MSI Wind Review

MSI Wind Review

I’ve got the chance to get fairly acquainted with the MSI Wind U100, one of the early competitors in the 10″ range of the UMPC market. Check out some photos and the full review after the jump.

MSI did the right thing by skipping the 7-inch segment and went all-out with a 10-incher (there’s an MSI Wind U90 at 8.9″ but was never launched in the Philippines and the version I got was the MSI U100XP 10″ running Windows XP). See unboxing pics here.

MSI Wind u100

From a usability perspective, between the small 7-inch UMPC and the regular 12″ laptops, the 9 and 10 inches seem to be the sweet spot in terms of form and function. One is the size of the keyboard as well as spacing of the keys and the other is the size of the display screen and the maximum resolution.

MSI Wind u100

The 9 and 10 inch screens that support 1024×600 provides perfect fit for most websites without ruining the layout. Likewise, the keyboard is more comfortable to deal with and touch typing is bearable (i.e. much less typos).

MSI was among a number of manufacturers that chose the Intel Atom CPU on the first round so they enjoyed the hype the came with it. True enough, the system can play DivX movies smoothly using an average 20% of CPU load. Likewise, the CPU core averages at 57 degrees Centigrade but because there was ample ventilation at the bottom and an exhaust fan blowing out from the left side, the MSI Wind does not heat up as much as the Asus Eee PC 701 running a Celeron M 900. In comparison, my Compaq Presario b1200 (T7250 Core 2 Duo 2.0GHz) is much hotter at an average 65 degrees Centigrade .

MSI Wind u100

And since MSI went with a hard drive instead of the SDD or flash disk, you get more storage capacity. The 2.5″ 80GB Western Digital HDD (Scorpio 5400 rpm) that came with the Wind U100 runs very well and only clocks at 44 degrees Centigrade (under prolonged usage) so it didn’t add much trouble with heat dissipation. In the weight department, typical 2.5″ drives only add about 115 grams so there’s not much sacrifice choosing this over an SSD. This is probably the least skin-scorching laptop I’ve ever used so Intel did a good job with the Atom.


MSI Wind u100 MSI Wind u100 MSI Wind u100

The unit that was lent to me is one of the U100XP models — runs MS WIndows XP Home SP3, Intel Atom 1.6GHz N270, 1GB RAM, 80GB HDD, WiFi 802.11 b/g, Bluetooth, 1.3MP webcam, 3 USB 2.0 ports, a LAN port, SD card reader, with a 10″ wide screen display (1024×600 resolution). Weighs 2.3 lbs or 1.04 kg.

Speakers are placed below the front ends of the laptop so sound volume is loud enough but not maximized. There are several LED lights on the front right side indicating activity for Bluetooth, sound, HDD, and battery life among others. The 3-cell battery is rated at 2200mAh and only lasts just over 2 hours on continuous use.

MSI Wind u100 MSI Wind u100 MSI Wind u100

If you looked at these specs (including possible upgrades to 2GB RAM and 320GB HDD), they’re very comparable to a lot of entry-level 12.1″ to 15.4″ laptops from last year. In a way, we can now say that the MSI Wind has a good potential to be a primary laptop (see related story on Intel Atom here). The design is simple yet elegant with a glossy finish on the screen lid so expect it to be a fingerprint-magnet.

Of course, the unit didn’t come without some software/hardware bugs at first. Most common of all is the Wifi device from Realtek but after re-installing the latest drivers, this was quickly resolved.

MSI Wind u100 MSI Wind u100 MSI Wind u100
MSI Wind u100 MSI Wind u100 MSI Wind u100

At a median price of about Php26,000, the MSI Wind came in at the top of my choice for currently available netbooks in the market (see the complete price range here).

Notes: VLC Media Player was used to run a DivX movie. PC Wizard 2008 was used to monitor system and CPU temperatures as well as CPU load while running VLC. Click on thumbnails to view larger pictures.

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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42 Responses

  1. hmm.. I wonder when the option to get a 6 cell battery will come out. That touted 5 hr battery life is one of the reasons I’ve stuck to the Wind boat

  2. yuga says:

    Initial reports indicate it would be by September. Don’t know how big it will be and how much it will cost.

