Cheap or not? MSI Wind U100 Vs HP Compaq 2510p

I like to follow mobile devices. Not that I am buying them but it’s great show unlike established desktop market. They can be very different in functions and prices. Both functions and prices change fast as well.

I had recently played with two ultra-mobile notebooks in a row. They were so alike and different in same time that just asked for comparison.

MSI Wind U100

Wind is one of the emerging netbooks class. It is relatively cheap, uses hardware designed especially for this segment and is extremely small and light. Comes in two models with different screen sizes. U100 has 10″ screen.

msi_wind_u100

HP Compaq 2510p

This one is traditional notebook tweaked for reducing size and dimensions. Comes in numerous variations based on the same chassis. See below for specs of model I played with.

hp_compaq_2510p

Specs time

MSI Wind U100 HP Compaq 2510p
CPU Atom N270 1.6GHz Core2Duo U7700 1.33GHz
Chipset 945GSE GM965
RAM 1Gb 2Gb
HDD 80Gb 120Gb
ODD None DVD+/-RW Double Layer
Video 945 IGP X3100 IGP
Display 10” 1024×600 12” 1280×800
Webcam 1.3M None
Ports 3xUSB, 1xLAN, 1xVGA 2xUSB, 1xFireWire, 1xLAN, 1xVGA, 1xDock, 1xModem
Wireless WiFi, Bluetooth WiFi, Bluetooth
Dimensions 260x180x19-31 mm 282x212x24 mm
Weight 1 Kg 1.29 Kg
OS Windows XP Home Windows Vista Business, Windows XP Pro downgrade
Price ~$600 ~$1800

Translation for non-number-geeks

Wind is three times cheaper for comparable size and slightly smaller screen. But in performance Compaq eats it alive and comes with optical drive on top.

I had forgot to note which battery Compaq had but it had worked almost twice longer than Wind (in power-hungry mode).

Personal opinion

If you draw a line where notebook is small enough but still usable Wind is going to be below and Compaq above.

10 inch screen (biggest netbooks can get) is still tiny. Compaq with screen adding only 2 inches and 200 pixel to width and height in the end provides way better experience.

Wind keyboard is considered one of the better among netbooks. Still not comfortable enough to instantly adjust like Compaq’s was for me.

I totally expected Wind to be excellent deal. Surprisingly it isn’t. Wind is second computer at best (third at worst). It simply doesn’t provide more than some browsing on the go. I can’t imagine using it as main PC. Strangely it’s not an cheap impulse purchase either – there are cheaper netbooks (or decent budget notebooks with same price tag).

Compaq is clearly far from fastest notebook. You can get ones packing more hardware for same money (more bulky thou). But it gets work done and is simply awesome for its dimensions and weight. Even Vista was bearable after some performance tweaks. If it was mine I’d just downgrade to XP from the start and get even better performance.

So what do you think?

Are you looking for cheapest possible as long as it runs browser? Or won’t approve any that can’t provide desktop-like experience? Tell me in the comments.

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9 Comments

  • i own a 2510p, and often wondered if a netbook would be enough.
    always came to a “no” by intuition, but your review was helpful.
    2510p is just too expensive, so i bought it 2nd hand for half the price.

  • @rejetto

    Yeah, I have an impression that second hand market for 2510p is quite common which is sign of good model. :)

    Netbooks are good concept but they ended up couple hundred bucks higher than initial expectations (Asus started all the hype with $200 expected price) and have performance issues on top – small screen and bad chipset in first generation mostly.

    Doesn’t look like prices coming down so they will brobably get better in performance and phase out part of budget notebook market, instead of being below them.

    Myself I had recently bought Dell Vostro 1310. Will review later after more usage time.

    Glad to see you at my blog btw, hope you find it worthwhile. :)

  • I’ve used a ASUS 1000H and a HP 2510P. I jumped on the netbook bandwagon, briefly, to discover the 1000H was a cramped experience.. the screen resolution, keyboard and trackpad buttons were hard and overall feel was quite plasticy. Was this a toy? I had high expectations and unfortunately was overall disappointed. The “up to 7 hours battery life” ended up being more like 4.5, 5 at best and less with Linux, which was great because I had reason to return it and get my money back on grounds of false advertising.

    The 2510P is a much better user experience and in my location sells for not much more than a netbook. Seems the reviews of the slow harddisk taken a big bite out of it’s resale. I discovered this to be true. Slow harddisk was a pain. So, together with other 2510P users we figured multiple ways around it and documented it for other 2510P users to benefit from here: http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=352887 .

