Look what the Wind blew in . . . Updated: Check out our full review of the MSI Wind. Yesterday CNET UK let the cat out of the bag and released an early hands-on with the MSI Wind NB. We concur with CNET UK: the MSI Wind is one kickass system. I have been playing/testing the Wind for the last week and putting it through its paces. We are restricted from talking about the system’s chipset and its resulting performance until the NDA breaks on June 3 at 4:00 a.m. (EST), but we are allowed to detail our first impressions of the hardware and the system itself. Stay tuned for our full review of the system, but in the meantime check out our hands-on video of the system and the large gallery of images. Larger Footprint and Screen At first sight, the pearl white MSI Wind looks like an Apple MacBook. Its minimalist design and rounded edges scream Apple. However, the system also looks strikingly similar to the white ASUS Eee PC, though it’s a bit bulkier, thanks to the Wind’s 10-inch screen. Measuring 10.23 x 7.08 x .74-inches and weighing just under 3 pounds, the Wind’s footprint is a tad bulkier than the other mini-notebooks we have seen. It is still very small notebook and easily fit in my shoulder bag. The 10-inch screen is a sheer pleasure. If you thought 8.9 inches gave the Eee PC some much-needed space, the Wind’s 10-inch screen is like spending the night in a king-size bed. (Ahh, so spacious!) I have been able to work on this blog post on one half of the screen and open GIMP to edit pictures on the other half. I haven’t had to scroll horizontally through any Web pages; windows and Web sites all fit to size. A Full-Size Keyboard Below the spacious screen is an adult-size keyboard. If the Eee PC’s keyboard is a one-bedroom apartment, the Wind’s is a mansion. The keyboard is very spacious and doesn’t require me to type in a hand-puppet shape. The matte keys aren’t as soft as the HP Mini-Note’s, but they provide solid feedback. My one complaint about the Wind’s hardware is its small trackpad. Measuring 2.0 x 1.7 inches, the trackpad on the Wind is disappointingly small and similar to that on the Eee PC 4G; it requires a bit of backtracking. 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. Since the system sports Bluetooth 2.0, I’ve been navigating with a Bluetooth mouse. Smooth XP Navigation Our review unit is preloaded with Windows XP Home and is priced somewhere in the $500 range —a pretty sweet deal, if you ask us (MSI has told us we’ll be getting a more official price next week). I am enjoying running XP on the system, and all the standard XP software is preloaded. A $399 SUSE Linux version will also be available. The system has 3 USB ports, mic and headphone jacks, an Ethernet port, a 4-in-1 card reader, and a VGA port. It was a snap to hook up to my 19-inch Dell monitor to the system. As far as the Wind’s hardware goes, we are seriously impressed. As for performance, here is a hint, it is equally, if not more, impressive.
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