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Advent 4211 Netbook review

Ardjuna Seghers



  • Recommended by TR
Advent 4211 Netbook


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This review might as well be called MSI Wind: a Second Look, because that is basically what the Advent 4211 netbook is, as we mentioned before. I know that's kind of spoiling the present a bit before it's opened, but thankfully the Advent does come with other software, a different finish and a more attractive price.

So basically, if you want the full lowdown and all the details of the hardware, head over to Andy's review of the MSI Wind. If you don't, here's a quick run-down. This netbook comes with a fairly good 10.1in screen with 1,024 x 600 resolution, an Intel Atom N270 processor running at 1.6GHz, 1GB of RAM (plenty for the included Windows XP, though more is always better) and, like the Eee Box I looked at recently, 80GB of hard drive space (obviously not solid state). It weighs 1.15kg with the provided three-cell battery.

The keyboard is also unchanged from the Wind, meaning it is a heck of a lot better than on any of the Eees - even the Eee PC 1000 (especially if, like me, you are a right-shifter) - but not as good as the superb example on the HP 2133 Mini Note. It does have the Fn key on the outside of Ctrl, but gives you reasonably-sized keys and an enlarged Enter key to make up for it. And unlike the Mini Note, the touchpad has its buttons underneath, rather than at its sides.

In terms of connectivity, it's nothing remarkable. Three USB 2.0 ports, one mini memory card reader that annoyingly doesn't support SDHC, 3.5mm audio in and out jacks, a network port and VGA out are joined by standard wireless.

But let's talk about the differences between it and the Wind, and how those differences position it compared to the competition. The most obvious one is price, but because it's so influential we'll leave that until last.

We'll start with what many will consider the least interesting side then; the software. Apart from the Windows XP operating system, productivity software is actually rather different. You see, while MSI gives you a 60-day trial version of Microsoft Office 2007, the Advent has the arguably less useful Microsoft Works 9 SE as its standard productivity suite. Those last two letters after the nine are significant, as they mean that this is a free, ad-sponsored version of Works, and that no matter what you're doing, a portion of the screen will be taken up by ads (they run from a cache when you're not online).

This might not be as much of a problem when working on a Word document on a 20in monitor with a standard 1,680 x 1,050 resolution, but on the Advent's small display where desktop real estate is already at a premium, it can be an issue. Frankly, you're far better off getting rid of Works SE and downloading the latest version of OpenOffice, which will give you a more flexible, comprehensive and less cluttered working environment.

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Tony Walker

July 30, 2008, 12:22 pm

You allude to the 4211 not having Bluetooth in the paragraph just before "Verdict", though you have it correct (it does) in the Spces on the following page.

Also it appears to support SDHC as I transferred some files onto my 4211 using an 8gb card. Others on the msiwind.net forums mainly report success with the hardware identical Wind.

Andy Vandervell

July 30, 2008, 1:34 pm

Yes, you're right, it does have Bluetooth. We've amended the article.

As regards to SDHC support, we've experienced a bit of inconsistency with the samples we've received, but like you say obviously retail units appear to support it, which is good news for all.

Gavin Hamer

July 30, 2008, 3:21 pm

Very nice review. My SDHC cards have been fine.

One point to note is that the Bluetooth and WiFi toggling is done on the same function key. So you loop around the combinations of having neither, one, the other, or both. However, my Advent crashed and fell in a heap every time Bluetooth was turned off (dodgy Bluetooth drivers, that makes a change...). So even though I didn't actually want to use Bluetooth, every time I wanted to switch off the WiFi to save battery, I couldn't. Interested to know whether this is a problem on other Advents, or the Wind.


July 30, 2008, 3:38 pm

Wireless toggling worked fine on ours when I used it.


July 30, 2008, 3:53 pm

After the lack of availability of the MSI Wind throughout this month, I also went in search for the Advent 4211 and managed to reserve and collect one last week. Unfortunately it had a memory hardware problem and kept 'blue screen' rebooting itself frequently.

The replacement unit is working very well and both Bluetooth and WiFi are operating as expected. The toggling is annoying but if you do it quick enough, the computer doesn't complain.

I even like the orange battery light that stays on after the machine has shut down, if the battery is very low (less than 10%)

Rich 1

August 1, 2008, 9:54 pm

There is a huge Huge! problem with these and the new atom processor. I actually work for Pc World in the UK and after a week of these being on the shelf, almost every single one was being brought back to us as faulty, all with the same issue. I'm really not sure how you have not had this problem..

