back to article MSI Wind Windows XP Edition sub-notebook

Nothing has caught the imagination of techies of late as much as the Asus Eee PC has. Its tiny dimensions, unique design and true bargain-basement price has rocked the laptop business to the core. The first-generation Eee PC had more than its fair share of critics. The most common complains centred on its poor battery life and …


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  1. richard
    Jobs Halo

    another one! this is getting ridiculous..

    world + dog now produces sub notebooks.....maybe they are the bandwagon to jump onto?

    but hang on 'the register' you give 95% but it runs XP? i though we all wanted linux....

  2. Anonymous John


    "I've just broken my Wind."

    " I know. I can smell it."

  3. George Flecknell
    Thumb Down


    Now I'm sure the words "Bargain basement price" were mentioned in the article blurb. What exactly is bargain basement about £329. Lets not forget that it might be small but it cant do half of what a real laptop does and it is the same price as an entry level pentium model.

    This is not an article its an advertisment!

    Why are sub-notebooks not at sub price!!! I wouldnt pay mopre than £150 for one.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    alright alright, calm down..

    "but hang on 'the register' you give 95% but it runs XP? i though we all wanted linux...."

    It'll also be available with Linux, innit

  5. Richard

    still misses the point

    Its getting in to full size laptop territory with the price but not with the specs. I want SMALL and CHEAP, not smallish and not that cheap. So my current Asus eee 701 and the Acer Aspire One are still at the right level for a portable internet unit ... which is essentially what the sub-sub-notebook genre should be for. XP is simply not a requirement for an internet device as its overkill and the simplified linux that both the Asus and Acer use is certainly suitable for most people.

    Assuming the £199 price of the Acer stays (and I've already seen it listed as £235 (i.e. +VAT) then that will become my 701 replacement simply due to the screen size nothing else.

  6. Martin

    What have Acer done to upset you?

    "The Acer Aspire One looks good and is excellent value, but it’s lacking in quality and usability."

    It's not been reviewed yet by anyone - it hasn't even been formally released. The best you've done is have a play with it at a trade show. How do YOU know it lacks quality and usability?

  7. jscott

    Point Stick PLEASE!

    I'll drop my hard-earned scratch on a sub notebook that does all this; provided they drop the touchpad and include a point stick. This would even give 'em a bit more room for embiggening the keyboard a bit.

    See also:

  8. Tom Simnett

    I'd like to know...

    ...if any distribution of Linux can be installed on this successfully, by way of El Reg doing it on their model.

  9. Ian McNee

    Not an Eee PC 901-beater

    So it has substantially less battery life, is bulkier, noisier (2.5" HD vs. SSD), can't read SDHC cards (this is about downloading your snaps not about expanding your storage space - duh!), only has a single mic, won't do 802.11n and the Linux version isn't available for another month and is the same price as the Windoze version. Am I missing something?

    Oh and how about some benchmarks compared to the 901? All things being equal with the 901 having an SSD and overclocking the Atom to 1.8GHz I know where my money is.

    C'mon Andrew - must try harder!

  10. piper

    For God's sake..

    Sony never had any trouble selling its TZ for £2k - and it can't do half what a "real" laptop can, blah blah.


    What's so difficult to understand about the concept?! A 10-inch screen is nowhere near full-sized, machines with a 12-inch display are generally regarded as ultraportable, and it's considerably smaller than any of those.

    Fekk me, the only thing these machines are lacking in comparison with considerably more expensive Sony/Asus/FSC ultraportables are the DVD drives. MB Air doesn't even have that..

    Look at any other consumer market - it's all relative. A brand new car at £4000 is an absolute steal - but I certainly don't have 4k lying around..

    Of course £300 isn't throwaway - but neither is £200. Even at £300 - £400 this new breed of laptop are bargains, IN COMPARISON TO OTHER ULTRAPORTABLES. Jeez, it's like moaning about a full-on gaming machine because it weighs a bit and the battery is sh*te.

    If you want a full-sized, full-power shed then off you scoot down to Comet and buy one; you're cleary not the target customer for these laptops, so stop complaining and I hope you suffer forever from back-pain from lugging your new 3.5kg, £200 desktop-alike piece of junk. Still, think of the apps you'll be able to run on it, eh eh. Happy in the knowledge you couldn't have done so on an sub-notebook...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Manufacturers Please read the comments

    Every time you review a sub notebook the same reader comments come out about we want the best you can make under £200.

