MSI Launches A Light Version Of The Wind U230

MSI [LON:MSI] seems to be heading for a new niche in the netbook category. They have launched a new light version of the Wind U230 netbook. It has more or less the same specs that the original U230 has but with some crucial differences. The main difference is the display, which at 11.6″ is smaller than the original 12.1″ display. This causes the entire package to shrink a bit, making it more compact and supposedly light.

The internals stay more or less the same. It is still an AMD MV-40 Neo powered machine with 1.6GHz of processing power. The whole AMD chipset contains an integrated ATI Radeon HD 3200 graphics chip, enabling it to decode HD video and also afford an HDMI output. Given the better than average graphics performance, the battery life is going to take a hit.

The U230 Light, despite being smaller, is actually better equipped when it comes to the other options. Unlike the original U230 which comes with Windows 7 Starter Edition, it comes pre-installed with the more expensive Windows 7 Home Premium Edition. This model is available only in two colors — Black or Gray.

Since MSI has chosen to go with AMD, they get to install more RAM and hence this model comes with 2GB of RAM and a 250 HDD storage option. For connectivity it has a WiFi-n module to offer, which ensures a high-speed WiFi connection wherever it is available. Sadly though, there seems to be no option for Bluetooth.

As for ports, other than the HDMI mentioned earlier it has a card reader, 3 USB ports, 1 VGA out and the usual audio in and out ports. The 6-cell battery is good for only 4 hours, which is the trade off that you have to make for the better graphics performance. The US price is $400, keeping it above the average netbook pricing and clearly pointing at the fact that MSI is indeed gunning for a bridge market.

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Gateway LT32 Tries To Be The Perfect 11″ Bridge Model

Gateway has been launching decent portables in recent times and like any self-respecting computer manufacturer, the company is trying to find its own space in the market. And so we have a very interesting 11inch model from Gateway that was only just launched. This is the LT32. It has a near HD display of 1366X768 and it actually has the graphics muscle to render this resolution, unlike the multitude of other Intel Atom based models that we have seen from the others.

And that is where the difference lies actually. The LT32 is powered by an AMD Athlon II Neo processor — the main main Atom rival from Intel’s main rival. Even though the Neo was born out of a need to compete and hasn’t really covered much ground, it has been gaining more following recently with manufacturers looking to build netbooks that do not look like the models that are already out there.

The Neo processor comes with an ATI Radeon HD 4225 graphics processor onboard giving the LT32 the capability to run 1080p HD videos smoothly and at its own resolution. Now that is saying something for an 11″ netbook powered by something that attempts to compete with Intel’s Atom. The LT32 can also smoothly render the Aero interface elements on Windows 7 (Home Premium).

To be fair to the Atom-based netbooks, the LT32 is actually packing quite a bit of extra memory than the Atom average. At 2GB, the Gateway model has double the memory of the average Atom netbook. However, all of this does not work well for the battery life and hence it has a relatively short battery life of 5.5 hours.

Gateway is pricing this at $450 and you get Microsoft Work bundled free with that in order to get some light work done without spending extra. The LT32 is expected to be in stores soon.

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