The MSI U270 is an 11.6″ netbook that sells for around $400. It’s a bit pricier than many other netbooks, but it sports a dual-core CPU with 2GB of RAM. There is also a 12.1″ model if you’re keen on a slightly larger screen. The dotted pattern on the lid and wrist-rest spices up the U270′s appearance, but the general design is practical rather than breath-taking. The MSI U270 stretches the tape at 297 x 190 x 31mm, and it weighs 1.3kg, overweight for a netbook.
The workhorse of the MSI U270 is an AMD E-350 CPU, backed by the 2GB DDR3 RAM, and a 320GB hard drive.
The 1366 x 768 resolution screen bears an anti-glare coating to make outdoor use tolerable, and for anyone with an especial dislike of scrolling around the web a 1024 x 600 pixel reolution display can be yours for $30 less, though for us it represents false economy – very few web pages these days seem to be single screen. At the higher resolution photos are sharp, and browsing feels less cramped. Colors are nice and bright, too.
The island-style keyboard is well-spaced, helping avoid typos and its sturdy enough that you can really pound out documents or emails. You might need a day or two to get accustomed to the diminutive ‘Enter’ key. The trackpad, and its click buttons, are also slightly small, but not insurmountably so.
The MSI U270 is well supplied with ports, there are VGA and HDMI outputs, two USB-2s and one USB-3 socket, an SD-card reader and head and mic jacks. Above the display there is an HD 720p 30fps webcam.
The U270 runs Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.
For a netbook the MSI U270 performed well in benchmarks, and in moderate multitasking tests lags were rare. However, the U270 struggles with HD video, to the extent that it was unwatchable. Needless to say, gaming is out of the question.
Battery life was equally iffy, flat out the MSI U270 lasted for just 2 hours and 17 minutes, though moderate use took that past three and a half hours. The bottom line is priority – the mild performance boost for users would excuse the shorter battery life in comparison with other netbooks in its price range.
In our humble opinion, a better hi-res display and a more handsome netbook overall can be found with the Dell Mini 1012, or for a few bucks more, push the boat out and get your hands on the Toshiba NB550D.
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