WinBook X2

Verdict: Muscle-types may find this portable actually portable. But we think the X2 could stand to shed some pounds. StaffSeptember 1, 2002
WinBook X2

Bang for Buck: 5

Street Price: $2,498
Inside: 1.2 GHz Pentium III-M, 30GB HD, 384 MB RAM, 64 MB shared-system video card
Outside: 14.1 inch display, touchpad pointing device with Jog Dial, fullsize keyboard, external 8X combo DVD/CD-RW drive
Ports: 2 USB, serial, parallel, VGA, S-video, PS/2, PC Card (Type II)
Communications: Integrated V.90 56K modem, integrated 10/100 Ethernet
Dimensions: 11.6 inches (W) x 9.4 inches (D) x 1.1 inches (H), 5.2 lbs.

Skinny: We’ve been waiting for years to review a WinBook portable. Company has built a reputation as maker of great notebooks, winning more than 360 awards in the process.

Just goes to show: be careful what you wish for. WinBook X2, while boasting some nice touches, was a big disappointment. And we mean big. By far largest portable in roundup. Weighs in at 5.2 pounds — and that’s a heavy 5.2 pounds. Worst weight distribution we’ve seen on a notebook. Felt like all there was a brick was near the back end of the machine. X2 was also one of the thicker computers in our buyer’s guide, at 1.1 inches. Needless to say, it failed our Metro North test.

To be fair, X2 was much more cutting-edge machine when first released. First smallish portable with aluminum-alloy case. And WinBook managed to pack an internal 8X DVD/CD-RW drive inside the machine. X2 also features beautiful 13.3-inch screen. But Fujitsu LifeBook includes internal optical drive, as well as large screen — and it weighs almost a pound less and has a smaller footprint.

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Excellent keyboard. Roomy, with good feel. But you need thumbs of steel to depress the mouse clickers. Plus, they make annoying clicking sound — sort of reminded us of the sound the Tin Man’s oil can made in the Wizard of Oz. While a fond memory, it’s hardly a selling point.

Like Gateway 200, Winbook X2 came with VBR (vibrating wrist rest). During MD test, sound was excellent (thanks to speakers near display), but the spinning of the disk caused the whole front end of the machine to shake.

Stamped aluminum alloy case quite fetching. That, along with bright display, internal optical drive, and roomy keyboard were only standouts about this machine. Clearly, X2 has been outstripped by more recent notebook offerings. At $2,500, this machine is overpriced — particularly for Pentium III-M processor. Company must think so, too: source tells us WinBook plans to drop price on X2 on Oct. 1. The new sticker? $1,799. That’s a considerable reduction — and will make X2 much better value.

Blurb on box says “Thin, Stylish Light”. Well, they got one right… On the bright side, the DVD player malfunctioned.

(Editor’s Note: Thin is in for notebook computers, but how about the computer makers themselves — how much cash do they keep on hand? See for yourself with the CFO PeerMetrix interactive scorecards.)

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