ViewSonic's ViewBook 130 is a half-price take on the MacBook Air – but will it have only half the style, performance and build quality?

ViewSonic isn't the first PC maker to take inspiration from the MacBook Air, and it probably won't be the last. But of all the copycats we've seen recently, the ViewSonic ViewBook 130 is actually one of the better examples.

Unlike some ultraportables that try to hide their girth with razor-thinned edges, the ViewSonic ViewBook 130 has more consistent rectangular sides and edges. Its body may get umistakeably thicker toward the rear - but that's handy when it comes to supporting a range of ports that would embarrass an Air.

There's HDMI and VGA video, three USB ports (usefully scattered left, right and rear), a reader for SD cards and Sony Memory Sticks, gigabit ethernet - even an ExpressCard 34 slot.

Three variants of ViewSonic ViewBook 130 are available, from the cheapest with a single-core Intel Celeron processor, to two dual-core models. We tested the top-spec ViewSonic ViewBook 130 with 1.3GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel GS45 chipset and 2GB of DDR3 RAM.

In other respects the specification remains the same between these ViewSonic ViewBook 130s, including 320GB 2.5in hard drive, wireless-n networking, and a keyboard that stands out from the crowd with its broad, flat lilly-pad keys and smooth, pleasant action.

The trackpad of the ViewSonic ViewBook 130 is said to be multi-touch, although like most Windows notebooks with pretensions of multi-touchiness, we found it a crude imitation of the tactile interface found on MacBooks.

By default, its ‘one-finger side scrolling' means whenever your finger approaches the right side, the mouse cursor freezes as it expects to take on scroll duties. We couldn't work on this pad until this feature had been deselected from the mouse control panel.

Two-finger pinch gesture recognition in particular was slow and awkward in Internet Explorer; not so bad for expanding images in Photo Viewer but still buggy and erratic.

NEXT: Manufacturer's specs vs our tests >>