back to article Advent 4211 mini notebook

OK, so the Advent 4211 is MSI's Wind, sold under a different name, in this case DSG's in-house PC brand. But it's worth a look because of a couple of differences, most importantly the price. As the original notion of the Small, Cheap Computer, as embodied in the Asus Eee PC 701, has grown to take in bigger screens, better …


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  1. Bronek Kozicki

    almost there...

    The size seems right, as most of the specs do. Still, it is missing two important points : battery life and 3G with HSDPA, so that it could be used to handle email and read El Reg "on the go". There is not much point in "very portable laptop", if it cannot be used in this manner.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How to differentiate the touchpads?

    "This rating reflects the version with the Synaptics touchpad. We'd give it a lot less if it had the Sentelic pad."

    There's no rating specified! (Yet...)

    Right, you're in the shop and you want to open the box and find out which touchpad is present in the laptop.

    How can you tell them apart?

  3. Trygve Henriksen

    Where the H! ???

    Can you get the Asus Eee 701 cheaply?

    I've still to locate anyone selling it for less than the 900 anywhere.

    (I'm in Norway, so suggesting or other sites who doesn't ship here won't help)

  4. Pawel


    Guys, you can get 4211 for 220GBP from PC World Business, and for the savings, buy a 6-cell Wind battery to have a ~5h lifetime. So how does THIS sound? :)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    advents are pieces of shit

    i've had the worst experience with their line... overheating issues, CRAP screens, keys that pop off.. they're not even worth talking about. very asda smart-price.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rating is shown on page1, but not at bottom of page 5

    So my previous comment is half right! (Half wrong?)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Rating is shown on page1, but not at bottom of page 5

    The article gives an 88 per cent rating. But for some reason the graphic does not show up on the page.

    We'll fix it tomorrow.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: advents are...

    Saying that Advents are rubbish is a bit like saying Asda own brand is rubbish. It's just a name that Dixons group stick on products that they sell. Products come from a variety of sources so they'll vary in quality. The common feature is that they are likely to be built to a price so will share the characteristics of products made for economy rather than quality.

    The article clearly states that this is re-badged MSI Wind. Unless you're embarrassed to be seen with a Dixons own brand product (understandable) the name needn't be an issue.

  9. W

    Re: almost there...

    Yup. Totally agree with you Bronek.

    "We reckon you'll soon be able to buy an extended battery for less than that." - El Reg

    Tell us more... At double the battery life, and under £300 I'd be all in.

    Over the past 12+ months, I've been eagerly anticipating a series of machines but they've all failed in a major way when it comes to the crunch:

    EEE 701 - Screen limitied it to toy status.

    EEE 901 - 701's screen issues were sorted, but other spec boosted and so was the price.

    Aspire One - Battery.

    And now, the Advent teases us with the HP-Mininote-alike screen and keyboard. And the performance looks as good as ever. All for a reasonable price. But it still fails on the battery issue.

    When I shell out for a SCC/netbook/laptot, it'll have the following spec:

    ---> Price of less than £299.99 (I started out with a £200 limit, which grew to £250 with an expanded wants list, but £300 is as much as I can justify for the convenience of portability)

    ---> Minimum 8.9" / 1024 screen (10" and/or 1280 would be a bonus, so feel free to make 'em an option at a premium if you want)

    ---> 4 hours of battery life with g Wi-Fi turned on (go on then, 3 hours at a push, if the recharger is like a mobile phone plug and you meet all the other requirements)

    ---> XP without the "free" MS Works trimmings and other bloat (I know that XP will run my progs. I know that Linux does not and does not offer an alternative prog. And no Wine-ing at the back from those that want to tinker. Let's have a "Minus XP for £xx less" option and we can all be happy.)

    ---> 1GB RAM (if you meet all the other requirements I'll accept 512MB as long as it's user-upgradeable without voiding the warranty)

    ---> 1.6GHz CPU (likely to be an Atom in order to achieve battery life but I'm not really fussed).

    ---> Keyboard and trackpad to match MSI/Advent/Mininote (I got hands on with the Aspire One over the weekend and the button placement wasn't a real issue but the keyboard & trackpad are just a tad too fiddly.

