MSI Wind U100-291UK review
A vast improvement that brings it almost in line with the Eee PC 1000H - if the price falls the Wind may just edge it.
It's no secret that the key to the Eee PC 1000H's current A List status is its tremendous six-hour battery life, three times that of its rivals. We know it, you know it, and MSI certainly knows it - hence the belated introduction of the MSI Wind U100-291UK, now with the all-important six-cell battery.
It's an inclusion that should have been present when the MSI Wind U100 originally launched, as the whole concept of a netbook surely requires more than an hour or two away from the mains. Thankfully, the Wind is now a much more capable travelling companion, although it's not quite as impressive as it could have been.
Our battery tests put it slightly behind the 1000H, lasting a shade under five hours under light use conditions. But the slightly smaller dimensions and weight over the Eee do give it the edge on overall portability.
The battery is not the only improvement from MSI. A 160GB hard disk is double the storage space of the Eee, while draft-N wireless has finally been added to the 802.11b and g. On paper at least, the Wind now holds the upper hand.
The old niggles still remain, though. While the keyboard is comfortable, well laid out and stretches right to the edges of the chassis, the touchpad is still too small for our liking. The single, rockable mouse button is plain irritating and, like the touchpad, it could do with being wider.
It's also doesn't feel as robust as the Eee, with a thinner lid in particular and a hinge that's a bit less solid. Whether these are enough to put you off will be down to personal opinion - there are as many Wind as Eee fans in the PC Pro office.
But the price is what just sways it in Asus's favour. The 1000H can be found today for around £320 inc VAT, whereas the new Wind - in a much more stylish black finish - will set you back around £360 until prices inevitably start to fall.
Until they do we're sticking with the Eee PC 1000H, but both camps had better watch out for Samsung's NC10 at the end of October: at a rumoured £299 a real price war could be on the cards.
|Price ex VAT||£292|
|Price inc VAT||£336|
|Warranty||2yr collect and return|
|Dimensions||260 x 180 x 40mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Atom N270|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel 945GME|
|SODIMM sockets free||0|
|SODIMM sockets total||1|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,024|
|Resolution screen vertical||600|
|Resolution||1024 x 600|
|Graphics chipset||Intel GMA 950|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Optical disc technology||n/a|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||100Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|Wireless hardware on/off switch||no|
|Wireless key-combination switch||yes|
|USB ports (downstream)||3|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial ports||0|
|Optical S/PDIF audio output ports||0|
|Electrical S/PDIF audio ports||0|
|3.5mm audio jacks||2|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Memory Stick reader||yes|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||yes|
|Smart Media reader||no|
|Compact Flash reader||no|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
|Camera megapixel rating||1.3mp|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||295|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows XP Home|
|OS family||Windows XP|