ViewSonic VNB101 review: ViewSonic VNB101

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The Good Decent display.

The Bad Small, cramped keys; jerky multi-touch mouse trackpad.

The Bottom Line The ViewSonic VNB101 is small and highly portable but, that aside, it doesn't have a great deal going for it. The keys are fiddly, its battery life is nothing to get excited about and its multi-touch capability feels poorly implemented. It's fairly cheap, but we'd recommend taking a look at one of the many alternatives

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6.5 Overall

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The 10.1-inch VNB101 is one of two netbooks available from display specialist ViewSonic. This model, the more advanced of the pair, is aimed at those who want to enjoy computing on the move for very little money. It's available to buy now from all good outlets for around £250.

Déjà view
The VNB101 looks pretty generic. Like most netbooks, it has a glossy black lid (it's also available in red and gold), which attracts so many fingerprint smudges and so much dirt that you'll question your own personal hygiene. We'll give it credit for being cute, though, particularly as it's small and weighs just 1.2kg.

There are subtle differences between the VNB101 and its rivals. Whereas most netbooks sport three USB ports, this machine seems to think it can get away with just two -- one on the left, adjacent to the mic and headphone jacks, and another on the right. It's unlikely that anyone will use more than two USB ports at once, so this isn't a major deal, but we can't help feeling slightly cheated. The fact that there's a three-in-one memory-card reader, Ethernet socket and D-Sub port at the rear doesn't really make us feel any better.

Keys to the pity
Other 10-inch netbooks, such as the Asus Eee PC S101 or Samsung NC10, have proven that such machines needn't have rubbish keyboards. Someone clearly forgot to tell ViewSonic, however. The VNB101 is extremely fiddly to type on. Whereas most 10-inchers allow for fast touch typing with relatively few errors, the buttons on this device are small, cramped and will prove problematic for all but the most fleet-fingered typists.