With netbooks becoming cheap and disposable enough it was inevitable
the big supermarket chains would start selling them. Coles began advertising a netbook a few weeks ago, and now, Big W has joined the fray with an MSI Wind U100
netbook for $368. This is one of the best priced entry-level netbook deals yet, particularly since this U100 comes with Windows 7 Starter, which is
rarely found in netbooks in this ultra-affordable price bracket. The
MSI Wind U100 is classic, one of the most popular netbooks when
the netbook revolution started a couple of years ago but now finding itself
at the bottom of MSI's range of newer and fancier Wind netbooks.
processor is updated from the original 1.6GHz Atom N270 processor to a
faster 1.66GHz Atom. Big W's advertising is not clear what processor's actually in the netbook.
Maybe, as a supermarket chain, Big W assumes it's selling the machine
to people who don't care about processors, CPUs and other computer gobbledygook, but the missing information is important. There are two Intel Atom processors with
a speed of 1.66GHz: the first, the N280, was the successor to the N270, but itself has been superseded by the N450. There is not much
difference in terms of performance between the N280 and N450, but a huge one in terms of battery
life. The N450 is far more efficient and will make your battery last
So which one is it? We tried to find out, ringing some Big W stores and asking sales staff. One, at the Blacktown, Sydney store, said she had no idea, as "we only know what's in the ads," and another at the Rockdale store asked twice "netbook? Is that a book?", before we gave up, not wanting to spend all of Sunday speaking to staff who did not have the information. We'll try again on Monday.
Given the price and the fact that retailers usually don't tell you when it's the lower spec product, it will almost certainly an N280.
Regardless, $368 is a great price for an MSI Wind U100 with Windows 7 Starter, the usual 1GB of RAM, 160 GB hard disk, and built-in webcam.
The deal is available until March 10 or until stocks last.