Friday, May 1, 2009

MSI Wind U123 Review Roundup

MSI recently released a new netbook model, U123 which is an upgrade for the formal model U120. Compare with U120, it comes with a more powerful Intel Atom N280 processor, and a higher upgrade limit of 2GB RAM rather than the 1GB limit on the U120.

MSI Wind U123 Netbooks
This video gives you a quick overview of the features and specifications of MSI U123:

Here's the specification for the MSI Wind U123:
  • 10-inch 1024 x 600 LED Backlit Display (Anti-glare)
  • Intel Atom N280 CPU
  • 1GB DDR2-667 RAM (Upgradable to 2GB)
  • 160GB HDD (5400RPM WDC WD1600BEVT-22ZCT0)
  • Intel GMA950 Graphics
  • 6-Cell 5200mAh Lithium-Ion Battery
  • 1.3MP Webcam
  • Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • LAN 10/100 Port
  • Multi-card reader (5 in 1)
  • 3x USB 2.0, D-Sub, Microphone, Headphone ports
  • 260 x 180 x 19.75mm Dimensions
  • 1.35kg / 2.9lbs (with 6-Cell)
  • Windows XP Home SP3
The Wind U123 can be further categorized into 3 versions:

- U123: the standard fare model
- U123H: equipped with a 3.5G (HSDPA) WWAN module
- U123T: equipped with an integrated TV tuner

Unfortunately, the company does not provide a forth option that combined all features from the 3 above into one "perfect U123".

MSI has been building netbooks with promising performance since its first netbook model, U100, and this latest model does not disappoint us as well. Here are a few reviews done by the experts, which most of them give this machine a thumbs up:

1. Laptop Magazine:
Giving the MSI Wind U123 netbook a rating of 4 out of 5, Laptop Magazine complements this machine with its attractive design, comfortable keyboard, long hours of battery life, and competitive price. The only thing that they don't like is the stiff mouse buttons and small touchpad, but you can easily overcome this by getting a wireless laptop mouse. Overall the MSI Wind U123 is still a recommended netbook:
"For just $379, the MSI Wind U123 offers good performance for a netbook and more than 8 hours of endurance. While the similarly configured ASUS Eee PC 1000HE ($399) and Samsung N110 ($469) have more comfortable touchpads and slightly better keyboards, the MSI Wind offers a complete package for a very competitive price." read full review

2. Portable Monkey:
Similar to Laptop Magazine , Portable Monkey likes the excellent build quality & design, and also the long battery life of the netbook. The drawback are (1) due to the shape of U123, it cannot be placed on the lap comfortably and (2) if you upgrade anything inside this machine, your warranty is voided.
"The MSI Wind U123 does really well with the important features: an excellent keyboard and display that is relatively quiet and gets up to 6.5 hours on a single charge, but is marred but many more minor flaws: You can’t place it in your lap properly, upgrading your internals voids your warranty, no built-in touchpad scrolling capability and the microphone volumes were barely audible. Some of these flaws look like they will be fixed with firmware updates but the warranty issue will be a deal breaker for most." read full review

Overall, the MSI Wind U123 is great in build quality and performance, but with the limitation that you are not allowed to upgrade the internal parts of the machine or your warranty is void. This shouldn't be an issue for the average users, since most of them will not be doing this.

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