Today I bought a black MSI Wind U100LX and promptly ditched the Linux installation in favor of an nLited Windows XP install. This brand new baby is bigger than I thought it would be, but it is still very small and lightweight. In fact, it is even lighter than the Asus EEE PC 701! That was extremely surprising. I think it is because the battery is only a 3-cell battery compared to the EEE’s 4-cell.
Regardless, the larger screen size is wonderful and by itself is almost worth the price of the admission. The other important thing is the 160GB Hard drive which will allow me to keep all the anime downloads in one place.
It’s almost perfect, but I noticed a few issues. Aside from the obvious fact that it is larger than the EEE 701, which is a huge sorepoint for me, there are some nagging issues I can’t help but wonder about.
First off is the apparently flimsy build quality. Unlike the EEE which I felt I could carry around, drop, abuse, and otherwise treat in a very rough manner, the Wind seems a lot flimsier in comparison. While it does look sleeker and far classier than the EEE 701 (or any of the EEEs except for the newest business class model that is yet to come out) I don’t feel like I can treat this unit roughy. I feel like I have to baby it. And cost is not the reason behind it; first off the screen constantly wobbles from its hinge. Unlike the EEE which was rock solid, I feel like the Wind’s lid is liable to be blown off at any moment. If you move the screen it bends a bit and you can see the LCD discoloring at the point of flexing. That can’t be good.
The other problem is the very annoying position of the Fn key. They put the Fn key where the Ctrl key is supposed to be, and I’ve failed quite a few cut and paste attempts as a result. While the keyboard is nice, big and roomy this is a definite no-no.
Related to user input, the Synaptics touchpad that came with the device is godawful. Unlike the one that came on the EEE which is a “touchpad” according to Window’s device manger, this one is a “pointing device” and for the life of me I cannot find a scroll pad option on it. Unlike the touchpad on the EEE which had scroll pad options, point regions, and all sorts of very convenient effects, the Wind’s touchpad is simply a two-button, nothing more, nothing less. While this isn’t all that inconvenient the lack of a “scroll wheel” makes it a lot less usable, like going back from a wheel mouse to a normal two-button mouse. It is a very glaring issue.
My final problem is with the Atom processor, which is a bit hyped it seems. I cannot seem to get it to work properly with CoreAVC to decode 720p h264 files properly. I guess I will simply need to work on this more but hopefully I can get it to work soon, this was a big selling point of the Atom for me. If not for this, I would have just gotten an EEE PC 900 which had the same small factor as the 701, a very nice Synaptics touchpad, a very good battery and the same big screen resolution as the Wind.
Ah well, I’ll play with my new toy but somehow I don’t feel as blown-away by the Wind as I was by the EEE 701.