Review: MSI Wind U100

Yup, as a hardcore geek, I just couldn’t let it go. Even though I had a somewhat disappointing ultra mobile pc (or alternatively named, netbook) already, I just had to go for the superior MSI Wind.
While the screen has a lower resolution (HP’s 1280×768 vs MSI’s 1024×600) the screen is bigger by a full inch.something, and whoever designed full reflective screen (HP’s, but Toshiba also employs it in their whole range) must’ve bumped their heads on the way down a bungee jump once too many. I have yet to come upon a human being who feels seeing themselves in mirror image, plus light sources behind them comfortable while reading a screen. So, not only is MSI’s screen more readable because it’s screen size, it’s also because is has a more sensible anti-glare screen. It’s not as bright though, and colors seem oversatured. (On this picture, MSI’s screen looks better, but in real life, it’s slightly less good than HP’s)

MSI Wind

On the technical side, the MSI clearly feels more responsive with it’s 1.6 GHz Intel Atom then HP’s sluggish 1.0 GHz Via C7. But feelings aside, while benchmarks gives the MSI about a factor 2 advantage, a simple DVD authoring session shows it finishing a whopping 9 times faster (just benchmarking though, remember these things don’t have optical drives) ! Even the HP refitted with Ubuntu will sluggishly play divx/xvid tv episodes, so don’t even try full HD downloads. As a side note, MSI also throws in bluetooth, expanding the connectivity option besides network and wireless network (while also adding one more USB port).
On the bad sides, are the keyboard, and only one key is responsible for it. While touch typing, the pinky will reach for the period (“.”), but with MSI keyboard, you will consistently hit the “/” key due to a whole row of downsized keys. The cursor keys are downsized too much too.
Another bad thing is the tinny speakers, with the HP blaring its speakers without much strain. Too be honest, even small mobile phone speakers or those in my iPAQ are better.
Battery life seems only a tad better, but not by more than 20 minutes.
All in all, for general purpose, it’s still okay (in my case, emergency use when at customer site on support cases). For media, it displays nice, but carrying a pair of good headphones would be a good idea to keep in mind. It beats the HP down by a KO, though picking up on those two negative points would make the 400 euro price point a must have. Now it’s only recommended for nerds and geeks.

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