MSI unwraps its Wind U100 low-cost laptop

Another day, another low-cost, Atom-based subnotebook. MSI has picked the first day of Computex to formally introduce its long-awaited Wind U100 laptop.

The Wind U100 strays somewhat from the typical “Eee killer” formula by including a 10″, LED-backlit display with a 1024 x 600 resolution, a keyboard with big 17.5-mm keys, and an 80GB Serial ATA hard drive. The machine also packs an Intel Atom processor, an Intel 945GMS integrated graphics chipset, up to 2GB of DDR2-667 memory, 802.11g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a three- or six-cell battery, and a pre-installed copy of Windows XP (no Linux here, at least in this iteration of the Wind).

According to MSI, the Wind U100 measures 10.2″ x 7.1″ x 0.7-1.2″ (260 x 180 x 19-31.5 mm) and weighs in at just 2.2 lbs (1 kg) with the three-cell battery. That’s about an inch wider, half-an-inch longer, and a tad thinner than the 8.9″ Eee PC 900, with almost exactly the same weight. Oh, and MSI has traded Asus’ “Easy to learn, easy to work, easy to play” tagline for the not-quite-as-catchy “The Freely to Watch, The Freely to Go, The Freely to Operate, The Freely to Play,” just to be sure customers don’t accidentally mix up the two systems.

Laptop Magazine has gotten an early look at the Wind U100, and it’s posted a detailed review here. The site says the U100 costs $499 with a six-cell battery, which would actually make it $50 cheaper than the Eee PC 900 (Asus hasn’t yet announced pricing for the new, Atom-based 901). In its review, Laptop Magazine praises the U100 for its big screen, nice keyboard, fast boot times, and long battery life—5.5 hours with Wi-Fi off and 4 hours with it enabled. However, the U100’s touchpad button and Wi-Fi performance reportedly left something to be desired.

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