BenQ Joybook R55VU

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BenQ Joybook R55VU
  • BenQ Joybook R55VU
  • BenQ Joybook R55VU
  • BenQ Joybook R55VU

Pros

  • Good battery life, excellent display

Cons

  • Performance slightly disappointing

Bottom Line

An excellent display and reasonably good battery life make the BenQ Joybook R55VU a decent option for those after a media notebook, but do note that its performance indicates it isn't up to more demanding tasks.

Would you buy this?

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Sporting a metallic blue colour scheme and a 15.4in widescreen display, BenQ's Joybook R55VU is an average but not outstanding entry level notebook. Its specifications are quite low end and it offers performance to match, but the big screen and relatively impressive battery life make it a decent alternative for those who want to watch media on the road.

The R55VU is an entry-level unit, illustrated by its 1.73GHz Intel T2250 Core 2 Duo processor, 1GB of RAM and onboard Intel graphics processor. These specifications aren't anything special although they will adequately run most basic desktop and office tasks.

The score of 62 in our World Bench 6 test is not unexpected. World Bench tests a machine by running it through a suite of basic applications designed to simulate an average workload. This score is a little below what we were anticipating, but not by much. It shows that while regular office applications will run fine on this system, more complex tasks such as encoding should be taken elsewhere. Similarly, with only onboard graphics, the R55VU won't be running any of the latest games.

The R55VU performed considerably better in terms of battery life. We performed our standard battery run down, which involves looping a DVD movie, with sound playing, until the battery is exhausted. This is extremely demanding as it utilises the core components of the system, as well as the screen and speakers. The R55VU lasted 110 minutes in this test, which is just about enough to watch a full length feature film.

The other selling point of this unit is its 15.4in widescreen display. It is an excellent quality screen, offering bright, vibrant colours and good black levels. We found the viewing angle to be particularly noteworthy, and this is great for media watching, as it means multiple people can watch films on the display at once.

While the performance related specifications might be a little light, be sure to note that BenQ hasn't skimped in other areas. All the usual connectivity options are present, including four USB 2.0 ports, FireWire, line-in and line-out connections as well as VGA and S-Video for external monitor or projector connection. For networking there is a gigabyte Ethernet port, 56k modem, and both Bluetooth 2.0 and 802.11 a/b/g wireless support.

Also included is an 80GB, 5400RPM hard drive, and if you manage to fill that up a DVD-RW drive is present to help burn your data to disc. As with most modern notebooks, the R55VU comes with a copy of Windows Vista Business Edition.

Aesthetically, the R55VU is quite nice, with a slightly unusual blue/silver colour scheme. It looks good and should suit those after a slightly more 'fun' styled device. The keyboard is well spaced out and comfortable to type on and we found the touchpad to be responsive. There are three shortcut keys in the top left hand corner, next to the power button; one for email, one for the internet browser and one to switch wireless on and off.

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