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MSI Wind U135 early review: Pine fresh

Today we got our hands on MSI's Wind U135 and after several hours of staring at it, we can definitely, absolutely, without hesitation, conclude it's a netbook -- and a pretty decent one at that

Rory Reid

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We first clapped eyes on the MSI Wind U135 back in January at the 2010 CES in Las Vegas. We were pretty damn smitten with it too, as it was the first netbook we'd come across to use Intel's new battery-friendly Pine View CPU. Today, back in London town, we've got one of our own to play with and figured we'd tell you about it while we work on a full review.

Not much has changed since we first spotted it. Its glossy black finish isn't particularly inventive, and the large MSI logo on the lid won't win you any mates, but it feels good and solid, so you could use it as a bludgeoning weapon against anyone who dares question your taste. Failing that, you could just insist on showing them the netbook's glorious 'chiclet' keyboard, whose shallow, isolated buttons could fool the uninitiated into thinking the Wind U135 was a Sony.

Inside, the Wind U135 uses the aforementioned Pine View Intel Atom N450 chip, 1GB of RAM and a 250GB hard drive, so it's more suited to light Internet use -- standard-def video, emails, iPlayer -- rather than intensive video- or photo-editing applications. MSI has also supplied a six-cell, 4,400mAh battery pack that, in casual use, pushes the netbook's battery life well north of 5 hours. Sure, the battery is fatter than the three-cell units on many netbooks, but its extra girth angles the keyboard upwards slightly, making it easier to type on.

The Wind U135 is available now for around £280, which is pretty typical for netbooks of this specification. We're currently in the middle of giving it a full and thorough review, so check back later for our definitive verdict. In the meantime, hit the 'Continue' link below for some hands-on pictures.

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The MSI logo on the U135 won't do you any favours, but make no mistake, this is a solidly built netbook with some good components.
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Its keyboard is excellent for such a small device. The isolated -- or 'chiclet' -- key design reduces the chances of typos, though the mouse trackpad isn't multi-touch compatible.
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To the laptop's left side, there are two USB ports.
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On the opposite side, there's a USB port, memory card reader, mic and headphone jacks, D-Sub VGA video output and an Ethernet port.

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