    So, manufacturers of the world can you GET WITH THE PROGRAM and deliver what people actually WANT?

    We don't want something thats got half the computing cabability of normal laptop yet which is only £10 cheaper - your totally missing the point and anyone buying that frankly has more money than sense.

    We don't want you trying to get rid of your laptop hard disks, for this size and function we want solid state drives only.

    We only want cost reducing linux implementations and certainly not trying to run any MS bloatware on this sort of platform. Most of us are going to put our own favourite disro on there anyway. (If you must release an MS one don't try and flog us the free linux software only 5% cheaper like MSI)

    Stop trying to cram yesterdays ideas in a smaller box. Take a step back and work out what people need. Think clouds and cherrys!

    You could give one of your turds 95%... but it's still a turd.

  12. andrew

    Different laptops for different people

    "Lets not forget that it might be small but it cant do half of what a real laptop does and it is the same price as an entry level pentium model.

    This is not an article its an advertisment!

    Why are sub-notebooks not at sub price!!! I wouldnt pay mopre than £150 for one."

    In all fairness - I did point out that you could buy a 'real' laptop for the same price, but power/big screens/high specs simply isn't the point of this niche.

    In the same way you can't carry out intensive tasks on one of these machines, you can't comfortably carry much larger laptops around on a day-to-day basis - it's a completely different market, and one you pay for accordingly.

    Perhaps you wouldn't pay more than £150 for one - there's certainly a lot of commuters on my train every morning that would, and do. Look at the other options - ultraportable machines that cost over £1000 more, or a bigger, heavier machine that gets particularly uncomfortable as the day goes on.

    You pays your money..

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Dismissed the Acer Aspire One without review?

    Early on in your review you dismiss the Aspire One with a comment about quality and usability, yet reviewers who have actually had their hands on the device suggest it's got a better build quality than the Eee? Also what makes the Aspire One less usable than either the Eee 901 or the Wind?

    You can't throw out things like that, knowing how eagerly anticipated the Aspire One is, without explaining further! The Register is yet to carry a review of the Aspire One, so where is it? Other sites where reviewers have been able to do hands-on reviews have been very positive so I'd like to know why you think different.

  14. Chris

    Good to see...

    Shep making a comeback in the 2nd pick - I've missed him.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I think its about time that you came up with a good set of real world benchmarks, like the video batterylife test, and do a big group test of all SCC.

    A big table with all specs, prices, and benchmark results would make it really easy to pick which to buy.

    Also, can you please test them with the standard battery not extended ones as this distorts the cost performance figures

  16. spegru
    Gates Horns

    this is getting worrying

    Are M$FT successfully blocking linux by dumping XP?

    First eeebox & now this

    What next - eee901?

    AFAIK dumping is illegal but I am no expert

    Is there a legal challenge to M$FT?

    EU we need you!

  17. alistair millington
    Thumb Down

    debaser is right

    We need it cheaper and new technology, not bigger and verging on normal laptops.

    This one is basically a slightly smaller version of a proper laptop yet for the same price as some of the laptops out there.

    So for the same hard drive, a bigger monitor that is 15in, a working wireless built in and the same bloated XP. I can buy a regular laptop.

    Or am I missing the point?

  18. Owen Williams

    3 button mouse eumlation under X?

    The trackpad has only one button. Can it emulate a 3 button mouse? Ctrl-v just won't 'cut' it.

  19. b

    hmmmmz, nice, but:

    very nice looking laptop, erm, notepad, erm palmtop, erm, *baby laptop*!

    bbbbut, it uses a traditional HD and not SSD, so it gets a big thumbs down for that. less power, noise and heat = SSD! (i know, i know, but more cost)

    ..also, and this is a market space problem, not confined to this model, we havn't quite reached 1024x768 yet, tho they should be able to?

    i want to run this:

    ...and it MUST have 1024x768 (bah!)

    anyway, this and much more, where i'm trying to track this space (primarily with articles from the register, of course duly acredited, which i have been reading since 1998), all welcome!


