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MSI Wind U115 Hybrid review

Alan Lu
7 Aug 2009
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.

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Specifications

10.1 in 1,024x600 display, 1.3kg, 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530, 1.00GB RAM, 168GB disk, Windows XP Home Edition

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 1,024x600. 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***
ProcessorIntel Atom Z530
Processor clock speed1.6GHz
Memory1.00GB
Memory slots1
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory2GB
Size43x260x180mm
Weight1.3kg
SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad
Power consumption standby1W
Power consumption idle8W
Power consumption active13W

Display

Viewable size10.1 in
Native resolution1,024x600
Graphics ProcessorIntel GMA 500
Graphics/video portsVGA
Graphics Memory254MB

Storage

Total storage capacity168GB
Optical drive modelnone
Optical drive typeN/A

Ports and Expansion

USB ports3
Bluetoothyes
Wired network ports1x 10/100
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slotsnone
ModemNo
Supported memory cardsSDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro/Duo
Other portsnone

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseYes
Operating systemWindows XP Home Edition
Operating system restore optionrestore disc
Software includednone
Optional extrasnone

Buying Information

Warrantytwo years RTB
Price£450
Detailswww.msicomputer.co.uk
Supplierhttp://www.laptopsdirect.co.uk

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