A couple weeks ago, we posted our review of the Acer 751h. The claim to fame of the 751h is that it uses the Poulsbo chipset (US15W) with integrated GMA 500 graphics. We definitely experienced some growing pains with the 751h, in particular trying to get the integrated graphics to properly support HD video decoding required some effort. Once configured properly, however, we felt that the 751h was a viable alternative to other netbooks.

Unfortunately, we experienced some instability and we have heard complaints from a few users stating that stability on the 751h is, in a word, horrible -- that quality control at Acer must be practically nonexistent. Obviously, frustrated users are more likely to post complaints, but there are definitely people out there looking for an alternative. One alternative would be the ASUS 1101HA, which offers the same basic components but allows overclocking up to 1.73 GHz on the Z520 processor. Today, MSI has announced the Wind U110 Eco with immediate availability.

The U110 Eco has a lot in common with the Acer 751h and ASUS 1101HA. It uses a Z-series Atom processor, this time going with the faster Z530 (1.60GHz compared to 1.33GHz on the Z520). It still uses the US15W chipset, which means with the appropriate video codec you can get accelerated H.264 decoding. One notable difference is that it uses a 10.1" 1024x600 LCD instead of an 11.6" 1366x768 display. MSI also ships the U110 with a large 9-cell battery, stating that you can get up to 15+ hours (!) of battery life. The weight remains acceptable at 3.2 pounds, so the only question is whether you're okay with netbook performance. Overall, this should certainly be a better multimedia netbook than other GMA 950 10.1" designs, though it sticks with the smaller LCD and its lower resolution.

You can currently buy the MSI Wind U110 Eco direct from MSI for $430, or ExcaliberPC has it starting at $400. Below are the detailed specifications as well as the text and images from the press release.

MSI Wind U110 Eco (U110-031US) Specifications
Processor Intel Atom Z530 (1.60GHz, 512KB L2, 45nm, 667FSB)
Chipset Intel US15W + SCH LPC
Memory 1x1024MB DDR2-667 CL5 (Max 2GB)
Graphics Integrated Intel GMA 500
Display 10.1" Glossy ~16:9 WSVGA (1024x600)
Hard Drive 2.5" 160GB 5400RPM
Networking Gigabit Ethernet
802.11n WiFi
Bluetooth
Audio 2-Channel HD Audio
(2.0 Speakers with headphone/microphone jacks)
Battery 9-Cell 7800 mAhr
Front Side None
Left Side 2 x USB 2.0
Heat Exhaust
AC Power connection
Kensington Lock
Right Side 1 x USB 2.0
SD/MMC/MS Pro reader
Microphone/Headphone jacks
VGA
Gigabit Ethernet
Back Side None
Operating System Windows XP Home SP3
Dimensions 10.24" x 7.09" x 0.75-1.24" (WxDxH)
Weight 3.2 lbs (with 9-cell battery)
Extras 1.3MP Webcam
Warranty 1-year standard MSI warranty
Price MSRP of $429; available online starting at $399

 


 

MSI US Announces New Netbook - Wind U110 ECO
The U110 features best in class battery Life - up to 15 + hours of untethered computing

CITY OF INDUSTRY, CA - September 21, 2009 - MSI Computer, a leading manufacturer of computer hardware products and solutions, is excited to announce the new netbook -Wind U110 ECO. The Wind U110 weighs just 3.2 pounds, features the Intel Atom Processor Z530 (1.60GHz), a 160GB HDD and an ultra efficient best in class 15+ hours battery life (9-cells).

Despite being just 1.24 inches thick at its widest point, the U110 is a multimedia powerhouse. The ultra mobile U110 features a 10" backlit LCD with a crystal clear 1024x600 resolution, high definition web cam, 2 speakers, built-in mic, a reliable 802.11 b/g/n LAN, and is Bluetooth ready for constant connectivity.

MSI offers a 1-year limited warranty with the U110 and extended customer service hours at 1-888-447-6564.

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  • Zoomer - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Too bad many non-stop plane rides of the length (~15 hrs, perhaps on A340-500 LAX-BKK or NYC-SIN) that would require this amount of battery life would have power sockets. Reply
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  • gstrickler - Wednesday, September 23, 2009 - link

    I understand that there might be economic (mass production) advantages to using 16:9 since that's the HD TV standard, however, it's not a good format for a computer display. Until about 12 months ago, widescreen computer displays were 16:10, which is close enough to 16:9 to allow watching widescreen TV/DVD/Video with only a small bar at the top and/or bottom. In fact, that extra height could be used to display the controls for the player.

    As another poster noted, extra screen height is generally more useful for computer work than extra width. Let's go back to 16:10.

    Given a 16:10 aspect ratio, a 10"-14" screen should be no less than 1280x800. 1440x900 might work on the 12"-14" models, it certainly works well at 15"-16".

