User-Review BenQ S53W
Our forum member Schutzi wrote this review about the BenQ S53W for us. The Centrino-laptop is very interesting due to its small size and the small weight. Read more about his opinion of this notebook...
The design of the BenQ S53W S53W immediately struck my eye and surely was decisive for my choice of this portable, fine laptop. The white plastic case resembles the Apple iBook...with its semi-transparent keys even seems to outshine it. The workmanship of the BenQ S53W leaves a good impression. The white plastic chassis tortions a bit, at most if you triy to bend it by force. Nothing creaks, when you seize and raise the laptop at a corner. The somewhat silvery screen cover consists of a magnesium alloy and is very rigid. It is not so easy to get accustomed to the closing mechanism of the display. The display cover of the BenQ S53W is not hooked. The somewhat ponderous hinges hold the display in position. When closing the notebook, the hinges crack loudly. However, one gets accustomed pretty fast to this noise.
Connections / Allocation of the Case (also see the pictures):
PCMCIA type II (with plastic dummy as protection)
2x USB 2.0
IEEE 1394 ("Mini" Firewire connection)
RJ45 Ethernet (10/100MBit)
Kensington lock, fan openings
D-Sub video exit (beamers are recognized by the means of QPresentation and the screen resolution adapted automatically)
2x 1.5 Watts loudspeakers
switch for WLAN/Bluetooth
5in1 Cardreader (SD/MMC/MS/MS Pro/xD)
headphone exit / SPDIF shared line out
2 LEDS (battery / power line condition / card reader), touchpad with 2 keys, keyboard, on/off-switch, 2 quick access keys for internet + email, integrated microphone
power plug connection
connection for optional docking station
In addition there are Bluetooth (at least with me) and WLAN.
The keyboard of the Joybook is very good and does not flex. The keys are of normal size, not as with most subnotebooks. Typing on it is very comfortable. Many special characters and additional keys, which can be found at an office keyboard, are also available on the BenQ, so that the appropriate indications or functions do not have to be called cumbersomely via the function keys. The keys have a well perceptible pressure point and might also please touch-typers. The quick keys for starting the mail and internet program are also very useful... if you want to check mails every five minutes as me ; -)
The touchpad is quite precise and in the driver allows to set zones for vertical and horizontal scrolling. That works very well, despite the relatively small surface of the touchpad. The two keys for left / right input device click can be used precisely, but are loud. The WLAN switch at the front is flush with the chassis, so that it cannot be activated by mistake, and shows a light according to the corresponding condition, which is activated by the Fn-key (blue: WLAN, orange: Bluetooth, violet: both).
The display is a 13 inch widescreen type and has a resolution of 1280x768 ("glare type" = reflecting). Thus the color reproduction is very brilliantly, but the display shows some mirroring. Due to the high luminosity of the display the reflections are hardly noticeable, at least with high brightness settings (can be adjusted in eight levels). In closed rooms even level 5 or 6 (AC power supply) is sufficient, even the lowest level still allows working without eye pains. However, during direct sun exposure in the garden, all brightness offered by the display is necessary in order to counterbalance the reflections. The display contrast is highly dependent on the viewing angle.
External screens can only be attached by an analogue D-Sub socket out, which offers good image quality. When external devices are attached, the screen resolution is automatically reduced to a beamer compatible format by the pre-installed Q-Presentation. This works fine for me with 3 different beamers (all max. 1024x768).
I ran all of the following benchmarks AFTER an exchange of the memory modules used in this series of Benq S53W (2x256MB ) by 2x512MB modules of the same speed. Nonetheless this only might affect the PCMark 2004 and even there not by much. I have not updated the drivers since the purchase, but meanwhile some programs are installed, which I did not want to de-install only for the tests... Nevertheless, I restarted before each test deactivating all unnecessary background processes. All benchmarks were accomplished with default settings, i.e. with the 3D-benches with 1024x768 pixels.
