MSI released its first Wind netbook not long after Asus had defined the market with the Eee PC, and it has produced a constant trickle of updates to the brand ever since. This latest edition, the U160, boasts a solid core specification boosted by a strong battery life to make for a machine that you’ll be happy to take on the road with you - once you’ve managed to scrape off the plethora of stickers that MSI has slapped on the palm rest, at least.
Weighing in at 1.3kg, this isn’t the lightest machine you’ll find, but the manufacturer does claim a battery life of over 11 hours. We should add, however, that during testing we didn’t activate the ECO power-saver option - for a fair test, all netbooks were run down in their default battery mode - which meant the battery only lasted five and a half hours.
The Wind’s claimed extra longevity is apparently due to a battery that is slightly larger than the chassis; this also gives a useful angle to the keyboard, making typing a surprisingly responsive and comfortable experience.
The 1024x600-pixel 10-inch screen is functional, if not particularly exciting compared to much of the competition. The core specification is as expected too, with Intel providing the honours once again in the form of the Atom N450. There’s 1GB of DDR2 RAM (upgradeable to 2GB) and a 250GB hard drive, providing plenty of space to work with.
The design is smart, but the Wind looks a bit too busy and doesn’t lend itself to taking on the rigours of gigging.