First Looks: MSI Wind U160
The Wind Blows
MSI's Wind U160 comes like a breath of fresh air with its new and spiffy looks. Gone are the slightly chunky builds of the previous models, instead, we're graced with a netbook that looks pretty sassy and even reminiscent of something from Sony. But looks can only get you so far, so let's see how this netbook really is.
A Metallic Shine
Where previous models of MSI's netbooks had a plastic finish, the new Wind U160 goes for a metallic looking exterior that we can't quite agree with. It looks pretty enough, but our fingers still tell us that we're handling plastic. That's right, despite a metallic finish, the notebook still uses plastic and feels like it. We can't get behind this design change, as it feels tacky.
On the other hand, MSI has done much to cut down on the bulk, and you'll find that this is a pretty slim netbook that we do admire. Now, we hope that this slimness doesn't result too much in a shorter battery life, as the older thicker models had pretty lengthy battery uptime, but that was also due to having a much larger capacity (and subsequently thicker) battery. We'll find out more later, but hopefully the slimness doesn't compromise what is MSI's best feature for its netbooks.
An Island Interior
Besides going for slimness and a new exterior design, MSI has seen the interior undergo a similar renovation. Gone are the old style keyboards, instead, we find a new chiclet style keyboard that seems a little smaller in size. MSI also didn't take the opportunity to get a bigger right shift key, so it's not as ideal a keyboard as you may hope for. Moving downwards, the trackpad also remains similar, there isn't a scroll bar at the side to swipe for scrolling, so it doesn't feel as convenient as other trackpads.
Now with the Wind U160 being a Intel Pineview netbook, we see the usual Intel Atom N450 processor as well as the standard 1GB RAM. With our usual benchmarks, the unit scored 1329 PCMarks on our PCMark Vantage test, which is pretty much the usual average score we get from netbooks. As usual, there are no magical surprises, you'll be getting a netbook that's pretty similar to all others in performance.
As for the battery life, the Wind U160 didn't disappoint, lasting a cool 6 hours and 49 minutes on our video looping test, which is set at 50% brightness and volume. Very impressive, given its slim build, and shows just how far netbooks have come. Overall, the MSI Wind U160 is a netbook that we wouldn't mind recommending to anyone, if they can look past the slightly tacky feel to its solid performing heart.