MSI Wind U135 Netbook Review

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Software and Accessories


 
It seems that the days of buying notebooks and receiving at least one or two unexpected surprises are coming to an end. The last three machines that we have tested, ranging from $300 to $1500 in cost, have all arrived with nothing more than the bare essentials. We understand that the accessory market is as robust as ever, but it seems that companies are losing touch with the value in tossing in something as thoughtful and simple as a notebook sleeve. The MSI Wind U135 shipped with the unit itself, an AC power cord, an AC adapter and a 3-cell battery. There's also a small paper guide, but there are no "extras" or "bonuses" to speak of. Understandable for a $300 machine, but when Asus has been known to throw in relatively nice sleeves with their own low-end netbooks, it leaves competitors in an awkward position when they pass on the opportunity to add a little something of their own.


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On the software front, there's Windows 7 Starter. This is the most stripped-down version of Windows 7, but it still feels far more polished and capable than Windows XP, which was shipping on practically every netbook just months ago. Thankfully, Microsoft axed the "3 app at a time" limit that was said to be included from the onset. We personally loaded seven applications at once, and no warnings were thrown, so we can safely say that Windows 7 Starter won't limit you on the amount of applications that you can run at one time. For most netbook users, Windows 7 Starter will be plenty for them. They probably won't even notice the subtle removal of certain aspects that are generally only used by power users with powerful machines, though the omission of certain MPEG2 codecs does worry us when it comes to full multimedia enjoyment (which we'll touch on specifically a bit later in the review).


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As with many netbooks, there was a bit of bloatware to deal with here on the Wind U135. Specifically, a "trial" copy of Norton's Anti-Virus suite was installed, and a pop-up tried to get us to register it each time we booted up the machine until we uninstalled it. We didn't mind having Adobe Acrobat Reader onboard, and the Microsoft Works Suite was also a fine inclusion. There's a trial version of Microsoft Office (60-day), and MSI's own WebCam Companion 3 software is included to video chat and the like with the integrated 1.3MP camera. Other than Norton, there didn't seem to be too much else hindering the bootup process, but we still maintain that the best solution for consumers is to just put a stock copy of Windows 7 on the PC, and put all of the "optional" software on a CD or flash drive that's bundled with the notebook itself.


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