MSI debuts MacBook Air rival, new netbook

The eye-catching laptop is only a millimeter thicker than the MacBook Air

The MSI X340 notebook

The MSI X340 notebook

Micro-Star International (MSI) launched an ultra-thin laptop to rival the MacBook Air in the U.S. on Tuesday, as well as a new netbook with Intel's latest microprocessor for the devices.

The Taiwanese company's X-Slim 340 comes with a 13-inch screen, runs Windows Vista Home and comes with one change compared to previous announcements: it uses a low-power Intel Core 2 Solo processor instead of an Atom microprocessor it had originally planned to use.

The X-Slim 340 is one of the first laptops on the market to use one of Intel's new ultra-low power chips, which carry the moniker CULV for consumer ultra-low voltage.

A nice add-on for the X-Slim 340 is an optional external Blu-ray disc drive or DVD SuperMulti drive.

The laptops are aimed at the same portable space that netbooks have taken, but meant for people who want a larger screen and more processing power. They're also very thin, just 6-millimeters at the thinnest point and 20mm at the thickest point, which is where several connectors can be found including USB, HDMI, headphone, microphone, D-Sub Video Out and LAN port.

Apple's MacBook Air is 4mm thick at its thinnest point and 19mm at its thickest, by comparison.

The X-Slim 340 comes with a 4-cell battery as standard and the potential for 7-hours of run time, according to MSI. An 8-cell battery is also available.

Several wireless technologies are available on the devices, including Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth and WiMax modules can be added.

MSI also launched an update to its netbook line with the Wind U100 PLUS.

The new netbook comes with a new Intel Atom N280 microprocessor, which runs at 1.66GHz and a higher frequency 667MHz bus compared to 533MHz on the older N270. Asustek Computer is one of the only companies currently selling a netbook with an Atom N280 chip, the Asus 1000HE netbook.

The Wind U100 PLUS sports a 10-inch screen with 600x1024 resolution, runs Microsoft's Windows XP Home, has a 160GB hard disc drive, and works with several wireless technologies including Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth.

It comes standard with a 3-cell battery but can be upgraded to a 6-cell.

Pricing information for the X-Slim 340 and the Wind U100 PLUS was not immediately available.

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Dan Nystedt

IDG News Service
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