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Power trip

The netbook proves that size doesn’t matter when it comes to performance. Plus, it sports all the candy that a new netbook should, like the Atom N450 1.6 GHz processor etc. So let’s take a closer look.

tech reviews Updated: May 18, 2010 15:09 IST
Siddharth Bhatia

This is the latest netbook by MSI, a mint-fresh model from the Wind series that recently released in India. The company knows its stuff when it comes to netbooks, and this one makes a claim of super-juiced up battery life. Plus, it sports all the candy that a new netbook should, like the Atom N450 1.6 GHz processor etc. So let’s take a closer look.

Design
The entire exterior and interior surfaces, including the lid right through to the touchpad, sport a glossy look. The battery itself juts out from behind the hinge. It’s a 6- cell piece, so it’s not small or compact in size. I feel the battery juts out a bit too much. Another problem is that the battery is a contrasting, aluminium colour. Finicky users might find this stark colour difference annoying.

The keyboard is in the chiclet style, with a considerable gap in between keys. Personally, this arrangement is not my favourite. It tends to be a bit cramped for those with larger fingers. The touchpad is dotted for demarcation and friction, with a separate silver button placed below. This arrangement is better than in some models with integrated buttons.

What we like
Very good battery
Fast HDD, good graphics performance

What we don’t
Ergonomics suffer a bit; like cramped keyboard

Specifications
Operating System: Genuine Windows 7 Starter
Display: 10.1” LED Backlight WSVGA screen (1024x600)
Intel CPU & Chipset: Intel Atom N450 1.66 Ghz, 512 cache, Intel NM10
Graphics: Integrated GMA 3150
Memory: DDR2 1 GB
Storage: 250 GB2.5” SATA2 HDD 5400 rpm
Camera: 1.3 MP
Battery: 6 cell Li-polymer battery

Verdict
At the quoted price of Rs 23,999, this laptop is a bit expensive, especially considering that there are cheaper options available. But there are a few, well-demarcated advantages here. The first is the laptop’s very excellent battery life. Our battery-gorging Pro Classic rating was about six hours, which is very good. On normal usage like browsing , working on MS Office etc, we received a battery life of 9 hours and 45 minutes, which is a healthy rating for sure.

CPU performance and graphics were above average, all positive points for the U160. On the flip side, the keyboard is not the most comfortable, plus the touch pad button could have been broader. The battery juts out a bit from the back. MSI should have tried to recess it into the body a bit. Other than these niggles, the netbook is a great piece for performance. We would definitely recommend it, especially if the price reduces a bit in the coming months.