MSI has been moving into the notebook market in a big way over the past few years, with forays into business and gaming notebooks, and, this summer, netbooks, with the Wind U100. We have to say, we’re impressed.
The MSI Wind runs on the same Intel Atom N270 processor and Intel GMA950 integrated graphics chipset as the other two netbooks in our roundup. Unlike those two, however, the Wind sports a 10.1-inch LED-backlit LCD display, making it the largest netbook we’ve tested, although that’s nearly an oxymoron.
The corner hinges on the Wind are not quite as sturdy as the Eee PC’s barrel hinge or the Aspire One’s, but it’s still solid. The matte screen is quite bright under AC power and readable at even 25 percent backlighting.
The Wind performed admirably in our tests (with the exception of Quake Live), lasting nearly two hours in our video battery-rundown test. It plowed through our Photoshop benchmark in 730 seconds, twice as fast as the Eee 901—albeit a good third the speed of our Asus C90S zero-point notebook.
The Wind’s larger size serves it well: Though it has the same-size keyboard as Acer’s Aspire One (reviewed next), its wider body means that large hands don’t hang quite as far off the board.
Add to that the slightly larger screen, and the Wind emerges as the easiest to use netbook in our roundup. Sure, we like the Eee’s fantastic battery life, and the Acer’s bigger hard drive, but drop another $50 on a six-cell battery and you’ve got five hours of battery life and a form factor that’s comfortable enough to use for those five hours.