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MSI Wind U115 Hybrid review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : 450
inc VAT

The Wind is impressive thanks to its long battery life and bright screen, but it's very expensive and cheaper netbooks have similar battery life.

Specifications

10.1 in 1,024×600 display, 1.3kg, 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530, 1.00GB RAM, 168GB disk, Windows XP Home Edition

http://www.laptopsdirect.co.uk

MSI’s Wind U115 Hybird is so-called because it has an 8GB solid-state disk (SSD) and a traditional 160GB hard disk.

The idea is that Windows XP is loaded on to the faster, more reliable SSD, while the slower, cheaper hard disk can be used for storing files. During testing, Windows didn’t boot any faster or feel any more responsive, though.

The other benefit of the Hybrid storage is that the Eco On mode can disable the hard disk, leaving the U115 running with just the more power-efficient SSD to increase battery life. Not that you need to worry about battery life, as with both the hard disk and SSD running we tested a battery life of nine-and-a-half hours. That’s the longest battery life of any netbook we’ve seen.

Apart from the battery life and storage arrangement, the U115 is very similar to the U100. The keyboard and touchpad are unchanged, which is a missed opportunity, since there’s room for improvement. Although the touchpad is accurate and responsive, it’s rather small and the tiny pivoting mouse button doesn’t give as much feedback as we’d like. The responsive keyboard is comfortable to use, but many of the punctuation keys are half the size of other keys, which is annoying for touch-typists.

This Wind has a newer 1.6GHz Atom Z530 processor. Z-series Atoms have tended to be slower than their N-series counterparts, but the U115 was just as quick in our Windows benchmarks as the U100. The drivers for the Intel GMA 500 integrated graphics chip still need improvement, as some frames were dropped while playing standard-definition DivX and iTunes videos.

The 10in display is very bright, but is still limited to a resolution of 1,024×600. The matte finish cuts out reflections.

The Wind U115 tries to provide the best of both worlds by having Windows XP on the SSD, leaving you plenty of space for documents and large media files on the hard disk. The trouble is, it’s just too expensive, especially when other, cheaper netbooks have battery life that’s almost as long.

Basic Specifications

Rating ***
Processor Intel Atom Z530
Processor clock speed 1.6GHz
Memory 1.00GB
Memory slots 1
Memory slots free 0
Maximum memory 2GB
Size 43x260x180mm
Weight 1.3kg
Sound Realtek High Definition Audio
Pointing device touchpad
Power consumption standby 1W
Power consumption idle 8W
Power consumption active 13W

Display

Viewable size 10.1 in
Native resolution 1,024×600
Graphics Processor Intel GMA 500
Graphics/video ports VGA
Graphics Memory 254MB

Storage

Total storage capacity 168GB
Optical drive model none
Optical drive type N/A

Ports and Expansion

USB ports 3
Bluetooth yes
Wired network ports 1x 10/100
Wireless networking support 802.11n
PC Card slots none
Modem No
Supported memory cards SDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro/Duo
Other ports none

Miscellaneous

Carrying case Yes
Operating system Windows XP Home Edition
Operating system restore option restore disc
Software included none
Optional extras none

Buying Information

Warranty two years RTB
Price £450
Details www.msicomputer.co.uk
Supplier http://www.laptopsdirect.co.uk

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