By now anyone who has been reading this has seen pictures of my new toy, an MSI Wind Netbook. When I dropped into OfficeMax to look at their netbooks, the guy there told me he would never buy a netbook becuase there is no drive for CD’s. What if you want to take your Microsoft Office disk and install Word on your Netbook, he said. Then you would have to buy a removable disk drive (about a hundred bucks). Maybe so. But I thought the netbooks were sexy, and I wanted one.
I ordered it from Target, with an upgrade of a 6 cell battery and 2GB of memory. Target did send me an email notice that the package had been sent, but no tracking info like Newegg and Dell provide. Still, the package showed up after one or two days via UPS, uneventfully, in spite of my consternation.
The machine has a 10-inch screen and an internal hard drive, unlike many netbooks with 8 inch screens.
Here is how the netbook works with my other toys:
YouTube–no problem, plays videos just fine.
Microsoft Office 2007–installed on system with a trial offer. If you like it, you can buy it. Whether this resolves to Office 2003 if you don’t buy it (like my Toshiba that blew up) has yet to be seem.
Language support. Arabic–Huge problem. On every other system I have had, you can merely enable any language you want. This machine wanted Service Pack 3. The only upload I could find said it was only for advanced programmers. Finally I found a writeup that said you could just use it anyhow. So I downloaded the Service Pack #3 and then it wanted the installation disk. Great. Will I have to buy a $100 external disk just to enable Arabic on this system? This problem I will have to call support for–I do hope it is solvable.
Keyboard–everyone remarks on this for all the netbooks. I am always hitting keys I don’t want–caps lock above the left shift key, page up by the right shift key. And the quotation mark is really hard to use, the way it’s positioned in relation to the shift key. I’m always getting knocked out of some program or blog because of this.
It would be nice to have a user manual with this too.
Logitech Z5 USB speakers. The speakers that are in the machine are silly sounding little rinky dink things; the Logitech speakers sound great, but the volume is not very high. This might not work very well with a large class. I first just plugged in the speakers and nothing happened, but after closing and reopening the music program I was playing, got it to switch to the USB speakers. But when I was done playing the music, the program hung and I had to CTNL ALT DEL then kill the program manually. I have now downloaded the proper driver from Logitech–very easy–and we shall see if that helps. UPDATE: With the proper speaker drivers downloaded, the program does not hang or crash like it does with the generic speaker driver. I do love these Logitech speakers.
Canon digital camera. Canon is known for being very stingy with its camera software. So, what if you bought the camera but want to use it with your new netbook? The netbook does have a camera utility that does work, but not like the Canon zoombrowser. Unfortunately Canon only provides the updates on their website, not the zoombrowser itself–some proprietary issues? After much aggravation I was able to find another source for downloading the zoombrowser that worked all right. I never did get Photostitch to work, but I don’t know what I would ever use that for.
Laser Mouse–Microsoft mouse worked perfectly once the battery was fully charged.
External hard drives and USB flash drives. No problem.
All in all I’m pretty satisfied with the netbook–except for the problem with enabling Arabic. If you want a computer notebook that zooms, the Intel atom processor isn’t it. If you get the identical memory–2GB–with core 2 duo technology, THAT will zoom, with either VISTA or Windows XP. This netbook machine is just extremely portable and extremely cute.
UPDATE: This machine started acting up within the warranty period and was returned to the local Target store with no hassles. Its successor was an Asus Eee PC which have had for over a year now, the most reliable laptop I have ever had, and one that frequently gets thrown in my purse on my way out the door.