Kabini APUs anchor MSI's 11.6'' S12T ultraportable


— 12:06 PM on December 2, 2013

We haven't seen a whole lot of systems sporting AMD's Kabini APU, but MSI has just uncorked an 11.6" notebook with a choice of dual- and quad-core Kabini chips. The S12T is available with either the A4-5000, which sports four cores clocked at 1.5GHz, or with the E1-2100, which has dual cores clocked at 1GHz. The E1 has half the L2 cache of its quad-core sibling, and its integrated Radeon runs quite a bit slower, as well.

MSI's official product page for the S12T reveals a fairly standard-looking budget ultraportable with a couple of interesting twists. The system ships with a 500GB mechanical hard drive, but a 128GB mSATA SSD is listed as "optional." Let's hope users can pop open the chassis to add their own mSATA drive to the base configuration. It would be nice to have access to the SO-DIMM slots, too. Although the S12T comes with 4GB of RAM, the system supports up to 16GB.

As is typical for budget ultraportables, the display resolution is a pedestrian 1366x768. The screen supports 10-finger multitouch input, but there are no details on the underlying panel. I suspect TN technology. The spec sheet lists only a "glare type" display, denoting the presence of a glossy screen coating.

Connectivity options abound on the S12T, which has a full-sized SD slot, one USB 3.0 port, dual USB 2.0 ports, and both VGA and HDMI video outs. There's a Gigabit Ethernet jack, too. Supported wireless standards include 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.

At 1.2" (30 mm) thick and 2.9 lbs (1.3 kg), the S12T is portable without being particularly thin or light. Too bad the battery life tops out at five hours for "office works" or four hours for HD video playback. It's unclear whether those figures apply to the A4 or E1 configurations, but the numbers are a little disappointing either way. I've been spoiled by the 10+ hours of run time offered by Asus' Bay Trail-powered Transformer Book T100 convertible.

Although there's no word on pricing or availability, I'd expect the S12T to be pretty cheap if it shows up stateside. 11.6" ultraportables can be had for under $400 these days.

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