    Second, why would I want a machine with a GMA 500? Aside from it's HD H.264 decoding, it's significantly worse than the awful GMA 9x0, and X3100 IGPs. Even if you're not a "gamer" (and I'm not), the X3100 still sucks and it's the fastest of that group. Anything less than a 4500MHD is unacceptable. Nvidia's 9400M chipset is really the way to go unless you're going to a dedicated GPU or using an AMD platform.

    Reply
  • daveloft - Sunday, October 11, 2009 - link

    I recommend getting the Acer 1410. You can get it on sale for around $400. It has Core 2 Solo processor, GMA 4500 graphics, 11.6" 1366 x 768 Display, 2 RAM slots, HDMI and VGA, Gigabit, Wireless N, Vista Home Premium so free upgrade to Win 7. The keyboard is really good as well with almost full size keys, I'm typing on it right now.

    Battery life is still good but not quite as good as smaller Atom based computer with a 6 cell battery. It's rated at up to 6 hours but i typically get around 4-5. You can always get a bigger battery in it. The European version is called the 1810 and comes with an 8 hour battery. The extra power and capabilities are great and make it an all around great computer. I have played some H264 1080p videos through the HDMI port to my HDTV and got smooth frame rates. But I mainly watch 720p, which look great on the built in dislay. I don't mind the 16:9 aspect ratio and I highly doubt the manufacturers will go back to 16:10 so you might as well just make do.

    I've found playing any game prior to 2004 or 2005 work great with the 1.4Ghz Core 2 Solo and the GMA 4500. I think the processor and graphics chips are quite balanced. I don't see any need in getting the Nvidia graphics chip in it unless the processors get better. This is my first laptop I've ever owned Ive always used a desktop. Ive never found laptops portable enough and I found the early netbooks not powerful enough. But I love the compromise between the two that Acer makes. But if you don't mind spending some more money, I would recommend waiting for a dual core version which should be along soon enough.
    Reply
  • szefte - Wednesday, September 23, 2009 - link

    EEE 1101HA is 16/9 with 11.9" Reply
  • TA152H - Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - link

    I'm not sure who's been teaching people here nath, but 1024 x 600 isn't 16 x 9. That would be more like 1067 x 600.

    I'm inclined to agree, though, that 600 vertical resolution is just too small. Also, the damn glossy screens seem to have become standard.

    I don't know why they just make netbooks for people that have no money. They're better than normal laptops in two things - they use much less power, and they're more portable. They're worse at a lot of things too, but, my point is, someone might actually prefer a nettop over a laptop even at the same price because battery life is really important.

    Once Intel actually has a decent chipset to go with the Atom, I hope there will be more upscale nettops. I really want one, but I can't get myself to buy one with all the compromises. A decent sized, anti-glare screen, with a decent chipset/video processor should not be too much to ask for. It would be too much to ask for a mini-blu ray disk for these devices though, but, that would make them even better since people probably wouldn't mind using them as a portable movie watching device.

    For a laptop that augments a desktop, performance isn't necessarily as important as battery life and portability. I wish they would go a bit more upscale with these things. They have more compromises than they need.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - link

    You'll note the little "~" in front of 16:9 in the table. It's not 16:10, which would be a 1.6 AR, and it's not 16:9 which is 1.78. Instead it's 1.71. That's close enough to 16:9 for me; otherwise we'd have to put a silly 16:9.37 or just reduce it to 128:75 and call it quits. :-)

    As far as upscale netbooks, for years we had 11-12" ultraportable laptops that would cost closer to $2000. I'd be happy with a decent screen on *any* laptop/netbook, but they're few and far between. And I'd rather rip a disc to my hard drive and leave it at home -- DMCA be damned!
    Reply
  • TA152H - Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - link

    Well, ultra-portable is one thing, but, they never had this type of low power setup. If you could run them 10 hours on a battery, you were connecting to your car battery (and hopefully have a stick and are parked on a hill).

    With a high-end nettop, presumably you'd want a SSD, not a Winchester, due to power use, and size. So, for people like I, there wouldn't be so much hard disk space on this type of machine. I'd like to have something like a 1.5" optical media for something like that, even if it could only hold what a DVD does. On a small screen like that, would it matter much?

    Also, a smaller optical disk size would lower power use of the device. Again, I don't expect it, and won't wait for it. I'm just waiting for a decent chipset for the Atom. That would push me to buy it, if I can still get an anti-glare screen. The glossy screens are fine if you really want them, but since these things are used outside of the home, in well-lit situations, it's getting disturbingly difficult to get the anti-glare screens.
    Reply
  • firepower9966 - Wednesday, September 23, 2009 - link

    Correction: HP5101 has no HDMI , VGA only Reply
  • gipper - Monday, September 21, 2009 - link

    We really need to set a minimum screen resolution at 1024x768 for any retail computer. This x600 crap and all the compatibility issues it brings is ridiculous. I like the 10", but even at 10", that's x600 is EXTREMELY low resolution. Reply

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