Benq Joybook Lite U121

Jayesh Shinde 2009-11-12
PCWorld No.5 Mainstream Netbooks
78 Good
Price: Rs 22,900

Full Review

Part of Benq's Eco series, the Joybook Lite U121 bears a strikingly resemblance to its 10-inch sibling, the Joybook Lite U101. The 11.6-inch glossy screen supports a widescreen resolution of 1366x768 pixels, and it has a 16:9 aspect ratio. The widescreen aspect ratio is especially useful for watching movies in widescreen format, for example high-definition movies. The Joybook U121's screen itself is LED-backlit and has good horizontal viewing angles--vertical viewing angles aren't great.

A 1.3-megapixel webcam and microphone are nestled together on the top screen bezel. The Joybook U121's build quality is pretty good for a netbook, and it weighs 1.4-kg--decent for a 12-inch netbook. Also, it's very upgrade-friendly--the RAM and hard drive are compartmentalized separately.

The U121's keyboard is fractionally smaller than a proper 14-inch laptop. The keys are nice to work with, and so is the touchpad.

The Joybook Lite U121 is powered off an Intel Atom Z520 1.33-GHz processor--similar to the one you find on the Acer Aspire One 751h. Pair it with 1GB of DDR2 RAM and a 160GB hard drive, and you have the U121's configuration which isn't any different from most netbooks available in the market. It has Draft-N Wi-Fi but no Gigabit Ethernet--although desirable, it isn't quite a deal-breaker. Three USB ports, a multicard reader, two audio ports, and a VGA-out and are all standard--no complains here.

The Joybook Lite U121's performance is in line with other netbooks we've tested. Its WorldBench 6 score of 27 is no doubt low in comparison to the Acer Aspire One 751h's 29 or the Asus Eee PC 1000HE's 36, but we had no problem browsing the Web on Firefox with multiple tabs open over Wi-Fi, and tune into some music while at it. Onboard speakers aren't great, we recommend headphones. Working with office productivity apps also went without much complaint.

But its USP without any doubt is the larger screen and keyboard. After working on the Joybook Lite U121's slightly larger keyboard, keyboards on netbooks with 10-inch form factor feel smaller and compromised. The U121's keyboard is fractionally smaller than a proper 14-inch laptop. The keys are nice to work with, and so is the touchpad. The slightly larger screen also helps accommodate more tabs while browsing the Web on your favorite browser, and working with spreadsheets. Similarly, its six-cell battery lasted 4 hours 43 minutes in BatteryEater's test. This is lesser compared to Acer Aspire One 751h and Asus Eee PC 1000HE, but still very good.

Bottom Line

For Rs. 22,990, the Benq Joybook Lite U121 is cheaper than a 10-inch netbook--the HP Mini 110-1018tu we reviewed last month, for example. Yet it offers larger screen and keyboard in comparison, and considerably better battery life. This isn't quite the best 11.6-inch netbook out there, but still a pretty sweet deal.

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