Everyone that came back had the claim that it would not turn on at some point.

Me and a colleague after a bit of testing and research have found out its a problem to do with static.

While the machine is running, the processor is building up static, all but harmless while its running, but when the machine is turnt off, that static remains. When turnt back on again, the CPU will not power on properly and so the machine does not turn on.

A simple fix is available however. If this problem arises, simply disconnect the power, remove the battery, and unplug anything usb with power threw it (speakers, external hdd ect). and then hold the power button in for 10secs. This will discharge all of that static. Now plug back in everything to the machine and it will turn on absolutely fine.

However!, we have been in contact with advent and they are fully aware of this problem but do not class it as a fault, and so, No Refunds!!!

We now try to explain this to every customer within our store, but as for other i am not so sure. But be aware of this before you purchase!!!

John Dann

August 3, 2008, 1:13 pm

Bizarre and disorientating how PCW seem currently to be the price leader on the Wind product. Another rebranding of the identical PC (other than software package) seems to be the Medion Akoya mini netbook E1210 - this brand usually on offer of course from Aldi, though not widely available as yet. The nominal price seems to be 𧸕 though maybe this will figure in one of the Aldi biweekly special offers at a reduced price. But Sainsburys are also listing this product for 𧷣 ('selected stores only') - obviously still not apparently as cheap as PCW. The only caveat here is whether the Medion model might have the far more desirable 6-cell battery rather than the Advent's 3-cell one - nothing in the online specs to indicate one way or the other.


August 11, 2008, 1:02 pm

After reading reviews on the Advent 4211, I bought. I am more than delighted with the machine. Having used it all day in many locations including being carried in motorcycle panniers for a week there are no problems. Screen very good, keyboard good for typing, speed sufficient, spearkers a bit poor, only drawback is battery time. A 6 cell will make a big difference. PC world price really sets this as a hot seller for people on the move.

Sue de Nym

August 24, 2008, 9:59 pm

I have had the Advent 4211 for a couple of weeks now and love it. I have come from using Sony laptops (VGN X505VP 10" and PCG C1-MHP 8.9")and I can honestly say that the keyboard layout on the Advent is vastly superior in some ways. The large right shift key and return key makes fast and large quantity typing a delight. I'm typing my thesis on it so have been using it for many hours each day, not just typing but also downloading journal articles and searching other internet sites quickly for research. I needed Word for my work so I removed Microsoft Works and download Office instead but this is just a personal choice. The fast internet connection is briliant and has a most efficient wifi. It was so easy to set up, taking only minutes to do so. When you first connect the wifi remember to unlock it first. The whole feeling of using the Advent 4211 is that it is a perky workhorse and I really look forward to using it each day which has to be a good sign. The only improvement for me would be better battery life but when all the accessories are out I expect this will be available. All parts are identical to the MSI Wind so this widens your options. The MSI Wind forums are a great help for any little bits of advice: http://msiwind.net/

I haven't used it for anything other than internet/e-mail and heavy duty word-processing so can't comment on any other applications to be honest. Would thorougly recommend for the uses I have mentioned.

This machine doesn't come with a case but these can be bought from:






Sue de Nym

August 24, 2008, 10:03 pm

Another worthwile point is that PC World offers replacement or mend for ٠ a month which takes away the worry (I hope!)

image machine

August 26, 2008, 4:20 am

The 4211 is the most brilliant machine. I am a working professional photographer and have so far used the 4211/msi wind with the 1 extra gig of memory, ( easily added ). I run CS3 Photoshop, Pinancle Video Editing, Office 2007 with not a problem. The SDHC slot works a treat and allows me to upload video straight into the Video editing package. Bluetooth and wifi are spot on. The wifi module is not the greatest in the world so I use a usb wifi g/n usb stick for better reception. The battery is good for over two hours and boot up is quick. For the money and spec it's unbeatable. I also have a 17inch laptop and a smaller 12 laptop both highly spec'd and they haven't been turned on since getting the advent 4211. For the extra 㾸 get the other gig of memory. I edit video on thr go and transmit over wifi or bluetooth through a phone back to our website. Buy one.

David Donaldson

August 26, 2008, 8:31 pm

Just bought the advent 4211 and I am having wireless connection problems - no icon appears and there is no device for this. the spec lists an intel wireless network connection which I cannot find in the device manager. Any thoughts or just return to shop?

image machine

August 27, 2008, 1:22 am

I presume that you know to get the wifi working you have to pres function and the wifi/bluetooth function key to scroll through both on, noth off, wifi only, bluetooth only. No wifi until you turn it on.

martin 3

August 27, 2008, 2:37 am

Mine didn't function out of the box, even when I right clicked in the tool tray and tried to 'repair' the problem. Function and F11 activated it. Don't suppose your problem is this simple?

