The folks at Laptop Magazine picked up a BenQ JoyBook Lite U101 netbook this week. While the mini-laptop isn’t available in the US yet, you can apparently get one in Taiwan for about $550.
At first glance, this netbook looks a lot like many other netbooks on the market today. It has a 10.2 inch display, a 1.6GHz Inte l Atom CPU, and runs Windows XP. But there are a few things that set it apart.
First, this netbook has a 16:9 aspect ratio display. That means you get 1024 x 576 pixels instead of the 1024 x 600 pixel screen that’s become standard fare on today’s netbooks. While that’s great if you’re watching HD movies which often come in a 16:9 aspect ratio, it means you do lose a few pixels that can come in handy when browsing the web or typing documents. I’d probably rather have thos pixels than the ability to make vidieo fit the screen better.
Second, the netbook has a rather snazzy odd looking cover that’s covered with emoticons. Seriously.
Third, it looks like this netbook should be really easy to upgrade. There are several access panels on the back. When you open them up, you’ll find an empty PATA/ZIF slot that you could use to add a hard drive or SSD. And there’s a spare mini PCI-e slot by the RAM which could come in handy for a 3G modem or other goodies. Of course, you’ll void your warranty by adding those parts. But hey, netbooks are cheap. Who needs a warranty? Right?
BenQ also claims that this netbook is sturdier than many others on the market, but Laptop Mag hasn’t put it through any major stress testing… yet.