u100 News and Updates

MSI U123, U123T and U123H netbooks launched

MSI U123 is the successor of now aging U100. The U123 comes with 2GB RAM and uses the N280 Intel Atom processor. The MSI has also launched MSI U123H, which is similar to the U123 except for the fact that it comes with built-in 3.5G. The U123T comes with a built-in TV tuner card, which will let you watch (and record) TV programs on your netbook.

However, it is not a huge upgrade. I was looking forward to higher resolution. 1024 x 600 is nice but 1280 x 800 is something I would have really appreciated.

One piece of information that the MSI is repeatedely mentioning in the news release is the massive capacity of U123, which is 160GB. What? We have been using the 160GB HDD in our netbooks from quite sometime. In fact, it is a standard feature in netbooks these days and there is no need to mention it 4 times in the news release.

Acer D150 Review

Following the immense success of the original 8.9-inch Acer Aspire One, Acer’s new Aspire One AKA D150 comes with a bigger 10.1-inch display; slicker casing and an array of improvements over the immensely popular 8.9″ Aspire One. Can the new D150 be the top selling netbook just like the original one?  Read the review to find out!

Design

The new Aspire One is built along the design of its older model. That said, there are some (welcome) design changes in the D150. For example: the shiny palm rest is now brushed metal finishing. The hinge has also undergone design change. We will cover these changes and other improvements one-by-one in the review

EEE 1000H and Aspire One D150

EEE 1000H and Aspire One D150

On the right side of the netbook, you will find that the rings on the side of the hinge are gone. They are now replaced by teardrop-shaped hinge, which looks great. On this side, you will find the Kensington lock, power port and 2 USB ports.

On the left side, you will find VGA port, LAN port, a USB port, earphone, microphone jack and multi-card reader.

On the front, you will find the WiFi toggle switch.

The Aspire One D150 is much less chunky than the other 10.1-inch netbooks like  EEE 1000H and looks better too.

Display

The Acer Aspire One D150 is equipped with a 10.1-inch display which has 1024 x 600 resolution. Unlike most of the netbooks in the market, it has a glossy display. The colors are rich and images look vibrant.

Just over the display, you will find the 0.3MP camera, which I found decent enough for Skype video calls.

Keyboard

Most of the people go for the 10-inch netbooks for two reasons:

  • for bigger display (of course)
  • for full-size keyboard

The bigger display allows the netbook manufactures to fit-in for the bigger ‘almost’ full-size keyboards. The keyboard of D150 is great to type on. Although, Acer could have fit in a bigger keyboard as there is some empty space on the sides. That said, the keyboard is a joy to use. I’d no problems in typing a document in the wordpad. With the EEE 1000H, I get nearly 90-100WPM and with the D150, I got 85WPM. May be I will improve with the usage.

I also appreciate the full size shift key and dedicated page-up and page-down buttons. In all the ASUS EEEs, you have to use the fn+up arrow combo to use the page-up function. Since, we use page-up and page-down functions quite a lot when browsing through long documents and web-pages, the dedicated keys improve the user-experience.

Another improvement is that the Acer has made the touchpad bigger and the vertical buttons previously found on the sides of the touchpad are now replaced by a single bar which is placed below the touchpad.

Speakers

The speakers are located at the bottom of the unit. They are loud enough for skype calls.

Memory

The Acer Aspire One D150 comes with a 160GB HDD and 1GB RAM. How do the HDD performs? Let’s see that in the benchmark test.

Benchmarks

Here are the results obtained by Crystal Disk Mark test:

..and for comparison, here are the results of EEE 1000H followed by EEE 1002HA (both use HDD):

As it can be easily observed, most of them performed similarly in the Crystal Disk Mark test. Here are Crytal Mark benchmark result:

Upgrading

Upgrading HDD and RAM in the older Aspire One was not an easy job. Acer listened to the complaints of the users and have made upgrading HDD and RAM extremely easy in the new D150 Aspire One. The RAM is upgradable to 2GB.

Connectivity

The D150 comes with all the latest connectivity radios that you would expect from a modern netbook. This include WiFi and BT (older aspire one did not have BT). However, the Aspire One D150 that I reviewed came with something extra: WiMax slot. Yes, if your network supports WiMax, just put in your SIM and boom! You can now enjoy mobile broadband.

Battery Life

Gone are the days, when the users cared less about the battery life. People expect to carry these netbooks everywhere they go and nobody wants to carry the charger with them as it just kills the point of mobility.

