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MSI U100 Plus Netbook – Good Overall

July 16, 2009

My old 12″ laptop, ASUS M5200N with a 6-cell battery, isn’t light enough when I only can carry a backpack for the coming 9-day trip (and the reason is simply that I will walk in the woods in the end). I could live without a laptop during a business trip. I did a similar thing in 2005 for the same reason. But this time, I still need to keep an eye on the things here, so I need a laptop to work and to email/talk to people here.

I can still take my old ASUS laptop but it doesn’t have a built-in camera (it’s old … bought in Sep. 2004). To buy a compact webcam it’s really cheap as I thought, so … why not buy a netbook?

Well, that’s MSI U100 Plus with free 2GB Ram upgrade & a 6-cell battery (so the weight should be … 1.35 kg? 😕 )

The package including a carry bag & a USB mouse.

It’s not very slim, and is thicker on the side with that 6-cell battery. This gives a slope that is somehow comfortable when typing on the keyboard.

The keyboard cover is also included in the package.

With my hand. The keyboard is quite large as compared with other 10.1″ netbooks, as there’s so space left on the sides. However, some keys (e.g. “,”, “.”, “/” on the bottom right) are pretty small and even for my small hands it’s quite easy to type in the wrong keys.

Compare with ASUS M5200N (I haven’t removed the plastic cover on U100)

The netbook came with Windows XP Home SP3, but I reinstalled it with XP Pro SP3. And installed most of softwares in ASUS, except MikTeX and LaTeX editor and Photo softwares. So, how does this netbook perform? To my surprise, it’s better than what I initially expected. Without plug-in, it takes 40 seconds to appear the login screen and after typing the password, it needs another 15 seconds to be ready. Not bad. 🙂 Playing regular video file with VLC player is quite smooth. I didn’t try with HD video file yet. The heat ventilation is also much better than the old ASUS laptop. No noisy fan sound during my test.

Many people might be more interested in MSI U200, 12″ screen with 250GB hard drive, weighted 1.4 kg with a 3-cell battery. But that means it’s just as heavy as a regular 12″ laptop and more expansive. I think that’s away the concepts of a netbook. 😐

[Update 07/21/2009]
MSI U100 Plus uses Intel GMA 945 express chipset as its graphic driver. This driver doesn’t provide screen rotation hotkey in its graphic properties. You can install EeeRotate to do the job. Though PDF reader usually can rotate the page, but Mobipocket ebook reader doesn’t have that feature. Therefore, EeeRotate is very handy for better ebook reading experience.

(via Lifehacker)

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