    ---> Max 1.5kg weight

    ---> Storage can be anything from 12GB-ish. SSD, HDD, whatever. As long as it's robust enough for the job and it doesn't impinge on the above battery or weight considerations. I don't need to store vastlibraries of files

    ---> Built-in 3G would be the icing on the cake and, as time goes by, is in danger of joining the above list as a requirement.

    If you can't match that spec you can't have my cash. I can wait.

    And with every passing week the launch of the Dell draws nearer...

    Though if that fails to hit the spot (delivery inclusive), perhaps I'll end up with a second-hand Mini-Note.

  10. Kevin Fairhurst

    @Bronek re: almost there

    It has bluetooth. As does the majority of 3G phones. Why pay for yet another contract and data plan? ;)

  11. W
    IT Angle

    @ Pawel

    >Get 4211 for 220GBP from PC World Business"

    "Not in stock". But fair enough - I'll keep an eye out.

    >"Buy a 6-cell Wind battery to have a ~5h lifetime."

    Ho much / where from?

    >"So how does THIS sound?"

    Pretty good, tbh. If the above two issues could be resolved.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Only advent in name

    For people that don't like advents, this is an MSI wind in all but name. If you take it apart (as I did to change the network card for OSX) you will see it is a wind. I have used every day for over a month and it is a great machine. It replaced an eee 701, which for me the keyboard makes unusable

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Scrolling Touchpad

    I'm currently using one of these machines and just thought I should mention that the touchpad does actually support speed scrolling.

    If you tap the top or bottom right of the touchpad the system interprets it as one click of a scroll wheel. If you tap and hold, the machine will scroll until you release.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Extended warranty, Sir?" "Oh yes, yes, please!!"

    PC World Business website:

    Advent 4211 Netbook....... £218.55 (inc VAT)

    3-year extended cover..... £192.91

    5-year extended cover..... £260.77

    No further comment needed...

  15. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Not even 'E' for effort

    This is going totally in the wrong direction and doesn't begin to meet my criteria.

    I want 7-8 hours battery life, under £250, Linux. Until I can get that my money stays in my pocket.

  16. W


    I await the plug for the eupeople "discussion" thread of reprinted reg articles. :-)

  17. Dave
    Dead Vulture

    Page 4

    Your Gimp test results states that a longer bar is better, I would have thought that the less time it takes to render the blur is better?

    Don't worry the pedant squad is here to keep you right.

  18. Piloti

    Two penneth worth......

    Basically, I travel for a living. 80% of my time is spent in other countries.

    Last year I had my £900 laptop nicked, and I was mighty narked.

    My work provide me with a laptop, but it is a work laptop and as such has all the inate loveability of a dog after a headswap op. It does the job for work very well, but is not very, shall we say, user freindly.

    So I bought myself one of these little advents, after reading so many reviews of the wind. £280 is about the same as I paid for my psion 5mx all those years ago.

    I have to say i think is it an excellent machine. Yes the battery life is utter pants, but so it seems it is on pretty much every laptop. Yes Yes I know, its how they are used, but if I could actually get three hours life on a charge I'd be happy. two and a half is about what I get on the advent and less on my work laptop.

    The screen is excellent for video [running from a usb stick or external drive....] wireless works, keyboard is more than manageable and it has a better than average feel of quality.

    Yes, 3g would be excellent, and battery life is a real issue, however, for £280 it is probably the best machine I have bought since my 5mx.


  19. b

    PAH! no SSD...NEXT!

    copy cat catch up..move along, nothing to see here..

    no SSD, not a player i this space, imo!

    baby laptop's should be SSD based not HD based. full stop!

    ..and the res has to get to 1024x768. at least! (need more pixels!)



    p.s. the "baby laptop" thread!:

  20. John

    The name: 4211?

    Is there any logic to this name at all? Here's what I'm thinking...

    Dixons marketing bod1: Hmm. We need a groovy name that will make the masses want this like they want an iPod.

    Dixons marketing bod2: Yeah, but numbers sound business-like, we want businesses to buy them 10 at a time!

