MSI Wind U160-005

MSI-Wind-U160-005

A great netbook with weak battery

Wind U160 is one of the best MSI netbooks. With great finish and features, this powerful netbook is also very expensive! In 2010 MSI launched a new netbook designed around the Atom N450 processor and the latest platform for Intel’s ultra low power. It is still a little more expensive than the Asus Eee PC 1005PE, but it has the same price as the limited series 1008p Karim Rashid produced by Asus.

Expectations

MSI-Wind-U160-005The product was announced for the first time at CES 2010 in Las Vegas and after an appearance at CeBIT, the Wind U160 MSI has finally proven what it is able to do with its keyboard ! This small netbook represents one of the high end products of the new offer Taiwanese manufacturer MSI. With technical features attractive on paper, the Wind is a breeze of fresh air in the supply of netbooks because it is relatively good and promising. Let’s see the test and review.

Reality

This new netbook has been expected since the beginning of 2010, as it was supposed to stand out from most other models of the brand. That was kind of hard to believe because of different reasons: withdrawal and uneven finish, a battery not always capable of good autonomy, overheating problems and so on. With the MSI Wind U135, announced at the same time as the U160, we already had a preview of MSI netbooks. However, we did not like the tendency to cause battery problems in tests. Today, the Wind U160 comes and sweeps us all off our feet ! We had our hands on the black model and we were very surprised. Ergonomically, it is very similar to the Asus Eee PC 1005PE: a chiclet keyboard and the same few details, the touchpad melted in the palm and the rest of the device came with a granular surface and a solid piece of plastic for its two buttons. The only difference is the display. The aluminum color suits it very well. The 6-cell battery is also quite thick. There, MSI will not score any points, because the finesse of less than one inch announced by the manufacturer is affected in a negative way !

War between designers

For 379 euros, the Wind U160 is in direct competition with the Asus Eee PC 1008p designed by Karim Rashid and it is worth a look. In both cases, it is not for the technology that you will have to pay, but for the design. In this case, the plastic black “Glossy” is impressive: a cloth plan to shine in society.

Good specifications

Technically speaking, MSI complies with guidelines governing the netbook market of the moment. The Atom N450, 250 GB hard drive, 1GB memory, 10.1-inch screen at 1024 x 600 resolution, a Wi-Fi module N and Bluetooth are all very respectable specs. You must know that for the same price you will also get a USB port and also a button to activate the Wi-Fi connection !

A fairly good battery

One of the problems of the U135 is power consumption. The tests we did show that the Wind U160 is generally within the standards that we’ve seen so far. It consumes 13 watts in effect at full load and 10 Watts the rest of the time. Surprisingly, the 6-cell battery is quite good: 5 hours and 30 minutes in our test protocol. Far away from the 11 hours announced by MSI. We then performed other types of tests to see if we reached that value.

By slightly changing our protocol, we won one hour of video playback (with Wi-Fi on and screen brightness at 50%). Finally, by simulating light office tasks (Word documents reading), the battery lasted about 9 hours. But 11 hours is a number that can’t be achieved! Only if you do nothing at all on the machine, keep the screen dark and so on. It’s obvious that MSI told lies.

LED display

The 10.1 inch screen is a LED one with very good quality. Its contrast comes with ratio and brightness, measured in tests at about 822 and 186 cd/m2, respectively. Color rendition proved quite good. Being less turbulent than its little brother (with 33 dB maximum), this netbook heats less. Maximum temperature was 40 ° C under the laptop where the U135 exceeded 45 ° C easily. Maybe not as light as the wind, the Wind U160 has a weight of 1.23 pounds and, as we mentioned earlier, the battery adds thickness, which makes the product a little inconvenient for transportation.

Review conclusion

Ultimately, the MSI Wind U160 is a pretty good netbook. This device is really expensive, but nice ! It embeds a complete platform through an Atom N450 CPU and it is able to get rid of some weaknesses of the U135 version. We have to admit that the design and the ergonomics have been done properly, even if there’s still room for improvement. Especially the 6-cell battery that is much too prominent !

Technical specifications

CPU modelIntel Atom N450
Processor frequency1.66 GHz
Hard Drive250 GB
Memory (RAM)1 GB DDR2 (667Mhz)
ChipsetMobile Intel Express NM10
Graphics CardsIntel GMA 3150
Audio2 x Stereo Speakers Integrated