  3. Shannelle says:

    Yehey! Finally! I was waiting for this particular review from you, Abe. So thank you. I hope you’ll try out a 3D game using that laptop just to check how it’ll fare for some gaming quickfix.

    I’m highly inclined to get the Wind by the end of the month. However, the existence of Asus EEE 1000H gets me confused. :-S Do you plan to review the Asus EEE 1000H? I’d like sana your personal take of that unit against MSI Wind.

  4. Jan Alvin says:

    Kuya Abe, will be posting the price list here?

    Ang cute niya, pambata. XD

  5. yuga says:

    @shanelle – they almost have the same specs so the next battle will be form and design.

    @Jan Alvin – the last paragraph in my review above has the link to the pricing.

  6. Lix Tetrax says:

    Does your wind still possesses the synaptics touchpad? because the latest ones doesn’t have synaptics instead MSI replaced them with Sentilic…tsk tsk Cutting cost maybe?

    And yes Shanelle I myself was once confused on which one to buy? But after I heard this Synaptics issue I chose to order the EEE 1000.

    Lastly this MSI costs 26k and EEE costs 26.5k but take note the EEE comes with a 6 cell battery and wireless n.

  7. it looks promising. will have to give it a hands on when possible. am still hoping the price will eventually decrease after some time. :D

  8. Shannelle says:

    Lix, I just got the MSI Wind. It is 26k but it came with a free 1GB memory upgrade. Payment mode is 6 months 0% interest.

    Btw, what is Sentilic? I thought it’s a 1 button touchpad. My unit has it but according to the device manager and mouse control, I have the synaptics.

    I didn’t dwell too much on the wifi N. I decided I can live with the 3-cell battery considering the 6-cell will just add to the weight.

    After checking what was on display, the laptop design of MSI Wind won me over Asus EEE 1000H. I have this work unit Lenovo Y300 that has the round design. I’m not really fond of it >.<

    Time to play with the new toy that remains nameless as of this moment.

  9. Lix Tetrax says:

    Good to see that you still have a Synaptics Touchpad too bad for those that will buy Wind in a later date. But still I find the MSI a bit expensive considering that I get a 6-cell, XPH, and Wireless N in EEE 1000H for a difference of 500 pesos.

  10. Shannelle says:

    Make it 1,500K pesos difference since I was provided with the 2GB memory :) Btw, it’s XPH too. So it’s more the 6-cell and the Wifi N ang major difference. I was really partial to the laptop design of MSI from the very beginning. Asus release of EEE 1000H just made me reconsider a bit >.< Anyway, the free mem upgrade and the installment payment made me decide to finally buy it.

    Hhmmm… from what I read on some MSI Wind related updates, I get this impression that the units with the 6-cell unit has the different touchpad. I am assuming that the demand probably caused the changes since they had lots of orders to fill. It’s very odd that there is a lack of supply outside PH but we seem to have an abundant local supply.

    Or maybe UMPCs are not as in demand in the local scene.

  11. yuga says:

    @Lix Tetrax, yup, mine is already using the latter.

  12. cris says:

    I was thinking of buying an MSI wind, and i was wondering if they have service centers here in the phil??? Are these things built to last???

  13. psioniq says:

    Before I bought one, I made a thorough research on it. Result are highly positive. I got it under 24K php. The specs: 2gig RAM 160g HD, XP home OS. Personally its performance is excellent, fast and responsive; the downside short battery life and its WIFI quite weak, a bit frustrating. Novice user may find it slightly difficult to fix this, but the heck, purchase instead an usb WIFI, that will solve it.

    The interesting part about this unit I see in the web, alot of tech-ies mod their MSI Wind to some extent like installing triple OS, gamer’s console (graphics intensive)and, .my FAV; Mod apple netbook; complete with Leopard OS and apple logo with led lights. Maybe someday, I’ll make mine mod TOUGH NETBOOK (PANASONIC inspired)

  14. miao says:

    I think there is.. just ask the store you’re gonna buy the stuff. I’m sure they know.. or else don’t buy it..