  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Two buttons

    Trackpad has two buttons, it's just hinged in the middle

  21. James Pickett


    "it’s not a world away from cost of a 15.4in desktop replacement"

    Indeed not - in fact, it's more expensive than some of them (several available for £299 inc. VAT now). £200 is the price point, and that means ditching Windows (unless MS cares to release XP under GPL - ho, ho).

  22. Lager And Crisps
    Paris Hilton


    Dumping refers to someone or something you no longer want or require. How apt MS is dumping the XP operating system on these devices (support is suppose to end in the near future) as a tool to try and stop Linux gaining momentum.

    As I (and others) have stated before, Microsoft will spend most of their billions trying to stop Linux in any form. SCO was just the start of their assault, what is happening here with XP is just another battle in that long term struggle.

    The fact they need to carry on in such a manner simply means Linux won and the consumer won. I don't much care for XP but Vista is a disaster. Windows XP is the lesser of two evils and better the devil you know than the devil you don't, cliches where never so true.

    Because Vista will not work well on this class of hardware they will have to extend support for their only product that will, that being XP.

    Paris Hilton, well why not?

  23. Christian Berger

    How I would spec such a computer

    I would go for a nice transreflective monochrome LCD panel. Those are perfect for web-browsing or word processing. And you'd even be able to sort through your pictures.

    Colour just cost so much battery power it's ridiculous.

    As for the rest of the hardware. Go for what's cheapest and uses the least power. Nobody cares if that box uses x86 or ARM or PPC or MIPS as an instruction set. If you get a good cheap CPU from Intel, put it in. If you find an ARM one from whatever company, put it in. It's not terribly hard to design several boards for different CPUs.

  24. Cathal Gantly

    Surely one of the big points here is price?

    Is it just me or was the big selling point with the e series is a low entry price point? It certainly made me sit up and take notice.

    I was slowly collect wedge to whack on an Acer Aspire One, until my main PC went tits-up. Clearly a hardware fault somewhere, and rather than endlessly change components I looked at buying a replacement. Then I noticed ASDA had an offer on... a fully featured laptop for £249!

    I bought one... a Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Li2727. 15.4" glossy display, DVD writer, 120Gb HDD, wireless, 4xUSB. Downsides are only 1Gb of RAM and the real weakspot... Vista Home Basic. But putting everything into perspective, it's faultless for £249. It is a throw away price almost.

    Yes, the price of these sub-notebooks is impressive when you consider the premium recently charged for such kit, but now we have comfortably entered the age of the seriously cheap laptop, unless the ultimate in portability is what you are after, price and feature creep will undo the early success this market sector has enjoyed. I bet the difference in size between these and typical notebook won't be a deal breaker for a lot of people.

    P.S., I'm sure a read a review of the Acer Aspire One somewhere and they loved it. At £199 that's got everything going for it! Look at the price difference between models not in pounds, but in percent!

  25. J-Wick
    Paris Hilton

    Little young, dontcha think?

    That last Wind girl is a little young, isn't she?

    /gets coat /wears coat / flys (out the door)

  26. Charles

    Glossy? or what?

    Are the colors pleasant matte or goofy glossy? Is the display a nice visible, usable matte? or is it a goofy, glary, blinding glossy? Does this thing have a usable dialup modem, or not? Dialup is available virtually everywhere I travel - WIFI is not. And dialup doesn't give me 'radiation sickness' (ie splitting headaches and nausea after an hour on the air). WIFI does. Many people are experiencing this and some schools and libraries in the EU and UK are already removing WIFI routers(check BBC reports). The radiation is already been found to effect the sperm - ie those of you who enable WIFI while using the laptops in your laps are frying your gonads. We will probably be seeing a generation of mutant ninja turtles 20 years from now.

  27. Ross Pavitt

    What I really want.. the 701 with a higher resolution and better battery.

    I don't want a larger chassis

    I don't want XP

    I really don't want a power brick

    I can't justify more than £200 (for what is, tbh, a toy).

    The 701 was so close, it just needed tweaking. 900 addressed the issues but regressed on alot of the goodness. 901 is promising but again its bigger and still too expensive, and I can't find any word on the power suppply issue (having a small power supply is essential if I want this to be PORTABLE, otherwise I'll use my real laptop and carry around the power brick).

