Will you be the new owner of a pair of Jabra headphones? Enter the competition today to be in the running.
MSI Wind U115 netbook
In our battery tests the MSI Wind U115 lasted longer than any other netbook we've reviewed
- Excellent battery life, SSD and conventional hard drive, 802.11n wireless networking
- Poor balance, some keys are too small, touchpad buttons are not well defined
For travellers — or anyone who wants to work for long periods of time away from a power outlet — the MSI Wind U115 is perfect. Its battery life is the longest we've seen in an Intel Atom-based netbook, lasting well over five hours. We also like the inclusion of an SSD drive, but we wish it had a larger storage capacity.
Price$ 999.00 (AUD)
While the MSI Wind U115 may not look special at first glance, this is not a typical netbook. It has a very long battery life, 802.11n wireless networking (Ralink 1t2r), Intel GMA 500 graphics, and two storage devices: a solid-state drive and a conventional spinning hard drive. As far as netbooks go, this one is a very interesting proposition but it's not without its problems.
The main issue is the netbook's balance. The 10.2in screen is heavy and makes the MSI Wind U115 fall backwards. This is especially a problem when you use the MSI Wind U115 on your lap while you are on public transport, for example. Taking your hands off the palm rest for a moment could spell disaster as the laptop topples over. This problem isn't unique to the U115, though. We have seen it in the Wind U100, Wind U120 and Wind U123T, too.
Apart from the balance problem, the MSI Wind U115 feels well built and it has a good keyboard with 16.5mm keys. However, the comma, period and slash keys are only 12mm wide and can initially make it uncomfortable to type for a prolonged period of time. You do get used to the undersized keys after a while. We don't like the placement of the Fn key at the bottom-left corner, as we are used to the Control button being there.
The touchpad is 5.1x3.8cm, so it's a little small. However, it's responsive and feels good to the touch. We wish its left- and right-click buttons were separated instead of being a single piece of plastic, and also that they were better defined against the palm rest (it is very hard to feel for them).
You can't easily upgrade the MSI Wind U115. To access its memory and storage devices you have to remove the base. The U115 ships with 1GB of DDR2 SDRAM by default, but can be expanded to 2GB.
The MSI Wind U110's solid-state drive has a capacity of 8GB (6.88GB formatted) and is used to run the operating system, which is Windows XP Home. When installing programs, you need to place them on the D drive or you'll quickly eat up the SSD. The D drive is a 5400rpm hard drive (a Western Digital 1600BEVT-22ZCT0) with a capacity of 160GB (145GB formatted). It was slow in our tests, recording a data transfer rate of only 10.92 megabytes per second.
However, the Wind U115 performed solidly overall. It took 7min 58sec to encode 53min worth of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3s, which is approximately 1min better than the average encoding time for a netbook. The CPU in charge of the Wind U115 is an Intel Atom N270 with a 1.6GHz frequency, a 533MHz front-side bus, and it has Hyper-Threading, which aids multitasking. You can run a Web browser while you chat on IM and listen to MP3s without noticing too much lag. Of course, you won't be able to perform taxing photo editing tasks, and the encoding or transcoding of media files will be very slow, but the U115 isn't designed for those sorts of CPU-intensive tasks.
What this notebook is designed for is surviving a long time away from a power outlet. It has a 58 Watt-hour battery (6-cell) that sticks out of the spine and contributes to the netbook's overall weight of 1.3kg. It lasted 5hr 22min in our video rundown test, in which we loop video files with the screen brightness at maximum and the wireless radio enabled. This is the longest battery life we've recorded from a netbook with an Atom CPU, and you should be able to get even more life out of it if you employ a sensible power-management scheme. For example, it lasted 5hr 39min when we switched off the wireless radio.
Balance problems aside, the MSI Wind U115 is one of the most desirable netbooks on the market. Its battery life is stellar, it has fast wireless networking and we like the inclusion of the SSD in addition to a regular hard drive (it means that the netbook can be up and running in 30sec from a cold boot).
Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy S9+ review: A predictably-exellent flagship uplifted by a standout camera
- 2 Panasonic Lumix G9 review: A mirrorless moulded to the needs of still-shooters
- 3 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Ring Video Doorbell review
Latest News Articles
- Acer unveils new range of desktop PCs, notebooks and gaming machines
- Razer revamp their Blade gaming notebook
- Acer will be the first OEM to bring Amazon Alexa to portable PCs
- Dell refresh commercial PC portfolio
- Music Producer Takes Microsoft Surface Into The Clouds For Australian First Performance at 3,000ft
PCW Evaluation Team
Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category
The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
- Overwatch Devs celebrate Anniversary event by sharing insights into the game's future
- Nokia 8 Sirocco review: Full, in-depth review
- HTC promise more Edge Sense and a better camera with the HTC U12+
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies