MSI Wind U130
When compared on looks, the Wind U130 gets a complete makeover with respect to the voguish high-end Wind U160. The 100 gram lighter U130 (with adapter) came to us with a minimalist white profile that vaunts a 250GB SATA HDD which is the maximum amongst the netbooks under the 20k price-tag and DDR II 1GB RAM.
The 10-inch VGA LED screen is a non-gloss, which is always the preferred one to have. The keyboard key placing works well and the large squarish touch-pad adds convenience for the scroll and is the best in its segment. The netbook comes with 3 USB 2.0 ports, a D-Sub VGA out, a 802.11b/g/n wireless LAN and the standard mic-in and headphone-out sockets.
Another point to be considered is that the competitively priced Wind U130 comes with a 2 year warranty from MSI as compared to the 1 year warranty from Dell and Simmtronics. The netbook is balanced in features and performance, scoring PC Marks 1407 and has a decent enough battery backup.
|Sub 20K SEGMENT|
Price Rs 16600
Verdict: Competitively priced with necessary features and good performance.
Dell Inspiron Mini
The intelligently designed dual colored Dell Inspiron Mini comes with a wedge shape design and an upper lid that rests smartly on the deck making the hinges almost unnoticeable. The posterior of the base neatly shapes the battery in (than the usual bulge) giving it a solid monolithic design. The otherwise standard privilege from Dell to customize its product comes as a welcome feature to the netbook segment with Inspiron Mini. The options available are on operating system (Windows XP SP3 or Windows 7 Starter) and the screen (10.1 inch WSVGA TrueLife or HD TruLife).
The netbook comes with the standard DELL marked glossy black (7 optional colors otherwise) upper lid cover incorporating an equally neat overall design inside. The black non-chiclet keypad has comparatively larger keys compromising the spacings in-between and makes typing a bit discomforting initially. The elongated rectangular touch-pad makes the cursor scroll a bit inconvenient. With the usual array of I/O ports, the Mini is high on performance but loses on some basic features like underside heat vents, touch-pad design and warranty.
Price Rs 16900
Verdict: A smartly designed performer at the given price.
WThe Simmbook comes with exceptions like the Intel Atom N270 which pales as compared to the newer Atom N450 and Ubuntu 9.10 OS that is available at no extra cost. Beyond doubt, the netbook pinches the least on your pocket and tries to make a good effort to provide the basic features and performance of a netbook. The Simmbook's glossiness extends from the lid to the deck making it more prone to fingerprints. The “matte finish” backlit LED VGA screen is an intelligent exception.
On the positive side, it is amongst the few netbooks that provides an easily upgradeable HDD panel at the rear besides the usual RAM panel. The keyboard is of good quality with minimal typing errors when it comes to key placing. However, the battery backup is average.
Price: Rs 13,999
On the negative side, the netbook loses on the creaking hinges and the right- left click buttons placed at the extremes of the elongated rectangular touch-pad. The worst is that the netbook heats up making it uncomfortable to “lap-place”.
Verdict: A decent performer at the least price with some negatives on features.
MSI Wind U160
As you press the blue-illuminated power button, side-profiled on the cylindrical hinge of the U160, MSI vivid white logo lights up the radiant golden scratch resistant lid to add to the external aesthetics, while the sleek “pricey” netbook boots up the Windows 7 Starter Edition to make you experience the sharp 10 wide-screen backlit VGA LED display. The chiclet keypad was comfortable to work on, as compared to its U130 variant, but the otherwise attractive looking seamless rugged tactile touch-pad was disappointingly unresponsive. Also, the glossy screen made it highly reflective and finger print sensitive. However, the 2 channel stereo speakers besides being placed beneath the netbook were loud on sound reproduction. Further exploration revealed a single DIMM 1GB RAM slot, making it possible to upgrade with a single piece of RAM. For security, the netbook comes bundled with Easy Face Manager, a face identification login software.
Price Rs 24300
The MSI U160 comes as an undisputed winner by conquering the domains of performance (PC Mark Score: 1569), battery back-up (over 6 hours) and average power consumption (approx. 29W).
Verdict: A true performer which is also stylish.
The Samsung N210 comes as a strong contender in the 20k+ netbook segment, being equipoised on performance, features and price. The glossy exterior of the lid bezels inside a matte finished 10.1 inch LED backlit screen and opens to a chiclet keypad which merges neatly with the black base and touch-pad with just a bit of silver chrome that runs stylishly, contouring most of the netbook's interior perimeter.
Powered by an Intel Atom, the typical netbook processor, clocking at 1.66GHz, the book comes with 160 GB HDD which is the least in the segment. The speakers placed upfront above the keypad give the best sound quality and the web-cam gave sharp and natural colors though blurring-in-motion exists negligibly.
There are two striking features in N210. One, HyperSpace "Instant On" OS, which opens a customizable dashboard making you on-line and providing multimedia and notepad utilities. Two, “Easy SpeedUp Manager” that instantly facilitates you to switch to silent (high battery backup,least performance), normal and speed (high performance, least battery backup) mode.
Price Rs 20952
Verdict: A feature rich performer that comes at a decent cost.
Acer Gateway LT2107
The LT2107 opens a fresh configuration gateway to netbooks with 2 GB RAM, leaving behind the rest in the shootout in this respect, though the Intel Atom processor remains standard. The power-on and Wi-Fi buttons neatly fit-in near the hinges. The viewing angles of the 10.1 LED back-lit screen, incorporated in the cherry glossy exterior lid, are at par with competition.
A unique feature comes in the form of a responsive multi-gesture touch-pad that has a side-scroll but the netbook lacks a chiclet keypad. Another negative comes in the form of placement of heat circulation vents when compared to the side profiled vents in most of the netbooks which might be a concern while it on the lap. The high definition audio speakers also give an average sound reproduction.
The other major letdown is the approx 4 hour battery back-up which is a good 2 hours down from the benchmarks of its segment rivals. Overall, it does offer a good package at the price, but faces stiff competition from the Samsung N210.
Verdict: The notebook is well-balanced on both price and performance.