    MSI looked so promising, but for over 300 and a mechanical disk, whats the point?

    I'm looking to Acer for an improvement, but I still can't believe these laptops are missing the mark. Do hardware manufacturers not read El Reg comments?

  28. Leo Maxwell

    compared to a windows mobile PDA or smartphone-Cheap!

    Everyone seems to be comparing this to a laptop and saying it is too expensive- well, a windows mobile PDA/phone costs over £400.

    Our company uses them- but we stopped using them as phones, because they were too unreliable, we stopped using them to run GPS, because they were too unreliable, we stopped using them for email-guess why.

    We now only use them to access our FTP based call allocation system-they are still unreliable, but we are locked into the client software (ironically, the server runs Linux).

  29. Doug Glass

    Isn't IT Obvious?

    You can bite the hand that feeds you only so hard. Past that point the body attached to the hand will cause you some amount of harm. El Reg is just taking the path of easy resistance and making disparaging comments that are limited in their real "bite".

    All of those who review products have a vested interest in the continued monetary health of those making the products. If those makers fail, well, those doing the ratings will be out of work. And we just can afford for that to happen now can we?

    The upshot is you'll never see really damning reviews and even the negative remarks will be presented in a politically correct, if not humorous, manner.

    Just how hard do you really shoot your boss down? Not too hard and you do it nicely I bet in terms he or she will accept. I bet there are very few people who really speak their mind to those that control the purse strings.

    So keep on venting here and then go back to work and do the job and take the crap and deposit the paycheck. El reg is no different.

  30. Marc Lawrence

    @Christian + Perfect spec

    I agree....

    Why is it only the OLPC system has the option to switch between b/w and colour? How many people in their daily work (not including coders and colourful keywords) really need to have colour working? I would much rather have the OLPC option to swtich colour on for the tasks that require it, and then switch off for reading el-reg (ok friday photo might require a switch on); writing thesis (Latex keywords can be in grey) etc.

    I got the 701 and 900. The 701 was lost to my girlfriend within 4 hours; the 900 is my work on train machine. Battery is a laugh though (ahem - Asus f*ck up) but it just does its job. The small keys are a little too small... I would rather have slightly wider keyboard (but not deeper) and an even more widescreen ratio; with with internal SATA (e-sata) for the new CFast Compact Flash devices which are coming soon. Perhaps the community should design and build one - and then stuff M$FT when they ask for XP to be installed.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    So did MSI pay for the gold, silver or diamond service?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    wrong way....

    its over 300 quid ..and you state a good point is 'its got a bigger screen' - well hello? this is meant to be the sub-notebook

    we are looking at - ie not almost-laptops. 8" screen is really

    wanted, 200-250 quid price. with good battery etc. still the

    701 is the winner...shame they didnt just make that system Atom CPU with a mini wide-screen filling the whole part (ie remove those plastic side-bezels)

  33. David Gagnon
    Thumb Down


    As others have said.. Where's the Linux option? Having the eeePC 701 myself, I can say I've ended up loving the built-in Xandros and still running it most of the time. Its fast boot time and simplicity are a huge plus which is not mentionned in this article. Just because of the OS, the EeePC wins, me thinks.

  34. Pierre
    Thumb Down


    Not quite a sub-notebook. The only "sub" things are the specs. Since when sub-notebooks are supposed to be desktop replacements? I agree that most people don't use more than 10% of the computing power they're provided with, but then, how do you explain that you get only these useful 10% *for the full price????*

    Sub-notebooks are supposed to be for basic tasks, text typing, a bit of browsing and e-mailing. If you need some storage, go external, you can get an 8 Go SD card for less than 30 bucks anywhere (of course, this POS NEEDS a large drive as it wont take a SDHD card...), and if you have reasonably large pockets, external 2.5' drives are ridiculously cheap these days.

    So it has the horsepower of a sub-labtop and the pricetag of the real thing (and I'm generous. I got a low-end all-purpose laptop for that price 2 years ago, and I got 2 times 1.6 GHz, a crisp 1280x800 display - that's without framebuffer support loaded-, and an almost acceptable video card. All other specs were better, too). I wonder how many ludites will fall for it. Or is the weight so important? how many years locked in the basement does it take to be unable to lift a real laptop anymore? C'mon, even the battery life is very unimpressive! (while we're talking about that, when was the last time you happened to be lost more than 10 m away from a power point? If you ask nicely and order a pint, no bartender will bar you from using the mains.)

