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.

David Bayon
2 Oct 2008
5
Price when reviewed 
336

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.

Warranty

Warranty2yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions260 x 180 x 40mm (WDH)
Weight1.300kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Atom N270
Motherboard chipsetIntel 945GME
RAM capacity1.00GB
Memory typeDDR2
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total1

Screen and video

Screen size10.0in
Resolution screen horizontal1,024
Resolution screen vertical600
Resolution1024 x 600
Graphics chipsetIntel GMA 950
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs0
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0

Drives

Capacity160GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Optical disc technologyn/a
Optical driveN/A
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0

Networking

Wired adapter speed100Mbits/sec
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchno
Wireless key-combination switchyes
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
USB ports (downstream)3
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readerno
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating1.3mp
TPMno
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use295

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows XP Home
OS familyWindows XP

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