Base price: $379
The MSI Wind has been a competitor in the netbook market since about the time when the Asus first appeared on the scene to herald the Age of the Netbook (circa 2007). And while the MSI Wind has never been at the front of the pack, it doesnt bring up the rear, either.
Since this generation sports the more efficient Atom N450 chip, the MSI Winds battery runs longer. And indeed, the MSI Winds battery is reputed to chug along for about 7 hours, though of course your usage pattern will influence this. (And youll notice the hefty battery bulging out of the units body but if you like a long battery life this is a negligible downside.)
Netbook designers are always trying to get around cramped space, and the MSI Wind gets points for a somewhat innovative solution to this problem. The touchpad has a scrolling tool (up or down) built into the bottom and top corners. So its easy to zip around a long Web page. Oh, wait, you say you hardly notice the touchpad? Well, actually, youre right its just a slender strip in the wrist rest. Thats not necessarily a problem (and certainly can be adjusted to) yet some people prefer the more distinct, rectangular stand-alone touchpad.
The keys are flat, with a comparatively comfortable amount of space between them to alleviate netbook-induced finger cramp.
Aesthetically, the MSI Wind has a neutral look. Sure, you could bring it into the office, quite comfortably in fact. Yet its appearance is not so business-like that youd be scorned at the hipsters coffee shop. Call it comfortable blandness, if such a thing exists.
The specs are pretty much right down the middle of the road: A 10.1-inch screen, 1,024 x 600-pixel resolution, 1 GB RAM, 250 GB HD, three USB ports, an SD card slot, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, stereo speakers, and Windows 7 Starter OS. Plus: it comes with Bluetooth.
Bottom Line: A perfectly decent netbook with a respectable battery life. Look for a version with a rebate to save $30 (available recently on Amazon).
The MSI Wind netbook (photo courtesy MSI)