MSI WindPad 100W - Specifications, Performance and Connectivity Review


So far then, we haven’t been particularly impressed with the

design of the MSI WindPad 100W. But we’re willing to put up with an ugly

exterior if there’s enough beauty under the hood. Unfortunately, the Windpad

falls down here too.


The WindPad’s processor is one of Intel’s Atoms –

specifically the single-core, 1.6GHz Z530. This CPU is quite simply not up to

providing a smooth Windows experience for any but the lightest workloads, and as

soon as you have a few windows open you’ll start to notice lag. To be fair

though, if all you’re doing is working on a word document while browsing the

web and checking your emails, everything will run just fine.

Graphics are handled by Intel’s integrated GMA500 solution,

meaning that even where the CPU can cope, all but the least demanding 3D games

will be unplayable. On the other hand, when using compatible media players the

GMA500 does allow silky 1080p video and Flash video playback, with the latter being

a tangible advantage over Apple’s iPad and iPad2.


Thankfully, MSI has backed its somewhat underpowered CPU choice

with 2GB of DDR2 memory (far more than most netbooks, with even the recent Toshiba NB550d only offering 1GB) and a generous 32GB SSD. Just keep in mind

that Windows will use a lot more of it than Android would, leaving you with

less usable space (around 13GB).

Another positive difference to the average netbook is that

MSI provides a full version of Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit, rather than the

Starter edition. On the wireless front it

offers both Wi-Fi N and Bluetooth 2.1. There’s a SIM card slot suggesting the

presence of 3G, but actually the tablet doesn’t have a 3G module and – as we

discovered the hard way – putting a card in this slot will result in it falling

into the WindPad’s innards (at least we discovered it’s quite easy to prize the WindPad 100W apart and get to its guts). It would be nice if MSI put a little warning

sticker on this slot for those too impatient to read through the manual.


Other touches that set this device above your average

netbook are a brightness sensor which controls screen brightness automatically

depending on ambient light, and dual 1.3 megapixel webcams (one at the front

and one at the back) for video calling and augmented reality applications.


Connectivity is also quite good. On the tablet’s left we

have audio and video outputs in the shape of a 3.5mm headphone jack and mini

HDMI connector, which should (in theory, at least) let you output 1,080p to an

external display. There’s also a full-size SD card reader, which offers cheaper

expandable memory than the Micro-SD slots on many tablets, and will let you

plug your camera’s cards directly into the device.


In a nice touch, MSI has included physical Wi-Fi and

Bluetooth buttons, which join the slightly recessed power button at the

device’s top. On the right you’ll find a single USB 2.0 port, which lets you

hook up anything from memory sticks to peripherals. These are significant

advantages compared to either iPad, but whether they will be enough to make a

difference will depend on the rest of the WindPad 100W.