Sub-notebooks are revolutionising the way we look at portable connectivity. Gone are the days, it seems, where you paid a pretty penny for a ridiculously small and lightweight piece of hardware. Nowadays £300 will get you a cool mini-notebook in iPod white and still leave you with change to spare.
We've previously looked at Asus' 8.9" Eee PC 900 and the HP 2133 Mini-note, but now MSI is releasing it's first attempt to crack the sub-notebook market. The MSI Wind - make fart jokes at your peril.
Despite the fact that MSI told bit-tech it tried its absolute hardest to get the Wind to reach the £300 mark, what we've ended up with is closer to the £329 mark for the XP model instead. That's not exactly a budget killing sum - it's still cheaper than the HP - but it's still more than Asus' ubiquitous Eee PC 901.
Well, this is until we found the Linux version of the Wind on sale for a tidy £291.25. At this price it's very much a bargain.
Another interesting fact picked up by eagle-eyed forum member Doug, is that you can pick up the near-identical MSI Advent 4211 laptop for even less. So, what exactly does the Wind offer us that the Advent and Eee PC does not? Let's find out...
Unboxing the MSI Wind
Just like the Eee, the MSI comes in a tiny box with just a few goodies inside - a bulky but secure wallet to keep it in, a Li-ion battery and the matching power brick charger and all the documentation you'll ever need but never read. Warranties, yuck!
Immediate reactions are mixed. The leather-feel wallet isn't quite as nice as the neoprene wallet you get with the Asus EeePC 901, however it is padded for extra protection and comes with an internal net to hold all your USB sticks and gizmos in.
The Wind's wallet is also bigger and bulkier than you might like. With just the Wind inside it the wallet swells to 290x220x50mm (HxWxD). That size sure isn't going to leave your tote-bag busting at the seams, but if you plan to carry a portable mouse, MP3 player and so on with you as well then you might want to be just a tiny bit wary.
The good news though is that the faux leather finish on the Wind's wallet, plus the zip and extra padding, mean that it'll be a lot safer than it would be in a thin neoprene envelope. While it might be a more snug fit inside your bag, at least it will be better protected.
The battery meanwhile is physically far larger than that of the EeePC 901 and as a Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) rather than Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) it should have a better potential battery life too. Unfortunately the three cell is a pathetic - MSI reckons it can only manage to squeeze out two and a half hours without wireless, but we'll test that later. There is a 6-cell available which should double the battery life available to a more respectable ~5 hours, but at the moment it looks like an optional extra to keep costs down.
Of course, at bit-tech we can just do a vague hardware overview. Flip the page for an in-depth discussion of the hardware used in the MSI Wind...