After taking what it seemed like a period of absence from several countries to reorganize product strategies, BenQ is now back again with a barrage of notebooks. Among the new is the S73G, a new Joybook delightfully fitted with an Intel Core Duo processor.
Despite being new, the S73G remains true to its Joybook heritage by hosting a purple top with traces of violet everywhere. The color continuation means the new Joybook should remain as outstanding as its predecessors on shelves that are also being occupied by black, silver and white colored notebooks. Even the same translucent material used in Joybooks of old is retained for the S73G’s keyboard, giving the same input feedback as older notebooks from BenQ.
As much as we were impressed by the design quality, the same cannot be said about its build quality. First and foremost, the ports on the left side of the chassis, particularly the RJ-11 and RJ-45 ports, seemed to be poorly constructed as these would move within their sockets whenever a modem or Ethernet jack was connected awkwardly. It’s as though the ports were not properly mounted. Most disappointing was the combination of bolts protruding from the LCD hinge and an unsightly cable that runs down the hinge and into the main body. We certainly don’t think that BenQ has taken a step back in quality control but for a notebook with nice design cues, these blemishes are simply unacceptable.
What the S73G lacks in design it certainly more than makes up for in terms of connectivity. You’ll find the S73G is nicely equipped with four high-speeed USB ports, several video-out options that include a DVI-D port as well as an IR port up front. They have also included a remote control that provides multimedia controls through BenQ’s QMedia Center application.
The driving force of the S73G comes in the form of an Intel Core Duo T2300 that’s clocked at 1.66GHz and supplemented by an ATI Mobility Radeon X1600. Performance, be it office productivity or gaming, is therefore undoubted. However, battery life was not as lasting as we thought it would as the S73G could only manage 87 minutes in our DVD playback test and 152 minutes in MobileMark 2005 with a performance rating of 217. A score of 6389 in 3DMark03 means the S73G should make light work of current game titles and as such a formidable gaming rig for LAN parties, but because the pair of built-in speakers is unexpectedly soft, gaming is best experienced with a pair of headphones on.
Though the S73G is not perfect by manufacturing measurement, the components it houses are more than able to assist you in getting tasks done while offering you gaming and multimedia entertainment when needed. And because there is currently a transition from Core Duo to Core 2 Duo systems, the BenQ S37G is very attractively priced at USD$1,140, which we think represents good value despite its shortcomings.