The Good Strikes optimal Netbook balance between portability and usability; polished look; fair price.
The Bad Wimpy three-cell battery is only option at the moment; no 802.11n Wi-Fi or WWAN; no option for solid-state hard drive.
The Bottom Line The MSI Wind U100 makes a positive first impression with its polished design and roomy (for a Netbook) display and keyboard, but it's missing a handful of features--bigger battery, solid-state hard drive, and WWAN--that would turn it from a very good to a great on-the-go mini-laptop.
Editors' note: We have revised the rating of this product to reflect the changing competitive Netbook landscape.
When news and images of the MSI Wind first popped up online in March, we thought we had seen at least a competitor and perhaps the successor to the Eee PC, Asus' Netbook that started the low-cost, low-power laptop craze last year. When the MSI Wind arrived at our offices, unboxing the pearl white Netbook did nothing to alter our thinking. This 10-inch laptop boasts a polished design along with a slightly larger screen and roomier keyboard than the 9-inch Eee PC 901. And priced at $479, it's $120 cheaper than the smaller Eee PC. Inside, the two Netbooks share very similar configurations, including the 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 processor. The Asus Eee PC 901 puts that extra money toward a solid-state drive and bigger battery--two items that allowed it to run for more than 3 hours longer than the MSI Wind on a single charge. (Thankfully, help is on the way; MSI will have a six-cell battery out in September for a yet-to-be-determined amount.) Though its battery life leaves a lot to be desired, the extra space the keyboard affords is greatly appreciated; after using the 10-inch Wind for a few days, we wouldn't recommend going with anything smaller. Until you can combine a 10-inch screen with a six-cell battery, however, you won't arrive at Netbook nirvana.