MSI Wind U160 With 15 Hour Battery Life Pre-Order Begins

One of the newest netbooks from MSI, the Wind U160, is now appearing on an Amazon (s amzn) pre-order page. Hector Gomez, one of our eagle-eyed readers, spotted the page along with the $379.99 price tag. Amazon isn’t sharing the release date just yet, but I figure it should be within the next few weeks. After all, this device was spotted at the Consumer Electronics Show last month and uses what I’d consider common bits of hardware for netbooks of today.

The 1.66 GHz Intel (s intc) Atom N450 powers Microsoft Windows 7 Starter Edition (s msft) running on 1 GB of RAM. MSI says the U160 offers one memory slot — again, a common theme among netbooks — and supports a single 2 GB memory module. These days, that RAM stick shouldn’t cost much more than $40 or $50. MSI tucked in a 250 GB hard drive and support for 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi for better range and faster wireless transfers. A fairly standard 1.3 megapixel webcam, Bluetooth and memory card reader are also included and the 10″ display offers 1024 x 600 resolution. Pity that didn’t get bumped to 1366 x 768, but then again, the price would likely crest the $400 mark. The 15-hour battery life claim comes from the standard 6-cell battery, which sounds aggressive to me. A real-world usage scenario is likely to nab at least 11 or 12 hours, though, and that likely eliminates the need for a second battery or toting the AC adapter.

The U160 product page does show a few new nice changes over prior models like my old U100 netbook. The U160 goes with a chiclet keyboard and a seamless trackpad — I’m not a fan of the latter, but some might be. I also noticed a wireless on / off switch on the side of the device. Often, this function is relegated to a keyboard combination. I actually prefer the switch because you can instantly see if the radio is active. Anyone up for pre-ordering or is there another netbook that has your eye these days?

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