MSI Wind U135 Netbook Review

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Power Consumption and Battery Life

It's no secret that our battery life figures are generally less than those claimed by the PC maker. We've found that most published battery life figures are based around "ideal" conditions, which generally means that the screen is dimly lit, Wi-Fi is switched off and no real intensive tasks are done during the duration of the test. We use Battery Eater Pro, an application that taxes the system for the duration of the test to mimic heavy real-world usage. We had the screen brightness locked at 60%, Wi-Fi switched on and all other applications closed.

Our test unit came equipped with the standard 3-cell battery, though a 6-cell battery is available as an optional accessory. MSI chose not to publish battery life figures for the U135, so we had no real benchmark to reference. Per usual, we tested this machine with Battery Eater Pro, which is a tool that runs a continual graphic in the background while also taxing the CPU and monitoring battery drain. This simulates real-world use, while most notebook manufacturers report battery life figures that were obtained with little to no activity going on in the background. This Battery Eater Pro approach is much more like a real-world experience; if you own a netbook, and you're using the battery, chances are that you're working on it to some degree at all times. Otherwise, you'd shut the lid and conserve battery life by letting the system sleep.

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Our testing found that the U135 could last for 3 hours on a single charge, which is equally as good as many of the other netbooks that we've tested over the past year or so. Particularly for just a 3-cell battery, we were quite impressed with the life. Mind you, this is also with Wi-Fi on, the screen at 60% brightness and some sort of task going at all times. If you used it less, you could easily get that figure to 4 - 5 hours on a single charge, and even higher if you opted for the 6-cell battery.

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