  15. jeffrey s. says:

    i bought a msi wind without OS for 19999k at Octagon, Festival Mall, Alabang and installed ubuntu. Sad to say I was informed that the no OS version doesn’t have a bluetooth device since the salesperson demo the windows version.

  16. jeffrey s. says:

    correction: Sad to say I was NOT informed that the no OS version doesn’t have a bluetooth device since the salesperson demo the windows version

  17. weeja says:

    just want to ask: does the intel atom of MSI wind perform well? is it “slightly” comparable to dualcore? techie-less netbook newbie here :)

  18. Mark says:

    Well, the wind performed great!=) well of course not too much as compared to dual core CPUs in terms of hardcore gaming, but it does accomplish tasks with flying colors. And yes, you’re right I’m definitely proud with my wind.:D

  19. i too am a happy user of the msi wind. would also like to know when will the six-cell battery be available here. the wind’s four cell leaves much to be desired but other than that everything about the wind is just great.

  20. yanda says:

    can I play online games like ragnarok on an MSI wind notebook? Thanks!

  21. Chad says:

    Anyone know where I could purchase a 6-cell battery color black for my MSI wind u100?

  22. NOEL OBRATA.NET says:

    yes, u can play!

  23. randie cruz says:

    you guys still dont have or not using 6 cell batt?
    its been long out in the U.S..i bought my msi that goes along with it..same price as the stock one and same size..

  24. randie cruz says:

    what? P26,000 ? thats hefty price…its only $365 U.S dollars when i bought mine in miami…

  25. Kixeria says:

    If I’ve got 5thumbs I would’ve raised them all for MSI Wind U100 version (White With Love). I can play mmorpg games, use photoshop, edit videos using vegas, design a website, use adobe-mac softwares, everything that I want to do, in such a slick mobile netbook. ^___^ MSI Wind Recommended for everybody who’s always on the go!!

  26. Anna Castrillo says:

    hi. Just want to ask what will I do. Kasi na uninstall ko yung intel graphic media accelerator(accidentally). Tapos I turned off my laptop.And then nung binuksan ko na siya, nag iba yung screen resolution niya. tinry ko siya baguhin sa sa display properties, pero ang andun lang na screen resolution is 800×600. Eh dapat mga 1024xsomething yung resolution niya. tapos everytime in-ON ko siya may lumalabas na Found New Hardware VIDEO CONTROLLER(VGA Compatible).Eh wala naman akong inistall na something like that. In case you know please reply. Thanks:)

  27. direstraits94 says:

    you have to re-install that graphics accelerator because that is the driver for your video card..check the accompanying cd that you have when you bought your laptop, if it does’nt have accompanying cd just download it msi website its there

  28. Anna Castrillo says:

    Hi. I visited MSI website and check the drivers that I can download for msi u100. Just want to ask what’s the right driver that I should download for my video card since I uninstalled it incidentally. :)

    NB Card Reader Drivers for XP (Realtek)
    Touchpad Drivers
    Webcam Drivers
    VGA Drivers for Wind Uxx Series
    WLAN Drivers for U100 (RTL8187SE)
    WLAN Drivers for U100 (RT2700E)
    NB Bluetooth Drivers for XP
    WLAN Drivers for U100 (Azurewave-NE771)
    Webcam Drivers for U100
    LAN Drivers for U100
    Chipset Drivers for U100
    Audio Drivers for U100

    I dont know what should I install for the video card? Thanks.

  29. drealmarlon says:

    yung vga for wind yung driver dun o kaya hanapin mo yung intel video graphics nandun sa cd driver.

  30. jazzme says:

    i bought mine last year and sold it last july to my bro for 100 bucks.

  31. direstraits94 says:

    download the chipset driver for msi

  32. jay says:

    actually, my msi wind had encountered a factory defect and i wasnt been able to fix it for 3 months..since its service center is in manila and i was in visayas… luckily when i went to qc, Net essentials brought life to my dead keyboard msi wind laptop and i am happy that it was been fixed with warranty…. and now im using it again and do stuffs for my work.. the unit is really good and very handy …. do not worry about the customer service support because they will attend to u nicely……

  33. mark caisido says:

    where can i buy keyboard replacement for msi wind notebook? can someone help me.

  34. majorie says:

    is there any msi service center in davao city?

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