David Donaldson

August 27, 2008, 11:39 am

Thanks for the replies and yes done all the obvious but no network coonection icon which makes me suspect no network adapter present which is strange but I will take it back to the shop at weekend.

John M

August 28, 2008, 5:23 pm

I recently acquired one in the UK tho I live in Spain. As my first laptop it is living up to my hopes (a near-perfect combination of size / weight / power as well as looking and feeling, to me, better than the smaller Asus and Acer models -despite any other dis/advantages they may have-) and has so far worked well, tho I haven't pushed it at all so far as a user with limited needs (tho the installed Microsoft Works is a very poor option IMO, as noted above by others). But does anyone know how the 1 GB memory handles basic photo editing (I have yet to install a program, tho CS3 Elements is the most likely) and more importantly, as someone frequently away from power supplies for a while when working, is the 6-cell battery readily available yet? Additionally, does anyone know a simple way to avoid carrying the what I consider to be rather heavy and bulky power cable around? Thanks.


August 29, 2008, 4:54 pm

Could someone please advise as to the INPUT VOLTAGE to this unit? - could it be powered up via a 12v car battery?


September 2, 2008, 2:15 am

I absolutely love this netbook! It does all i want and is perfect for travelling, especially as i am a student! The only downside i can see is that the battery runs out so fast, but then again it charges up so quickly. I would easily give this a 9/10

Ian Hooker

September 2, 2008, 6:39 pm

John M - the only suggestion I have is to cut the main supply cable back to near the plug that goes into the transformer and fit a new mains plug (the built in one cannot be re-used as (at least in the UK) a moulded plug). The original cable and plugs weighs nearly 220 grams. I estimate the two plugs weigh about 40 grams each leaving just under 140 grams for the cable - so cutting back could save up to around 110 grams - but you'll need to be a metre closer to the mains socket.

Ian Hooker

September 2, 2008, 6:52 pm

Iainb - INput voltage is 5v and it needs 2A so it cannot be powered diretly from the car. However, it may be possible to find a 5v 2A convertor for the car that plugs into your cigar lighter. If not, you can get inverters that plug into the cigarette lighter and will lift you car voltage up to mains voltage - with appropriate socket. e.g. A03GW from Maplins for the UK. But they are bulky and 㿊ish!

Ian Hooker

September 2, 2008, 8:37 pm

Iainb - Sorry I did a typo. The Input Voltage is 20V at 2A NOT 5V.


September 4, 2008, 6:59 pm

Since posting previous query, I've purchased this superb little machine as have an inverter anyway. It's doing ALL I could have asked for (and then some!) Have thrown away the MS Works & installed MS Office which works no prob, also runs Memory Map well (including the bluetoothed GPS - which connected first time unlike on my older IXIUS Machine which was bought for "the job", was never was very successful - and is DAMN HEAVY!!) Connects to 'net wirelessly first time EVERY time - unable to source a 6 cell battery tho, any suggestions anyone? - also been advised by "The TechGuys" at pc world in Chester that memory expansion by a further 1gb is not possible as it's "on the board" {Quote1: I am a working professional photographer and have so far used the 4211/msi wind with the 1 extra gig of memory, ( easily added )} {Quote2: For the extra 㾸 get the other gig of memory.} - - - Any comments on this one please? Iain


September 6, 2008, 8:27 pm

Can anyone tell me the weight of the power pack with a UK plug (why do reviewers never include this vital information - when you're travelling it all counts! What's the point of super light device that needs a brick to power it?)


September 9, 2008, 11:00 pm

I'm impressed by the positive reactions to the Netbook. It doesn't appear to have a CD/DVD facility. How would I install programs like Office and QuarkXPress from my disks?


September 12, 2008, 9:42 pm

Recommended this for a clients son, based on MSIWind; purchased before they went on holiday but not opened. On return it BSOD'd repeatedly or wouldn't start up at all straight out of the box - PCWorld Staples Corner staff were apparently less than helpful, apparently verging on the rude and repeating '28 days' as if a stuck record. Techguys helpful though and arranged for return and repair; "may take a few weeks though, there are a lot like this". Customer bought an Acer instead in the meantime and VERY happy. PCW? Positively C**p W*****s.

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