MSI X-Slim vs. the MacBook Air

Macbook Air
The MSI X-Slim X320 is only 2mm thicker than the MacBook Air

MSI is bound to turn a few heads at CES this year with its answer to Apple's MacBook Air. But how does the X-Slim X320 super portable stack up?

First things first, when MSI calls the X320 a 'super portable', what it really means is 'netbook'. Rumours suggest that any hardware that breaks cover at CES will be running on an Intel Atom Z530 processor rather than a full-blown Core 2 Duo CPU.

Thinner than a Macbook Air?

Other than that, the X-Slim X320 is shaping up nicely. According to the scant information on the MSI website, the X320 features a 13.4-inch widescreen display (making it a shade bigger than the MacBook Air's 13.3-inch screen) and weighs 1.3Kg (much like the MacBook Air's 1.36Kg frame).

Like the MacBook Air, the X320's chassis tapers slightly. It measures 1.98cm at its thickest point (the Macbook Air is a mere 1.94cm), slimming down to a skinny 6mm at its thinnest point (compared to 4mm for the MacBook Air).

A netbook with extra muscle

Engadget throws in some extra details on the proposed spec – 802.11n, 3.5G mobile broadband, three USB ports (the MacBook Air has only one), an Ethernet port, VGA out, and a card reader. There's also some wilder speculation that the X320 might also be equipped with NVIDIA's Ion platform, which would slave in the GPU to enhance multimedia processing power.

Crucially, if MSI isn't fibbing about a battery life that supposedly "lasts up to 10 hours", the X320 could make a big impact with netbook-obsessed Westerners. The MacBook Air can barely muster 4.5 hours.

The MSI X-Slim X320 will be available later this year. You'll be able to take your pick from 'champagne gold', 'pearl white' or 'stylish black' models.