We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Laptops Reviews
15,669 Reviews

MSI Wind12 U230 review

Price TBC

Manufacturer: MSI

Our Rating: We rate this 3 out of 5

The MSI Wind 12 U230 netbook offers a roomy screen in a portable package, with strong performance but fleeting battery life.

The MSI Wind 12 U230 netbook offers a roomy screen in a portable package, with strong performance but fleeting battery life.

The MSI Wind 12 U230 offers the performance of an ultraportable laptop in the chassis of a netbook. But poor battery life turns a strong contender into a lame duck.

Weighing 1.3kg and equipped with a 12.1in screen, MSI's Wind12 U230 is large for a netbook. It runs on a 1.6GHz Athlon Neo X2 dual core processor, carries 2GB of RAM, has a spacious 320GB hard drive and uses Windows 7 Home Premium. It recorded 56 points in our WorldBench 6 test suite, which is much superior to the spate of scores in the mid-30s we're used to seeing netbooks earn. Still, it isn't in the same league with ultraportables in performance.

The MSI Wind 12 U230 delivers aesthetically, too. Its simple, glossy black shell gives an understated elegance - but also serves as a fingerprint magnet. The netbook has a glossy 12.1in screen with an HD-friendly resolution of 1366x768, although its display quality is a mixed bag.

Viewing angles are fine and the MSI Wind 12 U230's display is glare-free under typical fluorescent lighting, but outdoor viewing is not an option. Although colours sometimes looked muted, reproduction on the whole was good. We noticed a fair amount of motion blurring during video playback, and streaming performance was lackluster - but par for the course for a netbook.

Audio performance was middling, too, with tinny media playback. The MSI Wind 12 U230 netbook does get suitably loud, but its sound quality dips from satisfactory to jarring at higher decibels. The performance of the 1.3Mp webcam is also less than stellar; test video footage we shot looked rather grainy.

One benefit of being at the larger end of the netbook spectrum is having room for a comfortable keyboard. The MSI Wind12 U230's keys are wide and spacious, with very little travel time on button presses, which makes for mistake-free typing. Though it lacks specific media keys, the netbook provides generic volume control and accessory toggling via Fn-key combinations.

The touchpad, however, although smooth and suitably responsive, was disappointing. Its small, stiff buttons are set flush with the chassis, and we often mashed a finger against the netbook's frame while trying to mouse about. The MSI Wind 12 U230 netbook's touchpad also lacks scrollbar functionality - and relying on a web page's scrollbar or the arrow keys for navigation can be maddening at lower resolutions.

The MSI Wind 12 U230 netbook's connectivity options are solid but unspectacular: an HDMI port, three USB ports, a four-in-one card reader, a gigabit ethernet port and a legacy VGA port. You also get Bluetooth, and 802.11b/g/n wireless.

The headphone and microphone jacks appear on the right side of the MSI Wind 12 U230 netbook, out of the way of peripherals and cables that might be dangling in the area. An integrated 3G modem is an option, and the (modemless) model we reviewed included a vestigial Fn key.

The MSI Wind 12 U230 netbook's documentation consists of the standard complement of driver and OS discs, along with a comprehensive quick-start guide. The software bundle consists primarily of webcam companion apps, whose utility will undoubtedly vary from user to user. Of interest to parents is Kido'z, a walled-garden browser that offers heavy parental controls and monitoring, plus access to kid-friendly sites. Some of the more comprehensive tools are locked in a subscription package.

More netbook reviews

Laptop Advisor

Free laptop deals


PC World

MSI Wind12 U230 Expert Verdict »

1.6GHz AMD Athlon Neo X2 processor
Windows 7 Home Premium
up to 4GB DDR2 RAM
up to 320GB SATA
3 x USB 2.0
802.11b/g/n
ethernet
Bluetooth
12.1in (1366x768) LED-backlit LCD screen
ATI Radeon HD3200 graphics
four-in-one card reader
1.3Mp webcam
HDMI
VGA
three/six-cell battery
297x190x24-31mm
1.3kg (with three-cell battery)
WorldBench 6 score: 56
  • Overall: We give this item 6 of 10 overall

The MSI Wind 12 U230 netbook has a lot to like, but its battery life - 3hrs, 48 mins in our tests - is a dealbreaker. The average battery life for netbooks is about 7hrs. It's unfortunate, considering the Wind12 U230's strong general performance and portable design. But being mobile means not being tethered to a power outlet; and in the configuration we tested, the Wind12 U230 lacked staying power.

  • MSI Wind U160 review

    MSI Wind U160

    The recently launched MSI Wind U160 10-inch netbook is by far the most good looking MSI Wind netbook we've come across to date.

  • MSI Wind U135 review

    MSI Wind U135

    The 10in MSI Wind U135 heralds the company's first mainstream netbook offering based on Intel's new Pine Trail Atom chips, which are supposed to be more power-efficient than the older Atom processors.

  • MSI Wind U115 review

    MSI Wind U115

    While the MSI Wind U115 may not look special at first glance, this is not a typical netbook.

  • MSI Wind U210-075UK review

    MSI Wind U210-075UK

    MSI has kept the ‘Wind’ moniker for its new U210-075UK netbook but, besides the familiar curvy body, almost everything has changed.

  • MSI Wind Millions Special Edition U135 review

    MSI Wind Millions Special Edition U135

    The MSI Wind Millions Special Edition U135 is a sleek and comfortable MSI netbook that commemorates worldwide sales of more than 1 million MSI Wind laptops.


IDG UK Sites

Nexus 6 vs Sony Xperia Z3 comparison: Lollipop phablet takes on KitKat flagship smartphone

IDG UK Sites

Why people aren't upgrading to iOS 8: new features are for power users, not the average Joe

IDG UK Sites

Free rocket & space sounds: NASA launches archive of interstellar audio on SoundCloud

IDG UK Sites

iPad Air 2 review: Insanely fast and alarmingly thin. Speed tests, camera tests, beautiful...