Another thing you’ll have to get used to is the touchpad. Unlike the Eee PC 901 and its new and improved wide aspect touch pad, the MSI Wind has a small square thing that seems out of keeping with to the larger screen and keyboard. It works well enough and its size does mean it doesn’t get in the way when typing, but it seems odd that MSI couldn’t have made it half a centimetre wider either side. In addition, though it does have both vertical and horizontal scroll zones, they’re not marked.
Still, as noted in the review of the HP 2133 Mini-Note PC, we’d sooner compromise on the touchpad than the keyboard and even if the one of the Wind is a tad small, it does at least have the buttons below rather than either side of it – as seen on both the HP and the Acer Aspire One.
Internally the Wind features many of the same components that make up most Intel based Netbooks. Directing proceedings is a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 processor, supported by an ample 1GB of RAM. This combination deals with the Windows XP OS of our review sample very well. In fact, if anything the Wind feels marginally snappier and more responsive than the Eee PC and its Linux OS, though we’re only talking split seconds here.
It also boasts a plentiful 80GB hard drive. After formatting and OS installation this is reduced to around 70GB of free space in two partitions of 39GB and 31.5GB, but this still leaves plenty of space for reasonable music and video collections along with programs and documents. You’ll need to download a few programs, too, because unlike the Linux versions of the Eee PC, the Wind is comparatively limited when it comes to pre-installed apps. Of course, for many this is a good thing, but it does mean it lacks that immediate out of the box usability.
What you do get are all the usual Windows XP staples, such as the rather dated Internet Explorer 6, Outlook Express, Windows Messenger and another blast from the past, Windows Media Player 9. All of which could easily be replaced with more modern alternatives, like the excellent Firefox 3 and any number of other programs. You also get a 60-day trial version of Microsoft Office 2007, but since we can’t see many people buying a cheap PC and then spending a small fortune on one piece of software, Open Office is probably a good idea.
In addition to all this you’ll need to spend some time downloading any video and audio codecs not natively supported by Windows, of which there are many. Of course, this being Windows, there’s no shortage of choice and given the familiar interface it’s a lot easier to get what you need than on Linux as well.