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MSI Wind U90X with SUSE Linux

Kane Adams

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The MSI Wind U100, released in June, was the first mini-notebook to sport a 10-inch display, a near full sized keyboard and a traditonal hard drive (as opposed to solid state). The company has now released in select countries (including Canada) the Wind U90X, a fraternal twin to the original with a smaller 8.9-inch screen. While it still has some of the same features that helped the U100 garner our Editors’ Choice award, the U90X ultimately isn’t in the same league. Its SUSE Linux operating system is at times downright frustrating, and the less than two hours of battery life is poor.



Simple, Small Design

The MSI Wind U90X’s chassis is identical to that of the U100. Its black design (also available in white and pink) is basic, but feels solid. Similar to the black Dell Inspiron Mini 9, this system’s lid features a glossy finish, but it hides fingerprints surprisingly well.


Measuring 10.2 x 7.1 x 1.2 inches and weighing just under 2.5 pounds, the U90X’s footprint is a tad bulkier than other 8.9-inch systems on the market, since MSI merely shrunk the screen size while using the same chassis. The Dell Inspiron Mini 9 is both 1.1 inches shorter in length and 0.1 ounces lighter. However, the size and weight of the U90X are still small; at 3.2 pounds with the AC adapter (2.4 without), it was hardly noticeable in a shoulder bag.


The right side of the U90X houses one USB port, a 4-in-1 memory card reader, mic and headphone jacks, a VGA port, and an Ethernet jack. Two additional USB ports and the power jack line the left side. Unlike the HP 2133 Mini-Note or Lenovo IdeaPad S10, the Wind U90X lacks an ExpressCard slot for adding a mobile broadband modem card, but you can always use a compact USB modem.



Comfortable Keyboard, Small Touchpad

Because the U90X is housed in the same chassis as the 10-inch Wind, the system maintains its stellar, almost-full-sized keyboard. The matte keys were springy and offered a good amount of feedback when typing, and while the keys aren’t as large as those on the HP 2133 Mini-Note, touch typists should have no problems using the U90X for extended periods.


While most of the keys are positioned normally, there are two pipe/backslash keys (most keyboards have one). The left pipe key, about two-thirds the size of a normal key, is between the Shift and Z keys; we continually hit the pipe key when we meant to hit the Shift or Enter key. Those who plan to buy the U90X in the U.S. from Canadian retailers should note that a few of the keys, including the Esc and Caps Lock, are in both French and English. We didn’t find this to be distracting.


We continue to be disappointed in the Wind’s small touchpad. Measuring 2.0 x 1.7 inches, it requires more finger movement than we would like. The mouse button, a single bar that serves as a left and right click control, is also less than ideal. It lacks a divot to separate the buttons, feels mushy, and requires a firm press. We would prefer two dedicated buttons with more tactile response like that on the Dell Inspiron Mini 9.





Read the rest here.



Kind of an unfair review of Suse.

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