Next, let’s look at the aesthetic differences between the Advent 4211 and Wind. When the Wind first came out, it was only available in white. Obviously colour preferences are a matter of taste, but quite apart from dirt and marks being more visible on a white machine, black just looks slimmer and cooler. And as long as the Advent is closed, it makes a striking impression. The outer shell sports a coat that is neither matte nor quite glossy, but a mixture of the two, and looking closely reveals tiny silver sparkles. The Advent logo is also sharper than MSI’s, though again that’s a matter of personal taste – and let’s face it, either way, it’s not like having an Apple logo on your laptop lid.
Opening it up, it’s mostly silver, apart from the black keyboard and a few black highlights (including the power button and rubber pads at the corners). Now there’s nothing wrong with a two-tone finish, and black and silver is a generally very attractive combo, but a slight issue here is that in some lighting conditions it looks sickly grey. Though I would take the Advent over a white Wind any day, MSI’s machine has since become available in gorgeous black (and pink, if you’re that way inclined).
Andy’s bet about a case not being included with the Advent has paid off, as it turns out, since all you get with the cheaper machine are cables, manuals and software. Ironically, due to its colour scheme, the Advent actually fits better with the grey-and-black zipped case provided by MSI than any Wind model.
Now that the other differences have been covered, which is better value for money? Well, with the Advent coming in at £280 and a black or white Wind starting at £330, there initially doesn’t seem that much reason to chose MSI’s option, unless the colour scheme is very important to you. As to the sleeve, you can buy one custom-designed for the Advent by third parties from around £15, which still leaves you with £35 change. Though if peace of mind is more important than saving a few pounds, MSI’s two-year warranty easily outclasses the Advent’s standard one-year effort.
In terms of other 10in ultra-portables, the real competitor is of course the Eee PC 1000, specifically the 80GB hard disk version, which is £20 cheaper than the SSD model we reviewed. But even then, you’re paying £350 for a netbook with identical processor, hard drive and screen size, and a worse keyboard than the Advent. However, better sound quality and 802.11n wireless, along with significantly improved battery life might make it worth the extra cost – depending on intended use.
If you want the cheapest 10in netbook out there, then the Advent 4211 is not difficult to recommend. You’re basically getting an MSI Wind for less money, though also with half the warranty (one year instead of two). The Asus Eee PC 1000H offers far more features, but at a significant price hike.