    Dixons marketing bod1: I've got it! 4211. It sounds business-like and the first digit is the sum of the other three.

    Dixons marketing bod2: Way-aye mon, that's canny maths. Let's celebrate at the pub!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Love mine!

    Well I went from a 701 EEE to the Advent. The EEE was great but the screen was just TOO small. The Advent is great - I have had an Advent laptop before and had no trouble whatsoever with it and having read that the Advent was just a re-badged MSI Wind, I figured I'd not have too much trouble with hardware. Correct - no problems at all.

    Screen is great, keyboard is great, easy to upgrade the RAM (have 2GB now) and easy to replace the HD (am going to buy a WD Passport external HD....maybe 250GB....and do a straight swap).

    Me - I'd recommend it.

  22. clavius
    Thumb Up

    I've had one for two weeks and...'s well worth the money. When it comes to usability the eee's and the Aspire's don't cut it for me. One of my basic requirements is that I'm able to properly touch-type on the thing. If someone as tiny as Veronica Belmont (see the latest Tekzilla) can't even touch-type on an eee then there's no hope for the rest of us.

    The larger screen and keyboard might reduce "portability" (yeah, carrying this thing around is a REAL strain), but it's still small, still light, and it's nice to use. The upshot of all this is that I regard my Advent as properly portable but still a real computer and my eee as an expensive, vaguely annoying, toy.

    The fact it's not a SSD could be seen as a downside, but on the up it means I can load the thing up with a ton of movies and tv for watching on flights and on holidays etc.

    My only gripe with the thing is the battery life; though I knew the two hours of use wasn't going to be enough before I bought and I'm treating the 3-cell it shipped with as a replacement battery.

    If you want a machine you can sling in a bag and TRUELY forget about, but which still does everything you want and isn't a pain to use then you should get one of these.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    I've had one for almost a month...

    Bought from PC World, and I agree it's well worth the money.

    The screen is very bright and clear; the keyboard is large enough to be usable over extended periods of time, even with my large hands; and it runs Windows XP with the applications I need without too much difficulty.

    Serious ladies and gents, try one of these out before you shoot it down.

  24. Brad Ackerman

    Would have liked it

    As the review says -- the Sentelic pad was a showstopper. The shipped Windows image doesn't some with drivers, and even if you want to run Windows on it the in-store staff don't have drivers. So have fun with your tap-to-click clicking about every three keystrokes.

    The wireless card is a piece of junk (Realtek 8187) -- if that was the only problem, I'd have just replaced it with an Intel 3945, but the trackpad made the Wind extremely painful, despite the schw33t keyboard and screen. So back to PC World it went.

  25. Neil McRae
    Thumb Up

    I've got one

    The trackpad was a show stopper for me and after going through about 10 of them in the shop trying to find a "working" one the manager agreed to give me their display model - and I'm really happy with it. Sentelic drivers are now available so you can disable tap to click and they are promising to release a driver that supports the Synaptics function. I do think the change was a cock up though.

    I have Vista and NetBSD on mine. I had OS X on it also for a while it'll run all them happily.

    Yes it doesn't have an SSD but thats easy enough to add and you can ebay the old 80G disk. I use the bluetooth with my Windows Mobile TYTN II for high speed net access and it works perfectly.

    I just want the 6 cell battery for mine an I'm done.

    This is an MSI machine and the build quality is superb for £260. My only downside is that I would like 1024*768 but can live with 600.



  26. Pawel
    IT Angle


    Last week there were six in stock - they're probably gone now, but I emailed pcworld and asked when they expect it. Battery will be available some time in September:

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC: How to differentiate the touchpads? (Control Panel -> Mouse -> Finger-sensing pad)

  28. pimlicosound

    Satisfied customer

    I've had an Advent 4211 for nearly two months (I bought one within days of its release).

    I'm very satisfied with my purchase. It's a great little machine. I just wanted something cheap, light and fun for web browsing and Skype chatting, and this fits the bill.

    It's not perfect; it does have flaws. Its wireless reception is pretty lousy, the battery life on the 3-cell isn't good enough, and it can't play high-res video at full-screen. But I still like it.

