MSI have expanded their market in India over the past few years and today you’ll find them in varied product segments like tablets, notebooks, All-in-ones and even peripherals. While they’ll always be known for their motherboards and graphics cards, their notebook segment is growing rapidly as well. We’ve already seen their high end gaming notebook segment with the GX660 and today MSI have sent us something from the other end of the price bracket, the U270 netbook. They’ve placed it in very competitive price range (20-20K) so let’s see if it’s any good to warrant a purchase.
The MSI U270 on video
Design and Build
The design of the U270 looks a lot like an Eee PC and if it wasn't for the MSI logo, It'd be really tough to tell them apart. The rear portion of the lid has a glossy finish which is prone to fingerprints. MSI gives you two screen choices, a 11.6-inch and a 12.1-inch out of which we have the former. Oddly though, the 11.6-inch screen comes with a lower 1024x600 resolution instead of the usual 1366x768. Due to this, the icons and programs appear a bit too big. The six-cell battery pack creates a slight bulge at the bottom which actually works in MSI's favor as it creates a slight elevation making it comfortable to type on. The netbook feels a bit heavy at 1.3kg and it isn't very slim either.
The U270 is built well and looks good
Connectivity includes three USB ports (one of them is USB 3.0), VGA, HDMI, card reader, memory card reader, microphone and headphone jack. The screen has a glossy finish to it so reflections can be a bit of a problem.
USB 3.0 is present as well
MSI has gone with the chiclet styled keyboard which is very comfortable to use even for long durations. The trackpad is quite small for a 11.6-inch netbook which is makes it a bit of a pain to use. The scrolling function is the touch and scroll types which mean you have touch the top or bottom portion of the trackpad to scroll up and down instead of swiping our finger.
The U270 is powered by AMD’s Zacate E-350 dual-core APU running at 1.6GHz. The memory bundled is 2GB DDR3 that's expandable to 8GB. Our unit came with a a 320GB hard drive, but you can opt for a 500GB as well. Finally we have Windows 7 Home Premium pre-installed along with a bunch of utility disks and some reading material.
Chiclet keyboard is very comfortable to use
The netbook features a HD webcam and comes bundled with security software’s and MSI's own desktop utilities.
Compared to the Acer Aspire 522, it fares a little better due to the faster speed of the APU. Windows feels a bit sluggish at times and even opening and closing programs is a bit slow.
Performannce is good across the board
General and Multimedia Usage
The netbook is very comfortable to work with on a daily basis. It doesn’t get too hot which means you can easily use it on your lap. The keyboard is very comfortable and so is the feedback of the keys. The viewing angles are not too great though; the U270 is limited to about 160 degrees which means you’ll need to sit at a particular angle to get the ideal viewing angle.
The screen quality is good although the resolution is a little low so you don’t get a lot of screen real estate. The speakers are quite loud and are good as it’s even going to get on a netbook. The trackpad is a bit of a letdown as it’s simply too small. I could understand if this was a 10-inch netbook but for a 11.6 incher, I want a larger trackpad. That aside, it works well and the so does the vertical and horizontal scrolling.
With Battery Eater Pro, I got 2hr and 30mins of battery life which is pretty good. Under normal usage, with ‘Power saving mode’ enabled, you should be able to get about 5hrs.
The MSI U270 is priced at Rs.22,999 which is not a bad price for a 11.6-inch netbook, but looking at the competition, HP’s DM1 is slightly cheaper and is a better netbook. The DM1 is identical to the U270 feature wise, plus, it packs in a better trackpad, higher resolution screen and better looks and build quality. The only thing lacking from HP’s offering is a USB 3.0 port. The U270 does make a good netbook but small sized trackpad and low resolution screen makes it tough to recommend over the competition.