Why I chose the MSI Wind U100-483JP

The MSI Wind U100 is a great netbook. This article is a summary of why I chose to buy the MSI Wind over all the other competitors in the market. I wanted a very portable laptop for writing up articles from nearly anywhere I traveled. I wanted a laptop that I could easily take to a Wi-Fi enabled hotspot, on the plane, or to events such as the Tokyo Game Show.

As my current laptop is a Dell Inspiron 6400 which weighs in at a hefty 6-pounds, any netbook would be an improvement. The netbooks that were in contention for my money were the Acer Aspire One, the Eee PC 1000H, and the eventual winner:  the MSI Wind U100.

The Acer Aspire One would of have been a solid choice but I chose not buy one because of what it lacked. The Acer Aspire One does not support IEEE 802.11n wireless technology limiting you to the older 802.11b and 802.11g standards. The Acer also does not support Bluetooth forcing you to use up one of your USB ports with an adapter if you want to take advantage of your Bluetooth peripherals. Finally, the Acer Aspire One is equipped with an 8.9-inch LCD which is smaller than the 10-inch LCD on the MSI Wind.

The race between the MSI Wind U100 and the Eee PC 1000H was much closer. In Japan, the specifications for the latest versions of the MSI Wind and the Eee PC 1000H are nearly identical.

Both come equipped with the following:

  • 10-inch LCD
  • Intel Atom 1.6GHz CPU
  • 160GB Hard Drive
  • 1GB DDR2 Memory
  • 802.11b/g/n Wireless Networking
  • Bluetooth
  • Web Camera and built-in microphone
  • 6-cell battery

In Japan, both netbooks are around 50,000 Yen ($536 USD). PC performance and battery life for both netbooks are quite good and are very similar at around 4.5 to 5 hours depending on the settings. One of the few points the 1000H stands head and shoulders above the Wind is speaker sound quality. The sound on the MSI Wind is good enough for listening to podcasts or a movie in a quiet room, but cannot do much more than that.  With price, performance, and most other specifications being nearly identical, the decision came down to design and hands-on personal preference.

Due to its design, the Eee PC 1000H looks noticeably taller than the MSI Wind despite having the same LCD size. This is caused by the enormous hinge on the 1000H that attaches the LCD to the rest of the netbook. For the MSI Wind, the LCD is attached to the rest of the netbook with two nondescript hinges. This makes for a less sturdy design but gives the MSI Wind a smaller profile. Personally I disliked the large hinge on the 1000H. The smaller profile makes the MSI Wind lighter than the 1000H as well.

Both netbooks offer quality keyboards that are a decent size and are comfortable to type on. For the touchpads, the 1000H has buttons that feel very stiff while the MSI Wind touchpad is a single bar you tilt left or right. People who choose to purchase a MSI Wind should be aware MSI has recently begun shipping the Wind with Sentelic touchpads as opposed to a Synaptics touchpad. Sentelic touchpads are considered to be inferior and apparently do not support vertical page-scrolling by moving your finger over the right side of the touchpad. For the version of the MSI Wind I bought, vertical and horizontal scrolling worked after installing Synaptics drivers.

Since I was looking for a netbook for writing articles on the go, the MSI Wind fit my needs better than the Eee PC 1000H. The MSI Wind is lighter, has a touch pad I prefer, and has an overall design I prefer over the 1000H. To top it off the MSI Wind comes with a vinyl carrying case that saves me the trouble of having to purchase a separate one. Although the Eee PC 1000H is a solid choice for portable computing I think the MSI Wind U100 is the better pick.

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