LG C1 Notebook to Tablet PC Convertible Review

by tiffany boggs Reads (50,108)

The LG C1 is an impressive notebook Tablet PC convertible. Its lightweight design and glossy piano blue/black finish give this machine a professional appeal. Its Core Duo 1.2GHz processor doesn’t lack in performance either. The C1 doesn’t have an internal optical drive, but this keeps weight down and makes it easy to take anywhere, especially given the 10.6" WXGA display size. LG does have an external drive that is included in the price though. The C1 is perfect for users who are looking for something lightweight that runs Windows Vista. The only problem is getting your hands on one if you live in the U.S.


The LG C1 Express Dual Tablet PC. (view large image)

The LG C1 specs as reviewed (tested price $2,699)

CPU Intel Core Duo Processor U2500 (1.2GHz)
OS Windows Vista Business
RAM 1GB DDR2
Display 10.6" WXGA
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce Go 7300 64MB
Audio SRS WOW HD, 24bit High Definition
Hard Drive 80GB (4200 rpm)
Optical Drive External DVD Super Multi Dual Layer (DVD-R/RW, +R/RW, RAM)
I/O ports
  • 3 x USB
  • 1 x VGA – 15 pin
  • 1 x Microphone-in
  • 1x Headphone 
  • 1 x 5-in-1 Card Reader
Communications
  • Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG
  • 10/100/1000 Ethernet
  • 802.11a/b/g
  • Bluetooth
Dimensions/Weight
  • 10.6" x 8" x 1.06"
  • 2.9lbs.
Battery/power Li-Ion (3-cell, standard) (6-cell)

 

Design and Build

The C1 has minimal flex and a strong chassis. It feels a lot like the Toshiba R400. The keyboard is sturdy and very usable. LG didn’t minimize any details on this Tablet and they definitely put some thought into the design. The C1 weighs in at 2.9 pounds, which is the lightest Tablet convertible I have tested. Even though it has a small stature, the C1 packs quite a punch.


The C1 swiveling into Tablet mode. (view large image)

The piano black finish is appealing, with its metallic blue flakes, but it does show fingerprints and dirt easily. It even sports a white keyboard, which is all the hype these days. I guess "white is the new black". The hinge that converts the notebook into Tablet mode is not the sturdiest, but then again this is a small Tablet. I wouldn’t recommend picking the C1 up by its screen or slamming it around because the hinge does wobble a little.

Display

The C1 has a 10.6" WXGA screen, but it looks bigger than it really is. Even though it has a small screen I had no problems reading documents on it or navigating through different applications. The colors are bright, but the glossy screen gives off a slight reflection, nothing unbearable though. It could even be used outside on a cloudy day. There even is an on-screen display icon, so you can adjust the brightness of your screen to your liking. Some users may have a problem reading documents because of the screen size, but that is a personal preference.


A few hotkeys under the screen. (view large image)

Processor and System Performance

The C1 has a Core Duo 1.2GHz processor, which does a great job of running all the computers applications. I didn’t have any problems with the CPU running slow or lagging when using basic applications such as Word, FireFox, Explorer. It ran Vista Business with no problems given the specs. The C1 does have a low end dedicated graphics card in the form of the Nvidia Go 7300, but I wouldn’t recommend the C1 for hard-core gamers of course. But it’s certain to say that the Go 7300 graphics do this Tablet justice. Overall the C1 out-performed most of the other Tablet convertibles that I have tested.

Benchmarks

As you can see the C1 did average on the PCMark testing. It came in between the Toshiba R400 and Asus R1F notebook convertible devices, which is quite an accomplishment if you consider the size of the C1. The C1 is much smaller than any of these other Tablets and it is running Vista.

