The MSI Wind U100, despite the new model designation, is still the same netbook that launched last summer in response to the Eee PC. While the chassis and basic design hasn't changed much, the Wind has picked up a few handy updates over the last couple months that help keep it competitive with the onslaught of new netbook offerings.
The Wind offers a sturdy chassis that will take your constant handling in stride. The system is well built and covered in high quality paint that is very fingerprint resistant. Although the design comes off a bit bland, it's still a pretty good looking machine that will look the part in any situation, boardroom or coffee shop.
While the original specs that called for an 80GB hard drive with 3-cell battery can still be found, most Winds on sale today pack 160GB and a beefier 6-cell unit. During our tests we found the 6-cell battery delivers plenty of juice, keeping our unit in operation for about 6 hours without an AC tether. Unlike many notebooks, the extended battery doesn't jut out from the rear of the unit either, instead lifting it slightly, which both increases air circulation under the unit and makes it a slight bit back-heavy.
The Wind's 10.2" LED backlit LCD, while not extraordinary, is a good unit with plenty of brightness that serves its purpose well. While viewing angles are poor and color accuracy is lacking, a tiny netbook probably isn't the best platform for frequent movie watching or graphics editing anyway. Like most netbooks, the Wind is built for portability and it does this with aplomb.
The Wind packs the same Intel Atom platform as nearly every other netbook on the market so its not surprising it doesn't set any performance records. However, MSI has saw it fit to include a handy automated overclocking feature in their latest BIOS that will push the 1.6GHz N270 Atom processor up 24% to 2GHz. As we saw in our performance benchmarks, this gave it a healthy performance advantage over stock units and at least for now, the overclocked Wind holds the netbook performance crown.
Overall, the MSI Wind U100 is still a pretty competitive unit. Ultimately the point of a netbook is to provide a cheap, luggable secondary computer you can bring with you on trips and the Wind fits the bill perfectly. With 6 hours of battery life, plenty of storage and enough performance for most of your out and about computing needs, the Wind remains a solid choice.