-in, microphone, and audio jacks are there. Front edge ports for IEEE 1394 and Secure Digital/Memory Stick/MultiMedia Card slot make connecting peripherals and storing files easily accessible.

Less weight and longer battery life would perfect the WinBook W360

The left side offers modem, Ethernet, VGA, and TV-out ports and one PC Card slot. You’ll find one USB 2.0 port on the left and two more at the rear. Function-key combinations let you adjust audio volume and screen brightness and switch the 802.11g radio on and off.

Winbook made an ergonomic improvement that we’re grateful to see &#151 the W160’s flimsy-feeling, translucent white keyboard has been replaced by a less stylish but more comfortable black keyboard, with both layout and feel solidly in the B+ to A- range. The touch pad works smoothly, too, although it takes a minute to get used to the rocker-switch bar that serves as both left and right scroll buttons (no hardware scroll wheel).


Two important factors to consider when buying a notebook: how heavy is it and how long will it last before it needs a recharging?

While the WinBook isn’t too big or heavy for toting around town or through airports, it’s no subnotebook. The system measures a fraction less than 10 by 14 by 1.3 inches and weighs 6.4 pounds. But that’s a bit closer to the full-sized rather than the slim-line weight class, surprising because of its two- rather than three-spindle design (if you want a floppy drive, it’s a $99 external option). The 12-ounce AC adapter brings the total weight to seven pounds.

Simply put, the W360’s lithium-ion battery isn’t big enough to deliver truly impressive unplugged life. You can expect to watch a 90-minute DVD movie without a problem, but the most you can expect to get doing disk- and multimedia-intensive work is two-hour-and-15-minutes. A spare battery is $229.

Under the Hood

The pre-production notebook we tested combined 512MB of DDR333 memory and an 80GB, 4,200-rpm Hitachi hard disk with the venerable, relatively slow (1X write) Matsushita UJ-811 DVD-RW drive. WinBook says W360 production models will include a faster DVD+RW burner. In addition to Windows XP Professional, the software package includes InterVideo’s WinDVD 4 and the starter version of Norton AntiVirus 2004.

And since all work and no play make Jack &#151 or anyone else for that matter &#151 a dull person, the W360 uses ATI’s 64MB Mobility Radeon 9600 controller for speedy, DirectX 9-compatible game play. It’s no match for the latest $400 desktop cards, of course, but the ATI setup helps the WinBook power through a Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory demo and Unreal Tournament 2003.

In short, we wish the W360 weighed a bit less and offered a longer battery life. But it’s a fine choice for anyone who needs wireless, mobile computing and doesn’t require a lot of time away from the AC adapter. If you’re in the market for a wireless notebook to use in your office, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better choice. The WinBook W360 should be available in June for $1,999.


  • Powerful Pentium M performance
  • Improved wireless speed
  • Great 3-D graphics
  • A 15.4-inch wide-screen display
  • Cons:

  • A pound or two heavy for true thin-and-light status
  • Adequate but not remarkable battery life
  • Adapted from

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