PCMark05 measures the systems performance as a whole:

Notebook PCMark05 Score
LG C1 (Intel Core Duo 1.2GHz, Nvidia Go 7300) 2,568 PCMarks
Toshiba R400 (Intel Core Duo ULV 1.2GHz, Intel GMA 950 graphics) 2,187 PCMarks
HP tx1000 (AMD Turion X2 2.0GHz, Nvidia Go 6150) 3,052 PCMarks
Asus R1F (1.66GHz Core Duo, Intel GMA 950 graphics) 2,724 PCMarks
Lenovo ThinkPad X60t (1.66GHz LV Core Duo) 2,860 PCMarks
Panasonic ToughBook T4 (Intel 1.20GHz LV) 1,390 PCMarks
Asus R2H (900MHz Celeron M) 845 PCMarks
Toshiba Tecra M6 (1.66GHz Intel T2300E, Intel GMA 950) 2,732 PCMarks

Super Pi:

In the below results of Super Pi, where Pi is calculated to 2 million digits of accuracy, the C1 performed well again. Having only a 1.2GHz processor, the C1 hung in there with some of the big dogs like the HP TC4400 notebook convertible.

Notebook Time to Calculate Pi to 2 Million Digits
LG C1 (1.2GHz Intel Core Duo) 1m 49s
Toshiba R400 (1.2GHz ULV Core Duo) 2m 10s
Asus R1F (1.66GHz Core Duo) 1m 20s
Lenovo ThinkPad X60t (1.66GHz LV Core Duo) 1m 24s
IBM ThinkPad X41t (1.5GHz LV Pentium M) 2m 02s
HP TC4400 Tablet PC (2.0GHz Core Duo) 1m 13s
Dell Latitude X1 (1.1 GHz ULV Pentium M) 2m 40s
Dell Latitude D420 (1.06GHz Core Solo ULV) 2m 11s
Toshiba Portege M400 (1.83GHz Core Duo ) 1m 19s

 

Comparison Results for 3Dmark05

3DMark05 tests the overall graphic capabilities of a notebook, below is how the LG C1 did compared to other notebooks — not bad for a tiny 10.6" ultraportable tablet convertible!

Notebook 3D Mark 05 Results
LG C1 (1.2GHz Intel Core Duo, Nvidia Go 7300) 1,392 3DMarks
PortableOne UX (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA 950) 590 3DMarks
Toshiba Satellite A135 (1.73GHz Core Duo, Intel GMA 950) 519 3D Marks
Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB) 2,092 3D Marks
Asus V6Va (2.13 GHz Pentium M, ATI x700 128 MB) 2,530 3D Marks
Fujitsu n6410 (1.66 GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB) 2,273 3DMarks
HP Pavilion dv4000 (1.86 GHz Pentium M, ATI X700 128MB) 2,536 3D Marks
Dell XPS M1210 (2.16 GHz Core Duo, nVidia Go 7400 256MB) 2,090 3D Marks

 

Keyboard/Touchpad/Pen

The keyboard on the C1 is small, but nice. It is solid and has minimal flex. All of the keys are full size (ISO standards say full size is determined by the keys being 19mm apart plus or minus 1mm) and white. The space bar is a little small, but still easy to use. It feels a little cramped when typing for long periods of time, but that is because the Tablet is so tiny. I was shocked that it did have a full-size keyboard, I mean even some of the keys on my Asus R1 are shortened.


The LG C1 keyboard. (view large image)

The touchpad looks a little cheap, but it is functional. The buttons are small though, and when I say small, I mean small. A user with bigger hands would probably want to use a mouse. Even though the touchpad is small, it is responsive and that is what counts. It does get frustrating though when you accidentally click on the touchpad buttons while typing, and that happened to me a few times.

