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MSI Wind U210 review

MSI Wind U210
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £399
inc VAT

The new Wind is well designed, and its AMD processor is quick in some applications, but its short battery life lets it down.


12.1 in 1,366×768 display, 1.3kg, 1.6GHz AMD Neo MV-40, 1.00GB RAM, 500GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit

MSI’s new Wind netbook is very similar in outward design to the original U100. No bad thing as that designed was roundly applauded and then rebadged by the likes of Advent and Medion. This new model is larger, however, with a 12.1in screen, instead of the usual 10.1in netbook display. There have also been significant changes beneath the casing, with MSI replacing the original Wind’s Intel Atom N270 processor with an AMD Neo MV-40 chip.

The MV-40 runs at the same 1.6GHz clock speed as the N270 and both chips are single core. The Atom supports hyper-threading, though, and so is better at running multiple applications; the Neo doesn’t, and suffered in the multi-tasking portion of our benchmarks, scoring only 3 points. It struck back in our image-editing test, scoring an impressive 42, largely thanks to its faster front side bus. Given a single application to run, it will feel much zippier than an Atom-equipped netbook; but try and run more than one application and it’ll slow quickly. The overall score came to 19, which is a couple of points higher than most Atom netbooks. Also inside is a 500GB hard disk, which is bigger than some full sized laptops have.

The U210, like the U100, has a keyboard that takes up the full width of the case, plus there’s extra space thanks to the wider display. The single-height Enter key is disappointing, although the page navigation keys that have been inserted on the right side help make up for this. Most importantly, the keys have distinct feedback, so touch-typists will find it a pleasure to use. The touchpad is less impressive, as it’s a bit too small and rather unresponsive. The tiny buttons are thoughtfully set close to the edge of the case, where your thumb naturally rests.

Sadly, the U210’s battery life of less than four hours in our light usage test is unacceptable for a netbook. Most of our Best Buy award-winning netbooks recently have had battery lives of more than seven hours. Even Acer’s Ferrari One, also an AMD-powered netbook with a large display, managed over five hours.

The 12.1in display has a resolution of 1,366×768, giving you 70 per cent more desktop space than a normal netbook screen and can show 720p HD content. The screen has a glossy finish, which can cause problems with reflections. The backlight is even, but not as bright as we’d like, and colours are a bit dull, with a blue cast to whites. The graphics chipset can handle HD video, but modern 3D games are out of the question, as it failed our Call of Duty 4 benchmark.

It’s a refreshing change to find a netbook without an Intel processor, but in this case the results are disappointing. Although single-application performance is great, multi-tasking suffers and battery life is poor. The Ferrari One is a good alternative if you don’t mind the branding, everyone else should wait for one of the upcoming Windows 7 Ion-based netbooks, like Samsung’s N510.

Basic Specifications

Rating ***
Processor AMD Neo MV-40
Processor clock speed 1.6GHz
Memory 1.00GB
Memory slots 1
Memory slots free 0
Maximum memory 2GB
Size 31x297x190mm
Weight 1.3kg
Sound Realtek High Definition Audio
Pointing device touchpad
Power consumption standby 0W
Power consumption idle 15W
Power consumption active 27W


Viewable size 12.1 in
Native resolution 1,366×768
Graphics Processor ATI Mobility Radeon X1250
Graphics/video ports VGA
Graphics Memory 128MB


Total storage capacity 500GB
Optical drive model N/A
Optical drive type N/A

Ports and Expansion

USB ports 3
Bluetooth yes
Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support 802.11n
PC Card slots none
Modem No
Supported memory cards SD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro, xD
Other ports minijack audio output, minijack microphone input


Carrying case No
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
Operating system restore option N/A
Software included Microsoft Works 9
Optional extras N/A

Buying Information

Warranty two years collect and return
Price £399

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