The MSI Wind U100 has a 10-inch screen with a resolution of 1024 x 600 and LED backlighting. The netbook has an Intel Atom N270 processor running 1.6GHz and uses the Intel 945GSE+ ICH7-M chipset. Graphics are Intel GMA 950 integrated and the machine has 1GB of RAM and a 160GB HDD. Other features include integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth along with a memory card reader and 1.3MP webcam. Power for the machine comes from a 6-cell lithium ion battery pack.
If you have never used a netbook, the first thing you notice when pulling the MSI Wind U100 out of its box is how small the machine is. The 10-inch netbook is tiny compared to traditional notebooks that are usually 15-inches are larger. The small size makes the machine very portable at 2.6-pounds with the 6-cell battery and overall dimensions are 10.23-inches long x 7.08-inches deep x 0.78 to 1.24-inches tall.
The MSI Wind U100 is so light that you can easily carry it for a long time without getting tired and you hardly notice it is there. Back in January at CES 2009, I carried the U100 and worked from it exclusively. The tiny machine was a godsend for the miles of walking around the convention center I did.
One of the main concerns when consumers are looking for a netbook is will the machines run the applications they need. The MSI Wind U100 will run most everything that the average computer user needs. I use Microsoft Word extensively on the U100 without any issues and will all of the performance that my normal notebook offered. I also used Adobe Photo Shop Elements on the computer to resize images and enhance them without any issues.
I will say that loading Photoshop was slower than on my desktop or notebook at home, but once loaded I had no problems at all editing the photos on the MSI Wind U100. The machine has plenty of storage for documents, files, and music thanks to its 160GB HDD.
The keyboard is a big deal on any laptop, and even more so on a netbook. Small netbooks have small keyboards as a result and some of the popular machines on the market like the Asus Eee use odd key layouts making matters worse. The MSI Wind U100 has a normal keyboard layout and offers keys that are small, but well spaced and easy to use. The keyboard offers good tactile feel and after a very short acclimation period, I was typing on the MSI Wind U100 as quickly as I could type at home or on my normal notebook.
One of the only real issues that I had during my time with the Wind was that the small space for the keyboard and track pad meant that the track pad was very close to the keyboard. I found a few times that I was accidently hitting the track pad with the palm of my hand while typing and moving the cursor which resulted in text being put into documents at the incorrect location. Those with a typing style different from mine may find that problem isn’t an issue, but the solution for me was to use the function keys to turn off the track pad while typing long documents.
Battery life is an important part of any notebook or netbook and the MSI Wind U100 does very well in this area, though not as good as other netbooks on the market. During my work with the U100, I kept Wi-Fi turned on along with Bluetooth and the screen set to maximum brightness. I was impressed that with the netbook was able to run for about 4 hours and 10 minutes.
The little screen offers good image quality and is bright enough to view (with effort) in daylight. Colors are reproduced accurately and skin tones were good. One of the big downfalls of the MSI Wind U100 when watching movies on the screen was that the speaker system lacks volume. I would like to see better quality speakers used.
In the end, the MSI Wind U100 is a fantastic netbook and I gladly accept the tradeoff of less performance, smaller screen, and smaller keyboard for the significantly improved portability the machine offers. Most users will find that they can easily work from the MSI Wind U100 on the road and at home with minimal tradeoffs compared to a traditional notebook.
Leading our review center, Shane McGlaun (Google) knows technology inside out. His extensive experience in testing computer hardware and consumer electronics enable him to effectively qualify new products and trends. If you want us review your product, please contact Shane.
Shane can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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