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MSI Wind - Windows XP Edition review

Andy Vandervell



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It's been fascinating to observe the evolution of the Netbook. Indeed, though Intel created a name and a CPU for this burgeoning segment, the jury is still out on exactly what a Netbook should be. Asus, it appears, has attempted to court every corner of the market with the Eee PC 701 for those want something very cheap and cheerful, the upcoming Eee PC 1000 for those that want more storage, a larger keyboard and larger screen and the Eee PC 901 that sits somewhere in between the two.

Clearly, however, this slightly muddled approach has been sparked by the appearance of competitors and particularly the MSI Wind. Its 10.1in screen and larger keyboard has generated a lot of attention from people looking for a different take on the Netbook and when we looked at an early engineering sample (See: First Look: MSI Wind), it was easy to see why. Does it impress as much upon longer inspection?

As a design it undoubtedly does. Similar in appearance to the Eee, the Wind nonetheless has its own stylish charm. Its glossy lid and rounded edges give it a sleek look and feel and it's marginally thinner, measuring 31mm at its thickest point compared to the 35mm of the Eee PC 901. Hardly an earth shattering difference, but it's noticeable and the wedge shape design means the tapered front is just 19mm thick.

Of course, the most obvious difference is that it's a lot wider - 35mm wider to be precise. This extra width creates space for the 10.1in, 1,024 x 600 resolution screen and the larger keyboard that runs right to the edges. This extra size does make it marginally less portable, but with its standard three-cell battery the Wind weighs 1.15kg so it's no heavier than the Eee PC 901, though the 901 does have a heavier and higher capacity six-cell battery.

So what of the main attraction, the keyboard? Undoubtedly it's a significant improvement over the 901 even if - like me - you find the Eee's keyboard fairly manageable. Keys aren't quite full-sized, they're smaller than those found on the HP 2133 Mini-Note PC, but they represent a happy medium between the two and have a pleasing degree of travel and response.

You also benefit from a large and friendly Return key, though the keyboard does have its idiosyncrasies. For starters MSI has committed our most loathed faux pas by placing the Fn key outside of the left Ctrl key. Also, initially the placement of the of the right Shift key and cursor keys proved a problem, since both sit further left than normal and can result in hitting the Up key rather than the Shift key. It's slightly annoying, but after a while it's something you'll get used to and though there's also a very minor level of keyboard flex, overall the keyboard is still a very good one.

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July 4, 2008, 7:02 am

Agreed. This netbook is the clear leader of the pack at present, but the price tag with the 3 cell battery pack is very poor marketing from MSI, who seem to have fallen at the last with the Wind offering. And that's exacerbated by the (amusingly timed) release of the Advent offering, which , after an MSI Bios flash is, in effect and MSI Wind for 㿞 less!

Pump this out now MSI, in bulk, at 𧶲 Inc VAT and 6 Cell battery and you might stand a chance.

I have long championed the Wind's advantages over the EeePC range - technophiles are a fickle bunch though...I bought the Advent last night...why do I feel dirty?!


July 4, 2008, 7:57 am

The Advent clone version can read SDHC cards have now tried with 4, 8 and 16 gb SD versions all with no problems. The speakers are indeed truly tinny and naff im afraid. Yes, there is no case with the Advent, maybe thats where they saved the 㿞-𧴜 on other retailers such as Play (𧸁.99) or Morgan Computers, who are now selling the Wind at 𧸻.74 inc VAT on their site.

Jonas 1

July 4, 2008, 4:37 pm

The wind will be available with a 6-cell in due time. MSI clamims fire in battery factory is the reason for the shortage.

Luan Bach

July 4, 2008, 5:33 pm

That low run time puts me off buying one, I'll now wait for Acer One to come out before making a decision.


July 4, 2008, 8:06 pm

The Acer One is already on sale in Germany, for a very cheap �, but it only has an 8GB SSD drive, although with a second SD card slot for storage expansion, this might not be too bad. They've got a more expensive version with a 120GB hard drive coming, with either Linux or Windows.

King of all that is Roff

July 4, 2008, 9:05 pm

Hmm, a definate candidate for an upgrade from my old Acer 2410. A shame about the battery life but seeming as I've got my laptop connected to the mains most of the time I doubt it would make a difference to me personally

Matthew Bunton

July 5, 2008, 5:49 pm

It's battery life kills it for me.

My search continues, maybe the Acer One will fair better.

Andy Vandervell

July 8, 2008, 6:29 pm

We should be getting it in this week, though given it also uses a 3-cell battery I woulnd't hold your breath if I were you.

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