MSI Wind Windows XP Edition sub-notebook
Size, it seems, is everything
Review Nothing has caught the imagination of techies of late as much as the Asus Eee PC has. Its tiny dimensions, unique design and true bargain-basement price has rocked the laptop business to the core.
The first-generation Eee PC had more than its fair share of critics. The most common complains centred on its poor battery life and a screen so small it threatened to recalibrate your eyesight. In response, Asus briefly released the larger Eee PC 900, and on 1 July its successor, the Atom-equipped Eee PC 901, will make arrive over here. Asus may now have the near-perfect product, but its rivals are circling ominously.
MSI's Wind: compact and bijou
Earlier this week, we tried the Eee PC 901 and declared it the best of the current crop. HP’s MiniNote has an astoundingly good keyboard, but it’s slow and comparatively pricey. The Acer Aspire One looks good and is excellent value, but it’s lacking in quality and usability. Dell’s upcoming machine ticks all the right boxes, but its launch has been delayed.
At this point, the MSI Wind breezes in, offering a mixture of style, affordability, usability and surprisingly good quality.
At £329, the Wind can’t match the throw-away £229 price of the original Eee PC 701, and is still a tenner more expensive than the 901. But with a bigger, 10in screen and a good specification, it still represents a bargain in the world of ultraportable laptops. Granted – it’s not a world away from cost of a 15.4in desktop replacement, but then it's not fighting for the same buyer. If you need portability above all else, the Wind promises plenty.
Pleasing 10in screen
The Wind’s 10in display is surrounded by a thick bezel, which also houses a webcam and a single microphone. With a resolution of 1024 x 600 – the same as its 8.9in rivals – the Wind's display is sharp enough to show Windows XP without the need for some frantic scrolling. It’s a lot brighter than the panels found on other Small, Cheap Computers, and colours are reproduced with impressive accuracy.
Dumping in this context is giving away at very low price and likely below cost, specifically to undermine competition.
In many case this is illegal although the problem with software is that you can argue the cost is zero. Still the EU has done some good work so it seems reasonable to suggest they should look at the price charged for XP on these devices
spegru, what do you mean by 'dumping'?
Linux version has lower spec -- a monopoly issue?
The linux version looks like it will have a lower spec, e.g. only half the memory of the XP version, no blue-tooth, and no 6-cell battery option.
These different default specs make it hard to work out what, if anything, MSI and others are charging for XP licences: perhaps this is a deliberate policy --- of course Microsoft could not possibly be imposing a constraint that requires companies to refrain from shipping direct non-XP equivalents. That would be one way of hiding any activity that might interest some regulators, such as leveraging an existing monopoly position to gain advantage in a new market ... something frowned on in many jurisdictions.
Just another laptop
This isn't different to any other 10in Laptop. Hard disk based, way over a kilo, designed to run Windoze. Boring.
These things should be called LCRCs - Lightweight Cheap Reliable Computers. Small isn't necessarily a plus point, but under a kilogramme certainly is, whatever the size. No moving parts is always good for reliability.
What's exciting about the Eee PC is that it's all solid-state, and designed for Linux. So more reliable, and weighs less. Cheaper too, as long as 8Gb suffices for the O/S and apps.
Microsoft are badly wrong-footed. They can shoehorn XP into it (but XP is obsolete soon isn't it?) and there's not a hope in hell of it running Vista.
I think I read that ASUS have a 10 inch Eee in the pipeline, hopefully still all solid-state. Ideally they'll keep the weight under a kilo.
And customers seem happy enough with Linux. Let the floodgates open!
Not quite a sub-notebook. The only "sub" things are the specs. Since when sub-notebooks are supposed to be desktop replacements? I agree that most people don't use more than 10% of the computing power they're provided with, but then, how do you explain that you get only these useful 10% *for the full price????*
Sub-notebooks are supposed to be for basic tasks, text typing, a bit of browsing and e-mailing. If you need some storage, go external, you can get an 8 Go SD card for less than 30 bucks anywhere (of course, this POS NEEDS a large drive as it wont take a SDHD card...), and if you have reasonably large pockets, external 2.5' drives are ridiculously cheap these days.
So it has the horsepower of a sub-labtop and the pricetag of the real thing (and I'm generous. I got a low-end all-purpose laptop for that price 2 years ago, and I got 2 times 1.6 GHz, a crisp 1280x800 display - that's without framebuffer support loaded-, and an almost acceptable video card. All other specs were better, too). I wonder how many ludites will fall for it. Or is the weight so important? how many years locked in the basement does it take to be unable to lift a real laptop anymore? C'mon, even the battery life is very unimpressive! (while we're talking about that, when was the last time you happened to be lost more than 10 m away from a power point? If you ask nicely and order a pint, no bartender will bar you from using the mains.)
There was a very interesting giveaway in the ad^H article, "the Wind’s 1024 x 600 pixel resolution is below that of the minimum 1280 x 800 we use during PCMark and 3DMark tests.". That wouldn't be a problem if you didn't tout the "impressive colour accuracy" and "impressive display" every other sentence. Also, regarding the "display" issue, the problems you had when fiddling with images make it look like it has an incredibly nice display -as long as you don't try to do anything else than staring at the desktop background.
Though this kit probably don't bring anything worth mentionning (appart from the confirmation that MSI kits are still the easyest way to separate a fool from his money), it is interesting to note that, in spite of the price, IT DOESN'T RUN VISTA (which my 2-yo 350 pounds laptop does, albeit at a neurasthenic-compliant speed). Yay XP (I feel dirty now. Anything but Vista anyway). The last salesman I met didn't believe me when I told him XP wouldn't be pulled before Windows 7 release. Sounds like the billions $ spent in advertisement and bribing were not enough to rescue Vista finally.