MSI W20 3M Hands-on: AMD-Powered Windows 8 Tablet

At today’s AMD Accelerate 2013 conference, AMD showed off a number of products featuring its processors. Among them was the MSI W20 3M, an 11.6-inch tablet running Windows 8. We went hands-on with this new tablet to see how it measures up with other Windows 8 slates on the market.

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While it doesn’t feel as solidly built at Microsoft’s Surface tablet, the W20 does have a brushed aluminum rear panel, and at 1.5 pounds, is half a pound lighter than Microsoft’s tablet. At 12.1 x 7.7 x 0.39 inches, it’s also very thin, and feels all the more so owing to its tapered sides. Also on the back of the W20 is a fingerprint reader, a nice security feature, as well as a power button and volume controls, which seem somewhat inconveniently located. 

 The W20 has an 11.6-inch 1366 x 768-pixel IPS display with a 10-point multi-touch touch screen. While that’s a lower resolution than the Surface, which has a 1080p display, it should mean that the W20 will have a lower price point. For example, while it’s not a tablet, the $399 HP Pavilion Touchsmart 11z also has an A4 CPU. 

The W20 is powered by an AMD A4-1200 processor with AMD Radeon HD 8180 graphics and 2GB of DDR3L RAM. Consumers will have a choice of either a 64GB or 128GB SSD. THe W20 lacks USB ports, but a plastic tab along one side covers a microSD card slot. Connectivity includes 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.

With a 2-cell, 34.78-watt hour battery, MSI claims the W20 will last up to 9 hours on Windows idle, and 6 hours of 1080p video playback.

Pricing and availability of the W20 3M has not yet been announced;  we’re certainly looking forward to testing the tablet.

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