  29. marc


    Other reviews have noted the MSI version is £50 more but you get a carry case and 2 year (instead of 1 year) warranty.

    I have plenty of bags, and prefer being able to drop into a store should it go wrong, as opposed to waiting at home all day for a courier. Plus I will probably have dropped it within a year anyway.

    So better pop down to PC world then hadn't I?!

  30. Michael Jennings

    I've had one for a month and a half

    Mine has the Synaptics touchpad. The touchpad itself is good, although the keypad buttons are a little sticky. They are good enough though. Battery life is not very good - an hour and a half is about it. My plan is to buy a compatible six cell battery from some guy in Hong Kong when such things become available on eBay, and carry the three cell with a spare. That way I should be able to get four or so hours out of two batteries, which is okay. The power adaptor is bulky, but a lot of the bulk is the long cable between the brick and the wall plug. As this is is a cable with a standard connector to the power brick, it is trivial to replace it with a shorter one,

    I travel a lot and I like to have a tiny laptop that I can stick in my hand luggage. I previously had a T Series Sony Vaio (which cost well over a grand) which was great at first but fell apart due to poor build quality and stopped working for no discernible reason when about two and a half years old. The Advent seems to deliver similar performance and is a similar size. The downsides are shorter battery life, an inferior screen (although 1024 pixels across is enough to render most things reasonably) and no optical drive. The last is less of a big deal that you might not think, particularly given that the Vaio had one of those crippled Matsushita optical drives which cannot be made region free, which nullified the main reason for having it (ie keeping yourself entertained on planes and in foreign hotel rooms). The Advent seems physically tougher though. And even if it doesn't last, for less than a quarter of the price I can afford to go through one a year if I have to.

    I am pretty pleased with the purchase, basically.

  31. This post has been deleted by its author

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Touchpad madness

    I had one, lovely bit of kit, but the first thing I tried to change was the tap to click function (it's a pet hate and it seems I am not alone.)

    PCW were remarkably understanding and offered a refund next day (mind you, I did also point out that the in-store demo unit didn't demonstrate the "features" mine had!)

    Anyway I now have an eee 1000 which looks not-quite-as-nice and is a bit heavier but boy, at 6 hours battery, more than makes up for it. I haven't been away from the mains long enough yet to run it down, how often can you say that?

  33. This post has been deleted by its author

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Warranty - Why PC World can offer it cheaper!

    As someone who bought an Aspire One from PC World discovered, they have bought the warranty/support from the manufacturer. If it goes wrong then you are not covered by a manufacturer warranty and instead have to use PC World's "TechGuys" service.

    So if it goes wrong you are basically screwed. With that crucial detail in mind, paying £20 extra to purchase elsewhere is a bargin!

    This point needs to be covered in the review and potentially in a separate article as a warning to buyers. Those who bought Acer Aspire One's from PC World were at no point told that warranty obligations were not with Acer (who have been highly praised by users with fauly Ones) but with PC World who have a horrendous track record on support.

  35. Nigel Wright

    Re. warranty

    Under UK law your contract is with the vendor anyway. i.e PC World, whether or not it has a manufacturer's warranty. Your rights are unaffected and you are still afforded the same level of protection.

  36. Anonymous Coward

    Re. warranty

    I think you are intentionally missing the point there. The quality of service is entirely different. Even if it doesn't change your legal protection you are getting a different product entirely. Who is to say that PC World even match the terms of the manufacturers warranty, there is often a difference between what a manufacturer has to offer under law and what they offer in reality.

    With manufacturer support, at least for the Aspire One you can deal direct with Acer who actually know what they are doing, the device is collected, repaired and returned to your door pretty quickly. PC World support - well I shouldn't need to tell anyone here just how bad that can be. It's got to be even worse for those with linux versions who have to deal with the "Tech Guys".

  37. Nigel Wright

    Re. warranty

    No intention about it. Perhaps I wasn't clear enough, UK law provides a much higher level of protection than a warranty so, whilst you might have good reason to be concerned about PC World's service, at least you can reject goods which a warranty will not allow you to do.

    In most case a buyer is advised to take a warranty issue up with the seller because of this.

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