MSI Wind U100 Netbook
Design & Presentation
While the MSI Wind is currently offered in about 5 different color schemes, depending on geographic region, we received a white unit, one of the original colors. The all-white color scheme is a bit tired and played out, perhaps even a little bland. However this isn't quite your ordinary flat white paint. The paint job on the exterior is your typical glossy clear coated white, but opening the U100 reveals a different kind of paint used on the inner surfaces that has a shiny, almost pearl-like quality to it. The quality of the paint is excellent and the entire netbook is very smudge and fingerprint resistant.
The two other original color options are black and pink. A red version is also available, although a bit hard to find, and a special "Love Edition" was also produced that featured multicolored hearts on a white background. However, chances are good you'll only be able to find the Wind in white and black, unless you do some hunting.
The Wind is very much a minimalistic unicolor design. Besides the primary color, in this case white, there are literally no other colors present anywhere on the chassis, excluding labels. While this makes for a uniform appearance, it can also come off a little bland. There aren't even any details or accents. The only splash of color comes from the various status LEDs. The power button features an inset blue LED to indicate power. There is also a huge row of status LEDs along the bottom right edge of the palm rest. There are 8 LEDs in total to indicate everything from hard drive activity and Bluetooth status to battery level and caps lock. These LEDs light up green and may flash orange to indicate certain status conditions.
As previously mentioned, the exterior of the U100 is covered in a uniform glossy white that is very much reminiscent of earlier iPod designs. Except for a single low-key gray 'msi' logo, there are no other blemishes on the lid. The bottom of the Wind, on the other hand, is not Apple-like at all as it is covered by a variety of stickers and pitted with vents and ducts. The Wind's speakers are also located on the bottom of the unit, one at each of the corners under the palm rest.
The overall design of the Wind is fairly typical of currently available netbooks. The Wind is built around the keyboard which plays a large part in determining the size of a netbook's chassis. The chassis of the wind is only as wide as the keyboard and the keys go right up to the edge of the unit on the left and right sides. Despite tightly fitting the width of the chassis to the keyboard and using a very compact keyboard design, the unit still ends up being a bit wider than the 10.2" widescreen panel and as a result we end up with a 3/4" thick screen bezel. The thick bezel is a little on the unsightly side, but its not so thick as to be a major annoyance.
The Wind comes packaged with a MSI branded notebook sleeve. Ours came in white and presumably the other color options would come with matching sleeves. The sleeve itself is definitely on the cheap side. The exterior is made of cheap vinyl with a faux leather pattern. The sleeve closes via a single zipper and the interior is lined with black cloth. There are no pockets for accessories although a mesh divider is present inside. However the divider is rather useless since the sleeve is a perfect fit for the Wind and there isn't much room for anything else beyond a sheet or two of paper. However, for the low price of free, it's hard to grumble too much. The top and bottom of the sleeve are padded and it will provide a certain level of protection for the Wind so at least it's functional.