    There was a very interesting giveaway in the ad^H article, "the Wind’s 1024 x 600 pixel resolution is below that of the minimum 1280 x 800 we use during PCMark and 3DMark tests.". That wouldn't be a problem if you didn't tout the "impressive colour accuracy" and "impressive display" every other sentence. Also, regarding the "display" issue, the problems you had when fiddling with images make it look like it has an incredibly nice display -as long as you don't try to do anything else than staring at the desktop background.

    Though this kit probably don't bring anything worth mentionning (appart from the confirmation that MSI kits are still the easyest way to separate a fool from his money), it is interesting to note that, in spite of the price, IT DOESN'T RUN VISTA (which my 2-yo 350 pounds laptop does, albeit at a neurasthenic-compliant speed). Yay XP (I feel dirty now. Anything but Vista anyway). The last salesman I met didn't believe me when I told him XP wouldn't be pulled before Windows 7 release. Sounds like the billions $ spent in advertisement and bribing were not enough to rescue Vista finally.

  35. Trix
    Dead Vulture

    Wot Ian McNee said

    "Better", because it has a marginally larger screen, but with all those drawbacks? I'd also add the fact that the HDD is the primary storage - yeah, sure I am going to sling it in my bag and drop it on the floor because I forget it's there, and not worry about the consequences. Not.

    I also echo the comments about the non-review of the Aspire One. Let's see a real review and a real opinion that you based your comments on.

  36. Anonymous Coward


    yes the prices are still proportionally high, but they will come down.

    the sameway the desktops started big bulky and functionless!

    in 1997 I paid 400GBP for a double speed CD writer (lets not go into how i got the money back in three months) now a super dupper x-speed dvd writer is about 20GBP.

    Early desktops cost a couple of grand and now a good all rounder can be had for 500 GBP (note: yes I know it probably wont play crysis or what ever the other current uber game is)

    similar laptops once the preserve of corporations and big budgets, although I do recall geting Duke Nukem 3d runing on a the callout support 486 thinkpad from work.

    these also cost thousands and a modernday 300gbp machine would thrash it into oblivion

    the ultra portables only really reached mass market with the eeppc, think of its athe nokia 3210 of laptops!

  37. Nigel
    Thumb Down

    Just another laptop

    This isn't different to any other 10in Laptop. Hard disk based, way over a kilo, designed to run Windoze. Boring.

    These things should be called LCRCs - Lightweight Cheap Reliable Computers. Small isn't necessarily a plus point, but under a kilogramme certainly is, whatever the size. No moving parts is always good for reliability.

    What's exciting about the Eee PC is that it's all solid-state, and designed for Linux. So more reliable, and weighs less. Cheaper too, as long as 8Gb suffices for the O/S and apps.

    Microsoft are badly wrong-footed. They can shoehorn XP into it (but XP is obsolete soon isn't it?) and there's not a hope in hell of it running Vista.

    I think I read that ASUS have a 10 inch Eee in the pipeline, hopefully still all solid-state. Ideally they'll keep the weight under a kilo.

    And customers seem happy enough with Linux. Let the floodgates open!

  38. Chris Fox

    Linux version has lower spec -- a monopoly issue?

    The linux version looks like it will have a lower spec, e.g. only half the memory of the XP version, no blue-tooth, and no 6-cell battery option.

    These different default specs make it hard to work out what, if anything, MSI and others are charging for XP licences: perhaps this is a deliberate policy --- of course Microsoft could not possibly be imposing a constraint that requires companies to refrain from shipping direct non-XP equivalents. That would be one way of hiding any activity that might interest some regulators, such as leveraging an existing monopoly position to gain advantage in a new market ... something frowned on in many jurisdictions.

  39. dabotsonline


    spegru, what do you mean by 'dumping'?

  40. spegru
    Gates Horns


    Dumping in this context is giving away at very low price and likely below cost, specifically to undermine competition.


    In many case this is illegal although the problem with software is that you can argue the cost is zero. Still the EU has done some good work so it seems reasonable to suggest they should look at the price charged for XP on these devices

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