MSI WIND U160DX

With a coffee brown exterior the MSI Wind U160DX is a handsome machine but how usable is it on a day-to-day basis?

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MSI WIND U160DX Though the Wind is inexpensive it looks a premium product
By  Jason Saundalkar Published  January 27, 2011

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Key Specs

Card reader: Y
Display adapter: GMA 3150
Display screen: 10-inch
Internal storage: 250GB
Memory: 2GB DDR3

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MSI says its Wind U160DX netbook 'redefines the speed of light' and that it is 'chic and unique and simply irresistible'.

Our test sample featured a coffee brown exterior with a plush pale gold interior and this contrasts with the black chiclet keyboard. The design works very well together and makes the Wind a real gem in a market saturated with similar looking, netbooks.
 In terms of dimensions the MSI is identical to other netbooks though the machine's battery sticks out like a sore thumb. On closer inspection however this design element serves to elevate the machine and thus the keyboard. This makes the MSI great to work on when placed on a flat surface. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for when you've got the netbook in your lap.

Travel is this netbook's specialty; it measures less than 1-inch thick and weighs just 1kg, so it isn't a bother to slip into a travel bag or to lug around. The MSI's battery is also fairly resilient, as heavy use saw the netbook lasting for two hours and 59 minutes before giving up the ghost.
   
An illuminated button on the right hinge powers on the netbook and on first boot, you get your first taste of the LED backlit 10-inch display. The LCD runs at a native resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels and while it offers a very bright and vibrant display, it lacks razor sharp crispness. That said, the U160DX's display is better than what is offered by most netbooks on the market.

The Wind U160DX's core components are an Intel Atom N455 CPU running at 1.66GHz, Intel's NM10 chipset and 2GB of DDR3 memory. The netbook runs Windows 7 Starter and also includes MSI's own patented 'Turbo Drive Engine' technology, which MSI claims will enhance system performance. The technology works by overclocking the processor beyond its standard operating frequency thus improving performance across the board.

Running our PCMark Vantage benchmark on the machine, it produced scores of 1,279, 431, 585, 1,925, 1,116, 1,058 and 3,060. While the TV & Movies test refused to run the netbook's remaining scores are quite reasonable. Scores aside, the MSI proved a reasonably quick machine when it came to banging out e-mails and documents and working with e-mail clients.
   
As an everyday machine the Wind U160DX proved a mixed bag in terms of usability. Using the Wind to put together a few documents we found that we kept on, accidently, swiping on the trackpad, which caused the cursor to jump and mess up our document. A button to disable the trackpad would have been useful here. On the other hand, the keyboard itself is pleasant to use and the same can be said for the trackpad though as with most netbooks, we found ourselves wishing for additional tracking space.

For: Distinctive looks, bright LCD screen, decent performance, travel friendly.
Against: No button to disable the trackpad, battery stand can be a pain when the netbook is in your lap.
Verdict: The Wind U160DX distinguishes itself from a number of other netbooks on the market with its blend of looks and performance.

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