In these increasingly tablet-focused days, we expect a netbook to do something pretty special in order to stand out. One of the more recent machines to enter the breach is the MSI Wind U135DX. It'll set you back around £230.
Star light, star bright
The U135DX is available in black, white, silver, blue, red and pink versions. The screen's bezel has rounded edges that should stop this netbook poking you through your handbag or rucksack. The plastic chassis has the same rounded appearance. The only stylistically interesting features on the inside of the machine are an asterisk-shaped power light and a chrome click button on the trackpad.
Our version of the U135DX was the 'One Million Dazzling Stars' edition, which means the lid boasts a smattering of shiny faux crystals. These might look pretty from a distance when they're catching the light, but, up close, they look tacky, and the glue used to attach each nodule isn't very strong. You'll probably be finding the tiny beads in the bottom of your bag for months to come.
These 'stars' also aren't arranged in any kind of pattern. We reckon MSI is going for a night-sky vibe, but the distribution of these wee twinklers looks untidy. We'd opt for a version of this netbook that doesn't have these beads.
Around the sides of the U135DX, you'll find an Ethernet port, VGA out, 3.5mm sockets for headphones and a mic, a multi-format card reader, and three USB ports. That's pretty standard in terms of connectivity, but at least nothing vital is absent.
As far as portability goes, the U135DX is light enough, at 1.2kg. It's not the slimmest device we've ever seen, though, measuring 32mm at its thickest point.
We were impressed by the keyboard, which stretches right to the edges of the chassis. There's a generous gap between each key, which should reduce the chances of you making a typo. The small trackpad is aggravating, though -- you'll probably find your digits constricted. But most netbooks suffer from this problem.