Although I act and talk at times seemingly to the contrary, I know deep down there’s no such thing as ‘perfect’ on this world we inhabit. My Macbook’s pretty great though, so I have high expectations when it comes to finding something suitable in the recently defined ‘Netbook‘ category. :-p
First of all, like many, I was enchanted by the Asus Eee 701/4G. It’s extremely small form factor and amazing portability blew me away. After a few weeks, however, the 7-inch screen started to feel a little small; I was having to constantly scroll sideways on most websites. So I sold it, in anticipation of Intel Atom-powered devices on the horizon. Originally, I was holding out for the Asus Eee 901, but that looks like it won’t be here for a while and will cost too much. Then I saw the MSI Wind. Perfect! I thought. But again, slightly too expensive (£330) and not out yet.
Enter the Advent 4211. Available NOW in the UK from PC World. It’s basically a re-branded MSI Wind with the 3-cell rather than the 6-cell battery. The deal clincher for me was the price: £279.99 – only £30 more than my Eee (once I’d added extra storage, RAM, etc.)
It’s not white and sexy, but it’s not unattractive in black and silver. It comes with a 1.6Ghz Atom processor, 1GB RAM, Bluetooth, 802.11g wi-fi and a rather nice 10-inch screen. Much as the Macbook’s glossy screen looks amazing, it’s not much use when sitting outside. The Advent 4211’s screen doesn’t suffer from that problem, thankfully – seeing as I shall be using it in the garden quite a lot in the summer!
My next issue was Windows XP. Whilst it’s (marginally) better than Vista, I don’t like it at all. Using an external DVD-writer, I tried installing Ubuntu Linux on it – but no dice. I couldn’t even get to the installation screen! Then, after reading some articles on the Internet, I tried installing Mac OSX on it. Eventually, I succeeded! However, it kept going on an endless configuration loop and I then read that the wi-fi card in the Advent 4211 isn’t supported.
As OpenSUSE shall be an option on the MSI Wind, I thought I’d try that next. However, I had issues downloading the .iso file from the website via my school’s connection. Somewhat in desperation, therefore, (and still on mobile broadband, remember) I bought PC Plus magazine as they had the latest version of Fedora Core (v9) on the cover DVD-ROM.
Although there were a few error messages whilst installing, and a rather scary-looking kernel error upon first boot, everything’s running fine now. It’s really a rather wonderful operating system – mobile broadband was trivial to set up, and it actually recognises a Netbook 10-inch screen as one of the options within the display settings! Once I’d done a system update the kernel error message went away and the suspend and hibernate functionality started working properly. I still haven’t got wi-fi working yet, but I should imagine that’s just a matter of time.
All in all, as I said to @iusher when he called me for some advice yesterday, I’d recommend the Advent 4211. It’s only slightly bigger in form factor than the Asus Eee (see pic), yet has a decent size screen and packs a punch processor-wise!
Please feel free to ask me any questions about the Advent 4211/MSI Wind. I always make sure that I research things thoroughly before purchase and am more than happy to help others do the same.