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MSI Wind U100-291UK - Exclusive Review - MSI Wind U100-291UK

Essentially, however, in terms of looks nothing much has changed apart from the colour and a bit of added bulk at the bottom that creates a slight tilt to the machine. As you might have guessed, this is because of the larger battery: a six-cell 4,400mAh model rather than the former three-cell 2,200mAh previous Winds were endowed with. This gives the MSI theoretical parity with the Eee PC 901 and 1000, though those do still have slightly higher capacity 6,600mAh batteries.

Nonetheless, MSI's miniature machine now comfortably passes the four-hour mark while performing a number of tasks, including video and audio playback, with brightness at 50 per cent and wireless radios turned off. Best of all, this bigger battery makes the new Wind only around 200 grams heavier than older versions, bringing the full weight up to a still very portable 1.29kg - below the magic 1.3kg level as "decreed" in Andy's The Ultimate Netbook piece.

Interestingly, the added bulk actually makes typing slightly less comfortable, since the extra tilt means there is less support from the palm rest. It's not the end of the world though and the keyboard remains unchanged from the previous version, meaning it's very good; even if it still doesn't match the truly excellent keyboard of the HP 2133 Mini-Note. Unfortunately, the Fn key is still located on the outside of Ctrl, but aside from that it provides a pleasant typing experience.

The only other upgrade this version of the Wind has over its sibling is Wireless-N, so there's potential for slightly faster and longer range wireless internet provided you have a compatible router. Unfortunately, for all those who were hoping optional HSDPA would be part of the refresh, it's not, while you still get the same Intel Atom N270 1.6GHz processor powering in this device as every other netbook out there, backed up by 1GB of RAM; the maximum amount of memory Microsoft allows to have Windows XP loaded onto the machine.

Connectivity is also identical to before, with three USB 2.0 ports, headphone and microphone jacks, LAN and VGA and a memory card slot supporting MMC, MemoryStick (Pro), SD and SDHC. Other features include Bluetooth 2.0 EDR and a 1.3 megapixel webcam for all your video needs.

As before, the speakers are nothing special; any kind of serious music listening or film watching requires the use of headphones. On the other hand, the 10.1in, 1,024 x 600 screen gives little reason for complaint, with a nice anti-glare finish, decent viewing angles, pleasing levels of brightness and text production that's sharp and easy to read.

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