Temperature after switching oo: 22°C
After approx. 3 hours operation: 41°C
Transfer rate min./avg./max. 16.8/27.9/34.2 MB/s
Access time 18.4 ms
Burst rate 64.5 MB/s
CPU util. 4,6%
3DMark 01: 4868 points
3DMark 03: 969 points
PCMark 04: 3354 points
I think the performance values are absolutely normal for a notebook with Pentium M 750 (1.86 GHz) with integrated graphics. Efficient working is guaranteed by the arithmetic performance and the relatively fast 5400 rpm-hard disk. The graphics performance is sufficient for 2D-games and old 3D-games like e.g. Quake III or Counter Strike 1.6. Nevertheless, it is far too slow for current 3D-games.
I think the heat development is normal for a Sonoma laptop. The keyboard does not heat up much, even in AC adapter operation. The only area that gets really warm is to the left of the touchpad where the hard disk is located. The fan blows warm air out of the left side of the case, which is optimal for righthanded people like me. Probably the lukewarm air, which is blown out there, will not disturb a left-handed person either.
The noise levels are to be seen somewhat more differentiated: Normally, both in the battery and in the AC power operation, I work with the energy scheme "max. battery"; then the fan starts rarely, thereby remains always quiet and switches off after short time, at least with the office applications (Word, Excel, InterNet...), that I use. But if high performance of the laptop is demanded for a longer time, the fan causes a clearly audible, high frequency noise, which gets on your nerves expecially when watching DVD. The DVD drive assembly is relatively quiet when playing a film.
The loudspeakers at the front of the Benq S53W are hopelessly under-sized with 2x1.5 W and without any lows. Particularly during DVD playback (because of the fan) they are not more than a makeshift; the SRS- surround sound can hardly be heard. Fortunately there is the good sounding headphone jack of a good quality and there is the opportunity for the digital connection of a 5.1 box set!
All tests are based on a fully charged battery (approx. 98%) down to the automatic switching off by the notebook at approximately 5% battery charge with the indicated, preset energy schemes:
Idle (scheme "max. battery", no applications, WLAN/Bluetooth out, LCD min. brightness: 3:42h
Office work (like above, but with applications like Word, Excel, internet; WLAN on, LCD min. brightness): 3:02h
DVD playback (scheme "DVD", PowerDVD, WLAN/Bluetooth out, LCD min.): 1:43h
Stress test (scheme "max. performance", application: SuperPI - > 100% CPU utilization, WLAN/Bluetooth on, LCD max. brightness): 1:09h
Load time with switched off notebook: approx. 3h
Of course the times are not to be compared with classical benchmarks, but serve their role in obtaining a good impression about the energy efficiency of the notebook.
Unfortunately the running time during DVD playback is not sufficient for long films, but normal for such a compact laptop. The energy scheme "DVD", which is preset as default adjusts the peformance to medium. It is possible to watch DVDs without image interruptions with the energy scheme "max. battery". Thus the runtime might come close to the 2h-limit. That reduces noise too.
In the office operation the laptop works well off the power plug socket for three hours, without WLAN even about 15-20 minutes more, but I did not measure that. Anyway, the value for office operation is only an approximation.
The BenQ Joybook S53W is an ideal companion for all, who search for an attractive and portable office notebook. It is well suited for these applications with its good and bright display, the good keyboard as well as the computing power, which existss plentifully for this targeted application. With office applications the battery runtime as well as the noise levels are good.
If you would like to watch DVDs on journeys with the S53W, headphones should be used instead of the bad loudspeakers. In addition the preset "DVD" - energy scheme should be changed here for the sake of run time and for the ears.
The interface equipment of the S53W is rather complete with Firewire, cardreader, WLAN, Bluetooth (caution, my laptop had this, but it's not officially on the datasheet; confirm that before the purchase!), infrared and PCMCIA type II rather complete. The two USB ports might not be enough for some.
The good general impression is completed by a solid workmanship and useful software-additions (burning program, music-player, imageviewer etc.), which in addition are united below a stylish surface (Qmedia).
Furthermore, there are hardly any comparable notebooks concerning size and components, and those few are much more expensive.
Many thanks to "Schutzi" for providing us with this nice review!