Hot off the press – MSI Wind U270

Bought a new laptop the other day – this sucker is hard to source at the moment and is quite a milestone for netbooks and laptops alike.

I wanted an upgrade to my faithful MSI U110 (2GB RAM) which has been my second computer at work and at home. Good for meetings and on the run, it just doesn’t cut it when i’m developing code or decoding Bluray movies.

The U110 by the way was an awesome package, for $549 with a 2 year warranty and a laptop case. It’s been the best laptop i’ve ever had, and only now (2 years on) the battery is starting to deteriorate. Every other component is still working flawlessly even after been thrown around, used and transported every working day!

Now – give me: A fast but power efficient 64-bit dual core CPU, 500GB hdd, up to 8GB DDR3 1333MHz RAM, HDMI out, Gigabit ethernet, wireless-N all in a 1.3kg 12.1″ screen package.. wow.

MSI U270

Look and Feel
Very easy to mark with fingers as it’s black gloss, looks very sleek, status lights look great track pad very good, has a very slight texture which is different but I like it.

Keyboard
Bit different to U110 (10″) but quite nice, good to have pageup/down able to be used without holding down the function keys, but they’ve moved the function key from the bottom-left across one, which is akin to going from a Ford car to an american jeep (indicator stalk on the other side).

Battery Life
A little disappointing, advertising up to 7 hours (let’s say 5) – I got 4 in general use with wifi off. Having said that the battery was fully charged in 2 hours which I thought was too quick (6-cell).

Heat
Not a problem, slightly warm on your pants, nothing to complain about. Better than the U110. I think it’s very well designed in terms of heat dispersion.

Operating Systems
I installed Windows 7 with a Ubuntu 10.10 dual boot.

It’s very fast, I turned down the animations etc. a bit as I always do.

I upgraded from 2 -> 4GB (was thinking about getting 6GB or 8GB) but 32-bit systems are maxed out at 3/3.6GB. I patched Ubuntu to use 4GB but more than that you need to install a 64-bit OS.

They do exist (Windows 7 and Ubuntu) but i’m not sure how available drivers and compatible apps are. For the moment i’d rather just use it and look into it in 6 months. The good news is that this laptop will fully work in Ubuntu which i’m rapped about.

Video – Radeon HD 6310
Seems good – haven’t tested any games (not my intention). 1080p bluray plays fine… awesome!

NOTE: The system RAM is shared between the PC and the video card, dunno if this can be configured?

Screen
Very nice, had to adjust the default gamma quite a bit down. Nice size 12.1″ – not to big, but better than 10″. The screen flexes well when opened and feels like it has strong supports to the main unit.

Other
Warranty of 1 year I think is really sad, it should be 2 years if they can offer that for the other MSI Winds. Also no carry case – another expense.

Documentation is ok, but the laptop is well designed so anyone with a bit of computing experience won’t get stuck.

Overall
I’m happy I bought this. IMO the most powerful, fully featured ultra-portable laptop available.

9/10. If battery life was a bit better it would be 9.5 -> 10!
MSI have delivered a laptop bursting with features for a competitive price of RRP $550. IPad 2 step aside!

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23 thoughts on “Hot off the press – MSI Wind U270

      • Hey just wondering, where is this tecs located as id like to order this laptop and get the ram upgrade also, did they replace the existing 2gb and put a 4gb stick or did they just add another 2gb stick.

      • tecscomputers.com.au – located in Melbourne, VIC. I just got another 2GB stick installed. It comes with 1 x 2GB and there are 2 memory slots in total (upgradable to 8GB total with 2 x 4GB sticks).

  1. Hey. I’m interested in this thing I think with the same kind of usage in mind. You mention coding with it. Not sure if you’ve tried it but I was wondering how it handled a reasonable sized project in visual studio? Does it feel snappy enough with no annoying waits?

    Also with the battery is it any better after a few cycles? I was hoping to get closer to 6 hours out of whatever I get usage being coding and web browsing?

    Thanks for the review. 🙂

    • I’m using it for RubyMine and Eclipse (java) projects. Eclipse seems to be good, which is a heavyweight application. I don’t code in .NET at home but we support legacy .NET at work and it’s comparable to Eclipse IMO. Should be fine but i’d upgrade from 2GB of RAM. Battery life, yeah i’ll repost if there are any changes, it might improve but I was a bit let down – it could be a bad battery… I might charge it and test with a multimeter. In the past it’s taken much longer than 2h to charge a 6-cell battery the first time.

      Cheers.

      • Thanks for that. If it handles eclipse fine then vs should be fine. Sorry to hear your battery life isn’t longer. Hopefully it is a did and you can get it sorted. Thanks again. 🙂

  2. Hi, was wondering what the battery life would be with WiFi on and very basic usage (maybe some browsing and Word). Looking to get this for college lectures, and it seems it’s a cheaper alternative to 13 inch subnotebooks while not sacrificing too much performance a la 10 inch netbooks.

