BenQ Australia Joybook S32W-PV14
- SRS audio, Design
- Screen's viewing angle, Internal speakers
We like the new look and it's a reasonable performer, but we were disappointed by the speakers and the poor viewing angle on the screen. Ultimately this notebook is pleasant to use, but leaves you wondering what more it could have offered.
Price$ 1,899.00 (AUD)
It would seem almost blasphemous, given the current trends, for BenQ to release its new Joybook S32W (PV14) without first re-inventing the Joybook image from scratch. While it may not be a hotrod of the notebook scene, the S32W makes up in style what it lacks in power, and this 13.3in-screen form factor is slowly becoming the new black of portable notebook design.
That said there's nothing black about the Joybook S32W itself. The white theme of the lid and bottom is carried through to the keyboard, which is composed of white, semi-transparent keys and the surrounding area is also a clean white. Its white touchpad even sports a funky wave pattern.
The S32W uses a new Core 2 Duo T7250 2.0GHz mid-range CPU with an 800MHz front side bus and a 2MB L2 cache from Intel's latest Centrino platform, but was let down in our benchmarks by only 1GB of DDR2 RAM. BenQ has opted to use the onboard Intel graphics chip instead of installing a dedicated graphics card from NVIDIA or ATI. Gamers won't get much use out of the S32W, but the Intel X3100 graphics processor is fine for watching movies and handles the Windows Vista Aero interface well. Windows Vista Home Premium edition has been installed in this model.
Also on offer is a 1.3 megapixel Webcam, SRS virtual surround sound and a screen capture button above the keyboard. A 120GB hard drive is included along with a DVD re-writer for additional storage. The speakers offer a limited volume range, but the SRS feature gives them a little boost. The audio is far from crisp but will suffice for the basics. We did note that using SRS when the S32W was connected to a home theatre gave a much bigger and fuller sound. This makes a large difference when you want to use the notebook as a media player in conjunction with your TV or sound system.
The screen has a maximum resolution of 1280 x 800 and offers reasonable brightness and contrast, but we were a little disappointed by the poor viewing angle. Viewing the screen from sharp vertical angles or from the side becomes difficult. In particular, watching movies with more than one viewer isn't a comfortable experience. It's a common problem with budget and mid-range notebooks, so it was to be expected, however, that doesn't make it any less irritating.
In our benchmarks it didn't stand out of the crowd, but still showed promise, scoring 65 in WorldBench 6. With this result we'd expect it to work comfortably for most day-to-day tasks like emailing and word processing, Web surfing and a bunch of media related tasks, but applications like Adobe Photoshop may not run as smoothly. However, the 2.0GHz processor is a reasonable piece of hardware and we feel that a 1GB RAM upgrade would improve the unit's performance - should you need it in the future.
This was made clearer by our MP3 encoding tests, in which the CPU performed reasonably well. The S32W took just 87 seconds to convert 53 minutes of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3 files in iTunes and 130 seconds in Cdex; both scores are a step above the last generation of CPUs.
In our DVD rundown test the S32W lasted a solid 117 minutes. This test involves draining the battery by looping a DVD and we consider it a worst case scenario because the optical drive and speakers are also draining power. As such the system should last considerably longer under normal circumstances.
Although a lot of notebooks below the 14in mark now have only three USB ports, the BenQ Joybook S32W offers a full set of four USB 2.0 ports, as well as a mini FireWire port and an Express Card slot. Video output can be done via a VGA port, or if you're outputting to a TV there's an S-Video port. A 56k modem is installed as is Bluetooth 2.0, a gigabit Ethernet port and Wi-Fi 802.11 a/g/e and draft-n. A media card reader is installed, supporting SD, MMC,MS, MS-Pro and xD cards.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Lexar® Portable SSD
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Huawei Mate 9
Google Daydream VR headset
Acer Swift 7
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Dell XPS 13 laptop
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Surface Pro 4
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
Latest News Articles
- More iPad screen sizes unlikely to stop slump
- Android struggling in tablets as Windows 10 2-in-1s come on strong
- Samsung unveils Galaxy Book, a Windows 10 tablet aimed at the Surface-curious
- Everything we think we know about Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S3
- Lenovo's ThinkPad P71 will work with HTC, Oculus VR headsets
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- LG G6: unboxing, hands on review and detail shots
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- TPGIS Developer - 6 month ContractQLD
- FTTechnical ConsultantACT
- FTSenior Systems EngineerNSW
- CCChange AnalystQLD
- FTCisco Network Engineer (FIFO)WA
- FTArcFM/Gis Lead DeveloperNSW
- TPProject Support Officer - Data and Information ManagementVIC
- FTInside Sales Consultants - SMSF SoftwareNSW
- FTSenior Security AnalystACT
- FTSenior .Net DeveloperVIC
- FTService Desk Consultant - Entry Level / GraduateNSW
- TPBusiness Analyst | HealthQLD
- FTPeoplesoft Functional Consultant - Campus SolutionsNSW
- FTData and Insights AnalystNSW
- FTSolution Designer/ Technical LeadSA
- FTInformation Security ConsultantACT
- FTSystems AnalystsACT
- FTDatabase Modelling SpecialistNSW
- FTSenior Applications Support AnalystSA
- CCSenior Teradata Developer/Analyst Programmer - Financial - Contract - ParramattaNSW
- FTArcFM DeveloperNSW
- FTCitrix ArchitectNSW
- FTDatabase DeveloperACT
- FTSenior / Lead AEM DeveloperNSW