Monday, July 6, 2009

The MSI Wind U115

The MSI Wind U115 is in a class of its own in the world of netbooks. Unfortunately it’s destined to stay exclusives a few months after being released, MSI is discontinuing the U115 due to the nuances of Microsoft’s licensing policies. The Wind U115 features a bit of technology people have been asking for, for some time. The U115 has a combination of a solid state drive 8 gigabytes in size with a 160 gig spinning hard drive for data.

This hybrid technology delivers a fast booting extremely responsive  little computer that gets up to 12 hours battery life running several applications at a time, wireless on, with the screen brightness turned up all the way. Right now I’ve got 81% battery life left after almost 4 hours of use showing 9:35 remaining.

Like I mentioned this great little machine will not be available long, thanks to Microsoft. The guys from Redmond have decided that the standard netbook pricing for Windows won’t apply to models running the two drive hybrid configuration. Its a shame looking at the U115 no one would ever  aware of the quick launching of programs and the excellent battery life.

The U115 works very well, but its 8 GB SSD drive is almost full when you get the machine. So you start getting nag screens telling you that your C drive is almost full after installing just a few applications to the C drive. The 8GB C drive is the U115’s biggest weakness, to make this design work the SSD needs to be at least 16GB and preferably 32. 32 would allow you to install Windows 7 and a number of applications without running into the space issues. The other negative to the little MSI is the keyboard, its just way to small for my hands. The keyboard is better than the early Eee PC’s but much smaller than some netbooks, and it may be the  deal breaker for me. The touchpad isn’t bad many netbooks do strange things with their touchpads, like sat them to one side and put the  buttons in the front, MSI keeps it conventional clicking is a bit stiff and requires a deliberate push to click on something.

The finish quality of the Wind is quite good, it looks nice and has a solid feel to it. I really like the U115, but you have to be selective about the apps you install unless you want to put them on the D drive. If your going to install iTunes or the Zune software you have to put it on your D drive. I’ll continue to use the U115 but the time to return it for a refund is drawing near and I’ll have to seriously consider if I can live with the keyboard and C drive limitations.

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