    • Hi,

      The battery does seem to be improving a bit with a few charges – it’s a 6-cell (the default) – I used it today for 4 hours on battery with Wifi enabled so that’s a good estimate, it had 10% remaining at that time. 12″ seems like an ideal size for a laptop – it sits comfortably on your lap or desk, or goes into a bag without being a monster to carry around.

      • Hey again. Still toing and froing about getting this thing. I was just wondering if the documentation says how many watt hours the 6 cell battery is?

      • I checked it out the battery it’s a 4400 wh lithium 6-cell – you can always get a 9-cell for longer power… just go through your services and switch everything optional off.

      • Thanks for that. It’s ratings lower than the other laptops which I guess explains the shorter run time. I didn’t realise this thing had the option of a 9 cell battery though! That would solve my issues!

  3. Hi,

    Thanks for the good review. Just ordered one form the Techbuy,can’t wait.
    Do you think getting a SSD hard disk would be a good idea – i thought it might improve battry life. Would it be difficult to install.. Any comments?

    • It wouldn’t be hard to install – if you’re not sure though buy the SSD from techbuy and get them to put it in before pickup. Keep the 500GB 2.5″ as an external HDD! I thought about this myself, for the reasons you mentioned (plus the speed…) but SSD is too expensive, I figure if I wait a year, get a 512GB SSD for a few hundred and it will be a nice upgrade for this laptop.. It would definitely increase battery life (and decrease noise, though there isn’t much).

      Cheers – let me know when you get it!
      Rob

  4. Hi,

    I ‘ve go my netbook on the 31st of march, I ordered it late on the 24th with the techbuy.com.au for $576.20 plus 48$ for 6GB RAM.
    Wasn’t too difficult putting the RAM in myself, pretty straight forward (only those little metal brackets need to be undone for the upper RAM for easy access).

    But they have this stupid sticker above the screws saying that warranty void if damaged, so maybe would have been better if I would have asked techbuy to put it in for me…

    Will see how it goes with the hard disk and save some money until eventually switching to SSD hard drive.

    Haven’t tested it much yet, it is nice small, the battery bulges out a bit. Weight seems 100g heavier then what it says on the website 1.4 insteadof 1.3kg (but they do not differentiate on the website between the weight of the 11.6 and 12.1″)… I like that the power cord and adaptor are nice small and light.

    Did you find a fitting cary case or sleve for it yet?
    Will try and test how long the batery lasts.

    Cheers,
    Felix

    • Good to hear you were able to source one. I think the 1.3kg is without battery hence the difference. No I haven’t got a carry case yet i’m going to be fussy about it… the dimensions seem a bit odd compared to the sleeves available. At the moment i’m just using the one from my 10″ U110 which covers it around 3 sides. It’s in my bag so it’s just a bit of padding mostly….

      Let me know how the battery life goes.

  5. Hi all:

    May I ask how long can the battery of your notebook runs for general internet surfing (with wifi with some video/youtube or audio).I have just purchased a MSI wind u270 last nite (shipped with a 4400 mAh battery, which is a bit disappointing for me that no 5200+ mAh battery available). It can only runs for 3+ for single charge. So I would like to see if you have the same problem and giving any suggestion to make the box to run a bit longer.

    Cheer

    Will

  6. Hi rpocklin:

    As you said that you are quite disappointing with the battery of your MSI U270 (so as I am atm…).However, It seems for me that we could solve this problem by getting a replacement battery!!

    I have checked the battery model of my U270 (model no: BTY-s12), which is the same as its ancestor — U100. I have also surfed on internet and I have found a lots of manufacturers producing and selling the replacement batteries of this type, with different capacities ranging from 3800mAh to 7800 mAh. I have just ordered a replacement battery with 5200mAh. Let see how it goes then I will report to you on your website.

    Cheer

    William

  7. Generally it runs for about 3-4 hours, which is slightly disappointing. Now i’ve got a charger at work so I don’t really notice it as much, but I miss the all-day charge the MSI U110 had.

    Although you have to accept it’s a 20% bigger screen. I’ve been told those 5200 mAh are simply 4400 mAh with a more ‘optimistic’ label. Let me know how it goes.

  8. Hi rpocklin:

    I have received the replacement battery. Sadly, the quality of the battery is so poor that I cannot easily to plug the battery into the battery bay. I have decided top refund and seeking for another cell from MSI.

    During the time of waiting the new cell, I have found a way to extend the battery life of my new laptop.If you were just using your laptop for web surfing or word processing, it is possible to run the processor on lower speed. I have tried to set the cpu speed on 59%. With 40% brightness on the screen and Turbo battery, I have found that it can extend the battery life to 4 or even 5 hours with wifi on!

    You can set the max/min cpu speed and screen brightness by making a new power plan on the advance power plan setting option.
    Here is a detailed tutorial on how to create/modify your power plan setting in Windows 7:

    http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/778-power-plan-settings-change.html

    I hope this could help you to extend the battery life!

    Cheer

    Will

  9. What is the wifi chipset ?

    Looking at possibly getting one of these for wifi security tests for work.
    Needs to be able to run kismet or airodump-ng (from the aircrack-ng suite)

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