The D150 ships with 6-cell 5200mAh as standard in most of the countries, which simply gives mind-boggling battery life. In casual wifi surfing, it crossed 6 hours with ease and still had some juice left. This is better than the most of the 6-cell netbooks like EEE 1000H and MSI WIND U100.

It protrudes out from back though.

Charger

Charger should be as compact as possible in the netbooks. Older Aspire One came with a huge power brick. Acer has made the power brick smaller for the D150, which looks a lot like the one which is supplied with the latest EEE PCs.

sorry for the blurred image, but that does not matters here. Right? ;)

sorry for the blurred image, but that does not matters here. Right? ;)

Addons

The ACER bundles a nice neoprene case which does a much better job than the pathetic case that the ACER bundled with the older verison of the Acer Aspire one.

Acer has bundled eRecovery software for easy restore and backup of the HDD image. It lets you:

  • create a factory default disk
  • create drivers and apps disk
  • restore system to factory defaults
  • restore only OS (user data won’t be deleted in this option)
  • reinstall drivers and apps

It also comes with eSobi, Google Desktop, trial of office 2007 and McAfee Security Center.

Some comparison pictures with the other popular netbooks

EEE 1002HA and ASPIRE ONE D150

EEE 1002HA and ASPIRE ONE D150

EEE 1000H and Aspire One D150

EEE 1000H and Aspire One D150

EEE 1002HA, ASPIRE ONE D150 and EEE 1000H

EEE 1002HA, ASPIRE ONE D150 and EEE 1000H

Final Verdict

The new Aspire One D150 offers a elegant and stylish design along with enough power to satisfy for your daily as-well-as mobile computing needs.  And with the 6 hours-plus battery life and extremely affordable price ($350-$400 for 6-cell battery), it is a great bang for a buck. We recommend it.

Pros:

  • Great battery life
  • Cheap for what you get
  • Looks nice
  • Brushed metallic palm rest
  • Zippy performance
  • eRecovery software is handy
  • Full sized shift key and dedicated page-up/down buttons
  • RAM and HDD upgradable
  • Better bundled case (compared to older Aspire One)

Cons:

  • Keyboard could have been bigger.

J&W launches Minix Netbook

Looks like every single computer manufacture wants to have a netbook under their company’s name. Same is the case with the J&W, a motherboard manufacture. Unlike other companies, which just rebrand the netbooks of other companies, J&W are going to manufacture the netbook themselves. As a result of it, chances are that it will end up being cheaper than the other netbooks. It has the usual netbook specs:

  • Intel Atom N270 processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 945 chipset
  • Windows XP (Ubuntu version in talks)
  • HSPDA (optional)
  • WiFi, BT
  • webcam (1.3MP)

It comes with a keyboard cover that will prevent your device from getting destroyed in case you spill some liquid over it. Although that does not make it special at all as several 3rd party accessory makers sell these cheap keyboard covers for the netbooks. Personally, they do not provide enjoyable typing experience. So, I generally do not keep the liquids and my netbooks too close.

But, does not it looks too much like the MSI Wind U100? Even the specifications are similar to the MSI Wind U100.

[via]

MSI brings more fun to Wind Netbooks with the free Q-Face and Windy Zone applications [Netbook]

The MSI is giving away two nice kiddish applications to the users of U100 and U90 MSI Q-Face and Windy Zone. The Q-face is a simple application to do little transformation to your images like adding a frame, putting a hat on your picture and changing into a cute puppy (!).

Windy Zone is nothing but a pack of 6 classic games:

  • Star Mission
  • Chicken Shake
  • Chicken Invader
  • Island War
  • Loco
  • Smileyville

So, what are you waiting for? Download them to your Wind

MSI Wind U100 hinges are not that weak as we all thought [Netbook]

Last year, immediately when the MSI Wind U100 was released, there was a uproar on the various netbook websites regarding how weak the hinges of MSI Wind U100 were. Now, nearly after an year, how do the hinges stand? Well, the hinges are still strong and have shown no signs of aging.

Looks like MSI has done a great job of keeping the hinges stylish and functional. People have infact praised the built quality of the MSI u100. One of them even accidentally dropped it from nearly 5 ft and nothing happened to the hinges.

[msiwind.net forum thread]

Great news for Netbook manufactures – Windows XP to live to 2010+

Vista could not make a big splash in netbook arena due to it’s bulkiness. This paved the way for the Windows XP to live for even more years than Microsoft expected. Talking about Microsoft’s expectations, it expected the Vista to fully replace the Windows XP in each field, which actually did not happen.