    With a low buy in price for a 2510P it becomes quite a user configurable unit. A bargain in my opinion.

  • @nando

    Thanks for extensive comment! I tend to hear a lot about failed expectations about netbooks. They are nice but slightly overhyped as “small but can do anything”.

    At first I estimated that 2nd generation of notebook will be much more refined but it seems it will take even longer than that to move to new chipsets and bigger screen sizes.

  • On the subject of netbooks, generally…

    My wife and I each have an Asus EEE PC HA1000. Our first EEE PC
    had a 7-inch screen which we found totally unworkable. So we both
    bought the HA1000 with 10-inch screens. This is the ~minimum~
    feasible monitor size for a netbook !

    Rationale behind netbooks being convenience and portability. Don’t
    expect full-size laptop results from a netbook, and you won’t be
    disappointed ! Yet, overall, we have been amazed at how adequate
    our 10-inch Asus netbooks are.

    Second thing: The 1.6-gHz Intel Atom processor is the practical
    minimum for comfortable computing. Any slower CPU will disappoint !
    ( Many of the newest netbooks come with a 1.4-gHz CPU. )

    Third thing: By definition, a “netbook” doesn’t have an integral
    optical [CD/DVD] drive. Anybody bothered by this should consider
    just how often they actually use that drive. Most people are going
    to realize that -unless they play a lot of games or watch a lot of
    movies- they don’t really use an optical drive all that often.

    We bought a nice Memorex external DVD reader/writer from Geeks.com
    for $30. Use it for our netbooks, but it’s also a nice back-up for
    our systems which have integral optical drives. Plus sometimes a
    second CD/DVD drive is expedient. An external optical drive ain’t
    exclusively a netbook investment when you have other computers.

    Fourth thing: Our two Asus netbooks each have a 160-gig hard drive.
    There’s no good reason to have less. And 160-gigs has proven quite
    adequate.

    SSD [Solid State Drives] are very nice. When prices come down, and
    capacity goes up (to at least 120-gigs at a $150 price point), we’ll
    likely convert to SSD. Right now, though, SSD specs and technology
    need to stabilize a little more.

    Fifth thing: First thing we did was increase the RAM on our Asus
    netbooks from 1-gig to 2-gigs. Even though they run Windows XP,
    two gigs RAM makes everything run better and faster. And, at about
    $30, this was cheap enough to be a no-brainer !

    Sixth thing: The smaller keyboards on netbooks is a REALLY BIG
    DEAL for many folks. I hunt-and-peck two finger type, so it
    could matter less to me. The wife touch-types, and she bought a
    rubber flexible roll-up keyboard. $22 at USBgeeks…

    http://www.usbgeek.com/prod_detail.php?prod_id=0370

    MY IDEAL NETBOOK:

    The perfect netbook would have…

    * An 11-inch screen. ( Who says that netbooks are limited to
    10.4-inch screens ? ) This retains the basic small form factor
    while optimizing monitor view-ability.

    * One of the new Intel Atom 1.6-gHz DUAL CORE processors. ( Intel
    ~hates~ netbooks, and refuses to release this CPU for use in them ! )

    * Windows 7 Home Premium. ( Microsoft says Win 7 Home Premium works
    in netbooks equally as well as Win 7 Basic. ) Preferably the 64-bit
    version. Then having 4-gigs RAM makes sense.

    Forget Linux. Too non-standard. Who wants to have to learn another
    operating system ?

    * 4-gigs of RAM. ( Only practical using 64-bit Windows. )

    * Three USB ports. ( Which Asus ~already~ has on their EEE PC’s. )

    * At least one eSATA port.

    * Matte black finish. ( Unlike the current Asus glossy black,
    which looks absolutely great …until you touch it ! )

    * 160-gig or bigger SSD (without jacking up retail cost of the
    notebook by a few hundred dollars !).

    Until then, a conventional 160-gig hard drive is perfectly
    satisfactory.

    The DataRat

    .

  • @DataRat

    I got over idea of buying netbook because prices never came down around here. They are still $400-500+ and less only for leftovers of really outdated models.

    With new lineups on CULV processors starting at $600 it just doesn’t seem like a good deal.

    For now I am fine with my Dell Vostro 1310, will see how it goes in few years.

  • to me, it’s unfair comparison because u’re comparing between a netbook (MSI) and a notebook (HP)… u should compare between same specs between different brands…

  • @be ready

    Comparing same specs makes little sense, they are same. :) As for me choosing notebook/netbook is much more about establishing what kind of performance you need and what is your budget for it, rather than choosing which manufacturer slapped more pretty colors on generic hardware.

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