MSI Wind U100-291UK review

2 Oct 2008

A vast improvement that brings it almost in line with the Eee PC 1000H - if the price falls the Wind may just edge it.

Price when reviewed 
336
5

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.

Details

Price ex VAT £292
Price inc VAT £336
Overall rating 5

Warranty

Warranty 2yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions 260 x 180 x 40mm (WDH)
Weight 1.300kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Atom N270
Motherboard chipset Intel 945GME
RAM capacity 1.00GB
Memory type DDR2
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 1

Screen and video

Screen size 10.0in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,024
Resolution screen vertical 600
Resolution 1024 x 600
Graphics chipset Intel GMA 950
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 0
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0

Drives

Capacity 160GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Optical disc technology n/a
Optical drive N/A
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 100Mbits/sec
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 3
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel 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
xD-card reader no
Pointing device type Touchpad
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 1.3mp
TPM no
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 295

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows XP Home
OS family Windows XP