Netbooks from Asus, MSI, and Hello Kitty: The week in laptops

After a brief respite, Netbooks came to the foreground again this week. Virtual unknown Raon Digital grabbed everyone's attention with the dual-core, touch-screen Everun Note. Asus showed off its new brushed-metal design with the Eee PC 1002HA (pictured at right). And Dell launched new colors and graphic designs for the Inspiron Mini 9.

Meanwhile, a new iteration of MSI's Netbook was spotted on display in China. The company followed up with an official announcement of the Wind U120. No word yet on pricing or availability, though the Netbook should be on display at CES 2009.

The final minilaptop … Read more

MSI refreshes Wind Netbook

MSI on Friday announced the next iteration of its popular Wind Netbook, the 3-pound Wind U120. The updated model includes many of the same features as its predecessor, but sports a new look (white with black accents) and adds WiMax or HSDPA connectivity.

Mobile broadband was one of the items we thought was missing from the Wind U100, so we're glad to see it's been included with this update, at least in theory. (At the moment, WiMax networks are pretty scarce in the U.S.) Also included is a six-cell battery, which is a necessity when you're … Read more

MSI announces three all-in-one PCs, calls them Wind Netons for some reason

MSI appears to be the only thing standing in the way of Asus and its attempt to take over the world with Eee-branded products, including an Eee Nettop that is on tap to be announced Thursday. MSI sees Asus' Eee Top and raises it three Wind Netons, MSI's (odd) name for its new line of all-in-one Nettops.

At the low end is the Neton M16, which features a 15.6-inch screen and a $400 price. In the middle sits the M19, an 18.5-inch model for $500, and at the top of the line is the still reasonably priced $… Read more

Get an MSI Wind Netbook for only $349

The MSI Wind has been around a long time by Netbook computer standards and generally gets good reviews. Laptop magazine, for example, loved it. Back in July, CNET gave it 3.5 stars out of 5.

The model CNET reviewed was, at the time, $479. It ran Windows XP, came with an 80GB hard disk and included Bluetooth networking. If you can live without Bluetooth, you can now buy a very similar model, the Wind U100-420US, with a 120GB hard disk for only $349. For that price you get a gigabyte of RAM, an Intel Atom processor, a 10-inch matte … Read more

MSI's 3.5G Wind 120 coming in November, offer subsidized by Taiwanese Telecom

We had gotten word previously that MSI's follow-up to the Wind 100--the 120--would likely hit the streets this December. According to Digitimes, though, we won't have to wait that long. In fact, the 3.5G-sporting Netbook should be available sometime next month. The specs are fairly impressive, running Windows XP on Intel's Atom N270 processor with 1GB of RAM.

With its 8.9-inch screen, this ultraportable is inviting with its estimated street price of $552, but that price could come down if the manufacturer squares deals with American 3G network operators like AT&T or T-Mobile, … Read more

Spotted: MSI Wind 2

Before you pick up MSI's Wind U100 Netbook at Best Buy, you'd do well to take a look-see at purported photos of its sequel, the Wind U120.

It appears to be very similar to the U100 in size and design, keeping the 10-inch screen but going with a two-tone look with a black screen bezel and sides and a white lid, keyboard, and wrist rest. The U120 will reportedly target business users, adding 802.11n Wi-Fi and 3.5G WWAN. Other rumored specifications include a 120GB hard drive or 20GB or 40GB solid-state drives and no changes to … Read more

MSI Wind: Lay your hands on me at Best Buy

The MSI Wind is hitting retail store shelves. That's good news if, like me, you'd like to see just how cramped a Netbook's keyboard is before your fat fingers pull the trigger on a purchase. MSI today announced that its 10-inch Netbook, available only online from Amazon and other direct sellers until now, is on store shelves at Best Buy.

The MSI Wind U100 model at Best Buy looks very similar to the $479 model we reviewed earlier this year, featuring the 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 processor, 1GB of memory, and Windows XP Home, but it … Read more

New models from Asia and the best student laptops: The week in laptops

Given the Democratic and Republican conventions and the Labor Day holiday stealing everyone's attention, I expected this week to be a quiet one when it came to product announcements. But those distractions really only apply to folks in the States, and overseas manufacturers pushed out plenty of new laptop models to keep us busy.

Samsung threw down a challenge to the MacBook Air by announcing the 13-inch, 2.8-pound Samsung X360. MSI came out with three new laptop models, the 14-inch VR440 and GX400, and the 17-inch GX720. Asus announced the G50V and G71V, gaming systems built on Core … Read more

Building the perfect Netbook

Smaller and cheaper have always been big tech buzzwords, and the currently hot category of Netbook laptops seems to be embracing that spirit better than anyone else in recent memory. After all, we used to be crazy for 11- and 12-inch ultraportable laptops, which combined uninspiring performance and poor battery life into packages costing upward of $2,000. Now we can get comparable performance and (sometimes) better battery life in small 9- and 10-inch systems for $400-$700.

With low-power processors, tiny screens and finger-cramping keyboards, most of these Netbooks aren't good for much more than surfing the Web, … Read more

Fessing up to faulty GPUs: The week in laptops

Hey, remember when Nvidia issued that business update saying it was expecting to lose money repairing or replacing flawed graphics cards, but then declined to state which cards were affected and which manufacturers bought them?

Well, this week, both Dell and HP finally came out with a list of laptops that included the defective cards. Check your laptops, people, or you too may be treated to "multiple images, random characters on the screen, lines on the screen, no video" or even a "notebook (that) does not start."

Moving on, analyst group Gartner says the $100 laptop is a pipe dream, but the $200-$500 laptop is going strong. This week saw Intel's Classmate PC primed for a third-generation release; the MSI Wind started shipping with a 6-cell battery (though that bumps the price to $550); and Asus reportedly prepared an Eee PC 701 powered by Intel Atom chips.

That last item is apparently part of Asus' plan to cook up a total of 23 varieties of Eee PC over the coming months (or years, the timeline isn't clear). It's enough to make me wonder if Asus will continue to manufacture any non-Eee PC computers in the next few years. Or will we soon be receiving a press release announcing that Asus is changing the company name to Eee?

Meanwhile, memory maker Buffalo gets our carpe diem award for recognizing the market opportunity in DIY solid-state drives for the Eee PC. First runner-up is Samsung, which finally recognized business users as a prime market for the UMPC and added a few enterprise features to its Q1 Ultra. … Read more