The MSI Wind U100-641US netbook is pretty much what you would expect from an average netbook. It includes the typical Intel Atom N270 processor, 1 GB DDR2 RAM, Windows XP, a basic video card and low power consumption. It is also compact, light-weight and perfect for traveling. It is a typical netbook.
When it comes to benchmarks, the MSI Wind U100 really stayed on par with the other netbooks we tested. It never outshined another netbook, but nor did it fall behind in anything except for the slower transfer rates in HD Tune. I should mention that the future generation Wind netbooks have a much larger hard drive, and their HD Tune scores should be competitive with other netbooks. MSI made an error internally and failed to send us the right hard drive with this netbook.
When it comes to usability, I feel the MSI Wind U100 has a number of issues. While the keyboard does cover the entire width of the netbook, the keys are smaller than usual and awkwardly spaced. On most notebooks and netbooks that I have used, the left “control” key is on the bottom left corner, and on the Wind U100, the “function” key resides there instead, making it difficult to go from typing on one computer to typing on this netbook. Another issue I have with the layout is the size of the touchpad and the left and right click buttons at the bottom. The touchpad is barely over half the width that I would like to see on a netbook, and it is off center to the left. Granted, it is centered under the space bar, but it can be awkward for righties like me. The the left and right click buttons are also small enough that you almost need to use the tip of your thumb to click them. Personally, I am used to using the side or fleshy part of my thumb, so this is something to become accustomed to.
I have to mention the battery life on this MSI Wind U100 netbook. I was very disappointed to find that a battery that is advertised to last 3 hours only lasted barely over 83% of that time at idle. The battery life on the netbook was comparable to that of the ASUS N81Vp-C1, which is a gaming notebook that you would not expect to be able to use for a long duration without plugging it in! If you are stuck on the tarmac at the airport, or if you have an overseas flight, I hope you have a book or mp3 player with you to keep you entertained – this 3-cell model won’t cut it and you should look into a 6-cell battery model like the MSI Wind U100-279US.
When we played movies on the MSI Wind U100, it really had the quality you would expect, both visually and audibly. The speakers were loud enough to hear while in a comfortable vicinity from the screen, and there were no problems with the graphics card keeping up with the action scenes.
Overall the MSI Wind U100-641US 10″ netbook is a decent entry level netbook, but it lacks the features of the higher-end models. Those that travel often should look into a 6-cell battery model over this 3-cell battery model as the MSI Wind U100-641US netbook will not make it through a two hour movie. It also lacks the 802.11 B/G/N wireless card and bluetooth support that models like the MSI Wind U100-279US come with out of the box for ~$70 more. Speaking of pricing the MSI Wind U100-641US netbook runs $299.95 shipped. Not bad considering what it comes with.
Legit Bottom Line: The MSI U100 Netbook is your typical, run-of-the-mill netbook that is functional and will get the job done.