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MSI Wind 12 U200-038UK review

Alan Lu
24 Apr 2010
MSI Wind 12 U200-038UK
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
390
inc VAT

The MSI Wind 12 U200 is an inexpensive step up from most netbooks, but its imperfect design limits its appeal to those on a strict budget.

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Specifications

12.1 in 1,366x768 display, 1.5kg, 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Solo U3500, 2.00GB RAM, 320GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit

From this laptop's name you may think it's a netbook, as with all of the original Wind models, but the 12 U200 is a larger, more capable ultra-portable laptop with an Intel CULV processor.

Part of the reason for this laptop's relatively low price is that it's equipped with a 1.4GHz single core Core 2 Solo U3500 processor, rather than a dual-core chip as used by many other ultra-portables.

As expected, the single processor core meant that the Wind performed sluggishly in our video encoding and multiple applications tests, which benefit from extra cores. It was around the same speed as other dual core CULV laptops in our image editing test, which only uses a single core.

Benchmarks are helped by the laptop's 2GB of RAM. Overall, the U200 scored 34 in our benchmarks, making it around twice as fast as a netbook. Windows 7 felt very responsive on this laptop.

Graphics are powered by an integrated Intel GMA 4500M chip. It's fine for use in Windows, but not good enough for 3D games.

We weren't fond of the Wind's shiny white plastic case, but it is a matter of taste. The laptop's fan can become quite noisy, which is a little irritating, but it's not audible all the time so it's bearable.

We weren't impressed with the keyboard. The keys are all a decent size, but they lack resistance, so they feel springy when pressed. This makes typographical errors more likely. The small touchpad is accurate and its buttons well placed.

We found that the supplied battery was quite chunky, although this does mean that the laptop's placed at a more comfortable angle when it's on a desk. Its bulk is mostly worth it, too, as the U200 lasted 6h 21m in our light-use battery test. This isn't long enough for an entire day of work, but is still very good. However, we have seen other ultra-portables with even longer battery life.

An 11.6in widescreen display strikes a decent compromise between portability and viewing size. Its resolution of 1,366x768 gives plenty of desktop space and is a notable improvement over a standard netbook's resolution of 1,024x600.

Quality is pretty good, although its viewing angles mean that you need to sit directly in front of it, otherwise colour accuracy goes out of the window. Colours looked accurate, although the screen's a little darker than on other laptops. It's good that the screen tilts a long way back, as it makes it easy to position it and the laptop anywhere and still be able to view it clearly.

The U200's speakers are reasonably loud, but music sounds very muddy and there's little stereo separation. You'll want a quality pair of speakers or headphones to get the best possible sound quality.

The Wind is attractive if you want an ultra-portable laptop on a tight budget and want a bigger screen and keyboard than is possible with most netbooks. Unfortunately, its keyboard and touchpad let it down slightly.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
ProcessorIntel Core 2 Solo U3500
Processor clock speed1.4GHz
Memory2.00GB
Memory slots2
Memory slots free1
Maximum memory4GB
Size45x296x194mm
Weight1.5kg
SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad

Display

Viewable size12.1 in
Native resolution1,366x768
Graphics ProcessorIntel GMA 4500M HD
Graphics/video portsHDMI, VGA
Graphics Memory32MB

Storage

Total storage capacity320GB
Optical drive modelnone
Optical drive typeN/A

Ports and Expansion

USB ports3
Bluetoothyes
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slotsnone
ModemNo
Supported memory cardsSDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro/Duo, xD
Other portsnone

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
Operating system restore optionrestore disc
Software includedMicrosoft Works 9
Optional extrasnone

Buying Information

Warrantytwo years collect and return
Price£390
Detailswww.msicomputer.co.uk
Supplierhttp://www.cclonline.com