MSI Wind U90 review

A strong choice, but bettered by PC World's larger, re-branded Advent

MSI Wind U90
A good little netbook but is sadly bettered by the rebranded version from PC World

TechRadar Verdict

A good option if you desperately need Bluetooth but there are better options available for a little more cash


  • +

    Great usablilty

  • +

    Good performance


  • -

    Disappointing battery

  • -

    Small screen

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MSI made a large splash in the laptop market when it released the Wind U100, the first 10-inch netbook. The U90 uses the same chassis but, despite its lower price, the smaller screen and reduced storage fail to pack the punch of its predecessor.

Since the Advent 4211 is a re-branded Wind U100, the U90 also shares the same 1.1kg chassis with that model. The design is functional and sturdy, but where the Advent uses silver plastics on the palm-rest, the MSI has an entirely black design.

Of course, the same fantastic usability is here and this is one of the most comfortable netbooks you can buy. Large hands may struggle with the tiny touchpad and mouse button, however, so it's worth trying before you buy to see if the user interface suits your needs.

Disappointingly, the 3-cell battery provides less mobility than the Advent. Running for just 143 minutes, you can work on the way to the office, but you'll need to recharge when you get there if you want to work again on the return journey.

Performance is more pleasing and matches the Advent, providing some of the best results we got. When writing emails and running basic office software, we found the U90 comfortably kept us up and running.

Small screen

When it comes to the screen size, many users may prefer the Advent – or MSI's own U100. The 8.9-inch screen of the U90 provides great image quality, but it's hard to see why anyone would prefer a smaller screen, since the Advent provides a 10.2- inch screen for just £16 extra.

While MSI's U100 carries a 160GB hard drive, the U90 instead uses a 120GB disk to keep costs down. Most consumers won't miss the extra storage space for basic use however, as it's ample for carrying music, photos, office files and even videos.

Where this netbook betters rivals such as the Advent and Toshiba is its Bluetooth connectivity. This lets you wirelessly connect to compatible devices, such as your mobile phone, to easily share data and add extra functionality.

MSI's standard warranty is more comprehensive than the cover that PC World provides with its Advent netbooks. A two-year warranty is included as standard, but you must pay all related delivery costs, so many users may prefer PC World's easy walk-in repairs.

There's no denying that the MSI Wind U90 is an impressive netbook on its own merits, but when compared to the rebranded Advent 4211c, it fails to match up. You may well find therefore that you get more for your money by choosing PC World's option instead.