To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

MSI U270 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £338
inc VAT

A smart little laptop, but the U270 isn’t as well equipped as its similarly priced competitors


11.6 in 1,366×768 display, 1.3kg, 1.6GHz AMD E-350, 2.00GB RAM, 320GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

MSI’s latest small laptop is a noticeable step up from a netbook and the U270 uses an AMD processor, rather than Intel, which has opened the floodgates to a wealth of changes and upgrades.

The U270 is by no means thin considering its compact size, but it at least doesn’t weigh a lot. At just 1.3kg you’ll barely feel the weight in a laptop bag when on the move. The incredibly small 11.6in chassis still has room inside for an AMD E-350 processor, 2GB of RAM and a 320GB hard disk, which is more than enough to handle most day-to-day desktop tasks such as web browsing and word processing.

MSI U270

We didn’t experience many slowdowns when running multiple browser tabs, although serious multitasking still made the operating system feel sluggish. Our multimedia benchmarks told a similar story: the single-threaded image editing test was reasonably fast for a low-power CPU, but the multi-tasking test brought the overall result down to just 12.

AMD builds an integrated graphics chip into the E series processor, which is powerful enough for high definition video. We could play 720p content smoothly on the laptop, and even 1080p video on an external display using the HDMI outout, but our gaming tests pushed it too far. Dirt 3 couldn’t post a playable frame rate at all, regardless of the detail and resolution settings we tried.

MSI U270 left

One benefit to an integrated graphics chip is that it lessens the impact on battery life over a dedicated card. Lasting five-and-a-half hours away from the mains in our light-use test, this laptop will last most of a working day without having to be charged. That said, other AMD-powered ultra-portables we’ve seen recently have managed over eight hours.

We appreciated the anti-glare coating MSI has applied to the 11.6in screen. Although it isn’t a matt finish, which would possibly be more adept at diffusing light reflections, it did a great job of keeping our harsh office lighting from becoming a distraction. The 1,366×768 resolution is also a welcome increase from what we’re used to seeing in 11.6in displays. Unfortunately, the screen doesn’t tilt far and, viewing angles are average, it can be hard to see what’s on screen. Colours still looked fairly vibrant.

Pages: 1 2

Basic Specifications

Rating ***
Processor AMD E-350
Processor clock speed 1.6GHz
Memory 2.00GB
Memory slots 2
Memory slots free 0
Maximum memory 8GB
Size 31x297x190mm
Weight 1.3kg
Sound Realtek HD Audio
Pointing device touchpad


Viewable size 11.6 in
Native resolution 1,366×768
Graphics Processor AMD Radeon HD 6310
Graphics/video ports HDMI
Graphics Memory 384MB


Total storage capacity 320GB
Optical drive type none

Ports and Expansion

USB ports 3
Bluetooth no
Wired network ports 1x 10/100
Wireless networking support 802.11n
PC Card slots none
Supported memory cards SDHC, MMC, Memory Stick
Other ports minijack audio output, minijack microphone input, 1x USB3


Carrying case No
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore option restore partition
Software included Microsoft Office 2010 Starter edition
Optional extras none

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £338

Read more