MSI releases Slider S20 windows 8 ultrabook with unique sliding mechanism and full HD 11.6-inch touch-screen. Let’s take a closer look at the specs and performance and compare it to what we have available in small convertible windows 8 notebooks.
The MSI Slider S20 takes up the challenge of the Windows 8 premium convertible market, competing against the Lenovo Yoga or more specifically against the similar sliding-mechanism of Sony Vaio Duo 11 or Toshiba Satellite U925t. Slider S20 has a screen which slides back and up to sit propped atop the keyboard, where its positioning gives the whole contraption reassuring stability while typing or tapping. In terms of general aesthetics, the Slider S20 plumps for the contored style, encased in white plastic with chromed accents for effect and softened corners for good ergonomic handling. Workmanship is first-class throughout.
MSI has chosen a Intel’s Core i5-3337U to run the show, helped out in pixel chores by Intel’s integrated HD4000 and a whopping 8GB RAM. MSI Slider S20 delivers 484MB/s for reads and 286MB/s for data writes on 128GB SSD storage. That gives an average data transfer speed of 335MB/s.
A solitary HDMI out, a quite-frankly despicable USB 2.0, as well as a 4-in-1 card reader. Impeccable dual-band WiFi and low-thirst Bluetooth 4. The 11.6-inch screen comes with a native 1920 x 1080 pixel count – it’s sharp and bright, and all protected by scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass. In-panel switching (IPS) technology on this screen provide decent viewing angles.
The non-backlit island-style keyboard gives a pretty fast and accurate but slightly shallow typing experience. Though this is not unusual for a convertible ultrabooks of this size, the typing is a bit cramped. External keyboard is recommended for heavyweight typing sessions.
Pre-installed software on the Windows 8 OS includes Evernote, Fresh Paint, and the Music Maker Jam app, as well as CookBook and PuzzleTouch, and there’s a trial version of Norton Internet Security waiting to be fully activated if that’s your chosen firewall flavor. Pre-loaded games are limited to the standard Microsoft offerings – Mahjong, Pinball FX2, Taptiles, Adera, and the dreaded Solitaire Collection.
Browsing experience is decent – a handful of open browser tabs doesn’t bring any slowdown in performance, and pages render instantly with the integrated Intel GPU, which even before the upcoming 10%-performance-boosting driver upgrade can match the output of a mid-range card.
MSI S20 Slidebook got itself 4046 in PCMark7, and in the 3DMark06 benchmark, a good estimate of more demanding tasks, the Slider S20 notched up 3944 spidery points. Those figures are 10-20% behind the Toshiba and Dell convertibles, and even further behind the category leader performance-wise, the Asus Taichi 21, but in general operation, users won’t notice any difference. This MSI Slider S20 configuration costs $1200, but there are upgrades available, including i7 CPU and twice-as-large 256GB SSD for extra outlay. Battery life is a mediocre 4:30 of moderate browsing, a good hour less than both the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 or Dell XPS 12 promise away from the socket.
But overall everything hinges on the design appeal – if you’re keen on the slide-out form factor, the full HD 1920 x 1080p pixel count is a strong card in the Slider S20′s hand. Another appeal is of course the gorgeous display and its superb mechanism. There is just no wrong angle here. You can lay it down flat or move it forward to almost perpendicular position.
MSI Slider S20 can be picked up for about $1100.
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