The interesting thing about the pen is finding it. Trust me, it took me a few minutes of looking before I discovered the spring loaded pen pops out of a silo on the bottom side of the screen. It is hidden away pretty well there. The pen writes well on the screen, but is small. It is about half the size of my R1 pen, but then again everything is small on this Tablet. It also feels funny to write with since it isn’t designed like a full size pen, some users may think it is cheap. It is not a Wacom pen, so the input is passive rather than active. The HP tx1000 pen writing feature is the same way, so power tablet users will be displeased with this. For those that just use the pen feature from time to time and like the idea of a touchscreen display the passive input will not prove to be a problem. Be forewarned though, it is less sensitive and tougher to write on than active Wacom pen input.


The pen coming out of its silo. (view large image)

Ports

The C1 has a good array of ports. There are three USB ports, one VGA – 15 pin, one microphone-in, one headphone, a 5-in-1 card reader, an SRS button and an Ethernet port. It also has a volume dial on the side similar to the Toshiba R400, which is nice and makes it easy to change the volume. The C1 also has an External DVD Super Multi Dual Layer optical drive, since there is no internal drive. The drive is very sleek and one of the nicest external drives I have seen.


Front view of the C1. (view large image)


Right side view of the ports. (view large image)


Left side view of the ports. (view large image)


Back view of the C1, with 6-cell battery. (view large image)


LG C1 under side view. (view large image)

Battery

The standard 3-cell battery lasted about two and a half hours under normal usage (typing, browsing the Internet and screen at half brightness), which is typical for a notebook of this size. You can adjust your settings to save more battery power or use more if you need to be in high performance mode. LG also sent along a 6-cell battery, which replaces the regular battery and is a little more bulky. This battery lasted for about three and a half to four hours, but the only problem is you have to take out the other battery to replace it with this one, therefore you have to turn the computer off. Overall battery performance was good and it only took a little over an hour to fully recharge.

Heat and Noise

The C1 is designed much like the Toshiba R400, especially when it comes to the heat and noise aspect. It doesn’t give off much heat, and even when running the benchmarks it stayed cool. The C1 is quiet, but really what about it would be noisy, there is no optical drive and the fan isn’t loud enough to be a distraction. In fact you can change the settings so your fan will not kick on, which keeps things quiet, but during this mode you will be using less power.

Speakers

The speakers are hidden away on the C1, just like the pen. Actually they are on the bottom of the Tablet, which to me seems like a weird place to put them as it muffles the sound — but when you have limited space you have to put speakers where there is room I suppose. For such a small Tablet the C1′s speakers put out good enough sound to listen to music on (quietly).

Size Comparison


The LG C1 next to a Dell XPS M1210. (view large image)


Top view of the C1 and XPS M1210 comparison. (view large image)

Software

The C1 comes with Windows Vista Business edition already installed. I really didn’t have a problem with any bloatware either. It actually seems quite free of bloatware compared to some Dell and HP notebooks you come across. The only annoying software I dealt with was McAfee and the Windows Defender, which everyone knows has those annoying security pop-ups. If there is software you don’t like most of it can be uninstalled quickly and easily.

Wireless

The C1 has 802.11a/b/g and Bluetooth that works as expected. I connected to my office’s wireless with no problems. In fact it was fast and responsive. The Bluetooth is good for those users who may want to use a wireless mouse since the touchpad is small.

Conclusion

The C1 Express Dual has a professional appearance and a solid design. It is a little on the expensive side, but it is cheaper than the Toshiba R400 ($3,999) and still maintains many of the same features. It feels sturdy, no cheap plastics to this Tablet, which is nice. It is so small and lightweight that you can take it anywhere and the battery life is good as well. I would recommend this Tablet to any user who travels a lot or for students. Like I said earlier though, the only problem is you can’t get the C1 in the U.S. In fact my review unit came from Canada, so it may take some hunting to find one.

Pros

  • Lightweight design
  • The blue-black piano finish
  • Solid built chassis
  • Full size keyboard
  • Spare 6-cell battery and external optical drive included in price

Cons

  • Tiny touchpad
  • Speakers are on the bottom of the Tablet
  • Not much for wireless options
  • Passive pen input via touchscreen, not active


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