Windows 7 may get available later this year or in the begining of next year and we have heard great things about the Windows 7 already. Netbooks like MSI Wind U100 are running Windows 7 Beta pretty nicely already. But, the Windows 7 takes nearly 9GB of storage space, which makes it immpossible to use on the MIDs and Netbooks, which come with small SSDs. That is the sweet spot for Windows XP, which has much less space requirements. Also, the drivers of components used with Windows XP are more widely available. That also reduces the overall price of the device.

[fudzilla]

Netbook LB-F1500 has a built-in DVD Multidrive [netbook]

The LuvBook F1500B is a new netbook by Mouse Computer. The latest trend in the netbook market  is incorporating the DVD-RAM drives under the hood. The LB F1500B does no different. It comes with a built-in DVD-writer to satisfy those folks who always complain about difficulty in loading applications into their netbook. There is no information about its price and release date.

Specifications of F1500B:

  • 10.2-inch WSVGA LCD
  • Intel Atom N270 CPU
  • 1GB RAM
  • 160GB HDD
  • 5.2 hours battery life
  • webcam
  • Wi-Fi, LAN

Sources say that it is basically a MSI Wind U100 with a DVD drive. I fail to understand this latest trend though. The netbooks were initially designed to be portable, small and light-weight. Incorporating DVD-RAM drive would:

  • further blur the line between netbook and notebook
  • increase the weight by some hundred grams
  • would increase the depth of the device and thus making it bulkier

I’ve seen so many people complaining about the lack of DVD drive in netbooks. The reasons which they give are pretty lame to be honest. Some say, they won’t be able to load their applications on it without DVD drive. Well, most of the applications are available online that they can download them to their netbooks. Another way is to install it via LAN by connecting a LAN wire to notebook/desktop PC, which have DVD/CD drive by sharing the drives. Another and probably the most easiest way is to install via external DVD drives.

[Akihabara]

Gateway LT1004U Netbook finally lands in Singapore [netbook]


MSI Wind U100 and Acer Aspire One are two of the very popular netbooks, which are available in various parts of the world under countless brands. Here is another one, from Gateway, which is a re-branded Aspire One. It was lately seen in the local office Depot in Singapore. It looks like Gateway has left the specifications untouched. It comes with the 8.9-inch screen, Intel Atom N270 processor clocked at 1.6GHz, 160GB HDD, 1GB RAM, Win XP Home. It is available at a price of $379.

[engadget]

edit: It was spotted in Redmond (Thanks Andrew for the tip!)

Windows 7 on the MSI Wind U100 [Netbook]

Windows 7 is faster and more reliable version of Windows. Last week, Microsoft made the beta available for download for the public. Microsoft says that they have made myriad of changes under the hood and they have been able to make the whole operating system a whole lot faster than the bulky Vista. Vista was never able to make big name in netbooks as netbooks didn’t have the horsepower to run such a heavy operating system.

Windows 7 BETA is running very well on most of the netbooks. So far, Windows XP has been the OS of choice as it performs very well on the Celeron M and the Intel Atom CPU, either of which are being used in the netbooks today. K.C Tofel at JKontherun has installed Windows 7 on his MSI Wind U100 and he is pretty much impressed with it’s performance.

Sleep without any programs open is 7.2 seconds. Resume is 3.6 seconds. The whole installation took less than 30 minutes. Here are the score of Windows Experience Index, which are pretty decent for a netbook.

  • Processor = 2.2
  • Memory = 4.5
  • Graphics = 2.3
  • Gaming Graphics = 3.0
  • Primary Hard Disk = 4.9

Clearly, the Windows 7 will be more netbook friendly and the users will be happy to switch to it from the now-outdating Windows XP.

[jkontherun]

MSI U120 Netbook unleashed and it has 3.5G or WiMAX!

The new netbook from the MSI sports a ‘new’ Intel Atom processor and a HDD upto 160GB. But that is not the most exciting thing about the MSI U120. It is the 3.5G network card that lets you use WiMax on the netbook. With WiMax, you will be able to enjoy much higher data speeds as compared to old 3G network.

Compared to it’s older brother, U100, the software also seems to be updated a little too. It now comes with Face Recognition system to provide one more level of security. It is available in 2 colors: white and black.

The inclusion of 3.5G wireless card certainly gives the MSI U120 a fine edge over it’s non-3.5G enabled competitors. Obviously, this service is useful only if your cellular provider provides WiMax or 3.5g service. Otherwise, the U120 is not much different from the rest of the netbook specifications wise.