The MSI Wind U230-040US has an AMD Athlon Neo X2 L335 CPU running at 1.6GHz. The notebook runs Windows 7 Home Premium and it has a 12.1-inch screen. The native resolution for the screen is 1366 x 768. Graphics are via an ATI Radeon HD3200 GPU and the machine has HD audio. Storage is to a 320GB HDD. The machine is available now for $529.
To test the MSI Wind U230-040US I will be using my iTunes encoding test, Battery Eater Pro, and my movie encoding test with Media Coder 0.7.3.4616. The first test I ran was the media encoding test. I took the 1080p Microsoft Magic of Flight video and turned it into an XviD format HD video with Lame MP3 sound. It took the MSI Wind U230-040US 1057 seconds to encode the entire movie. That is about twice the time it took the much more powerful Toshiba L555D-S7930 notebook I reviewed early this month to encode the same video.
The next test up was my iTunes encoding test where i use iTunes to turn the Stone Temple Pilots Core album from MP3 to AAC format. It took the MSI Wind U230-040US 3 minutes and 22 seconds to encode the album. The final test up was battery life. With the machine set on power, saving mode and sleep functions turned off, the battery lasted 161 minutes with the screen at 50% brightness. Battery life was a bit less than I expected and the Toshiba I mentioned before was about twice as fast on video encoding.
After the benchmarks were over, I started using the machine to see how it would work in the real world. The keyboard on the machine is very good and is full size. The keys are where they are supposed to be and offer a slight click when pressed. The track pad is accurate enough, but the buttons were low profile and hard to press. I kept trying to click the frame surrounding the buttons by mistake as I worked.
The screen is glossy, which is a big pet peeve of mine. It has good color reproduction and is sized well for working on the road. The machine is nice looking and its small and light design makes this a very portable machine.
I wish the MSI Wind U230-040US had a better GPU inside. The machine can stream video online, but the streaming performance is not great with stuttering playback. That is typical for a netbook though at this price and with this hardware you will be hard pressed to find flawless video playback.
The big issue with the machine is that its battery life isn’t that great. My battery benchmark is very hard on batteries, so you will see more run time in the real world. Still, the test compares well across the machines I test and the MSI Wind U230-040US, which is basically a netbook with an AMD processor has a battery run time that I would expect form a more powerful machine.
The MSI Wind U230-040US is a decent enough machine with AMD power that could use a bit more run time per charge. It has decent performance and a nice keyboard making it a decent choice if portability is more important that battery life and performance.
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.
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