MSI Wind U115 Hybrid
The first netbook with an SSD... and an HDD
But it's battery life where the U115 really makes its mark, notching up the longest times we've seen so far and by quite a large margin. Running our standard test, which involves looping a standard-definition H.264 video until the battery runs out, saw it manage to keep going for 341 minutes with both drives activated.
Video Playback Battery Life Results
Battery life in minutes
Longer bars are better
Shutting off the HDD pushed the battery life up to 478 minutes - just two minutes shy of eight hours, and well beyond the Asus Eee 1000HE, which majors on the long duration of its big battery. This is a pretty extreme test, so if you're just doing a little web surfing and the odd bit of typing you should expect much more.
With super long battery life, decent performance and the best of both worlds when it comes to storage, at first glance the U115 would seem like the ultimate netbook. However, it does have one significant downside: its price tag. At £450 it's significantly more than the £329 asking price of its predecessor, putting it head to head with Asus's luxury S101. The S101 may not pack two hard drives, but it's not exactly short on storage with 32GB available and it's a much more stylish netbook and considerably slimmer too.
There's no denying that the U115 offers extraordinarily long battery life and its performance scores are up there with some of the best SCCs we've seen. The combination of both SSD and HDD in one unit is a clever trick, so you can use each storage medium for what it does best.
The big problem with the U115, though, is its price. Even if it was just £50 cheaper, it'd be much more compelling. It doesn't have the looks to pull off a premium price tag and although it's a good performer, it's verging into traditional laptop territory. ®
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