msi-x320

MSI launched the MSI X320 last night. It looks an awful lot like a MacBook Air. It has a 13.4  inch, 1366 x 768 display and it’s super thin and light, measuring less than an inch thick, and weighing about 2.9 pounds. But unlike the MacBook Air, the MSI X320 runs on an Intel Atom Z520 CPU which means two things: It won’t exactly be a speed demon, and it’ll be a lot cheaper than the Air.

How much cheaper? Laptop Magazine reports that the X320 will retail for between $700 and $900.

Now, normally I would say that this machine falls outside of Liliputing’s scope. I’ve always been interested in small, cheap laptops. And with a starting price of $700, the X320 isn’t exactly an impulse buy.

But I came to an interesting conclusion when talking to an AMD rep about several new HP machines built around the new AMD Yukon platform. (More on that later). What really made netbooks special is that in 2007 Asus built the first consumer oriented ultraportable laptop that didn’t cost more than a full sized laptop just because it was smaller. It used to be that if you wanted an ultraportable machine you would have to pay top dollar for it. And now thanks to Asus, Acer, HP, Dell, Lenovo, MSI, and a whole bunch of other companies (including the OLPC Foundation), that’s not the case anymore. You can buy a 7 to 10 inch laptop that provides decent if not spectacular performance for around $400, sometimes less.

Now here’s the thing. That still leaves a fairly large gap in the market for light weight computers. You can pay around $400 for a netbook. Or anywhere from $400 to $1200 or so for a full sized laptop that probably weighs 5 or 6 pounds or more. Or you can pay $1500 for a 3 pound notebook with a larger, higher resolution display and better graphics and processing power, not to mention an optical disc drive.

The MSI X320 helps fill a new niche: Sub-$1000 light weight, full sized computers. Sure, $700 is still a hefty chunk of money for some people. But if you care more about light weight than small size, I can see some folks paying extra for a larger display and a full sized keyboard.

You can find more information about the MSI X320 including more hands-0n photos and a video at the Laptop Magazine blog. And I’ll have some more information about the HP Yukon-based laptops this afternoon. Those machines should start hitting the streets in March, and I’m going to see if I can snag a review unit before then.

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8 replies on “MSI X320 looks like a MacBook Air, functions like a netbook”

  1. I totally agree with what you said about filling a new niche! Thats exactly what I was thinking some time ago! Good to know there are more people thinking like me 🙂

  2. I have one of these
    I was almost going to throw it out the window
    on vista net work dropped out wend slow as mud was a heap of sh!t
    just upgraded to windows 7 & it works awsome
    goes fast network problems over
    if you are looking to get one get the windows 7 upgrade when you buy it

  3. Yep, better be less than $500 or forget it. I still don’t understand the market for these bloated netbooks though. (I have a Mini 9 that my work provided, it’s a chore to use for pretty much anything). Makes my 13″ Macbook seem gi-normous.

    1. what sort of sweatshopdo u work for that ur cheapo boss provided u wit a 9″ netbook for work instead of a real laptop?

  4. Apple is selling refurb Macbook Airs for $999.99 right now. This knockoff needs to be substantially cheaper than that for it to succeed, imo.

    1. So you get to buy one that someone else threw away, and it still costs more, and has fewer ports, than this MSI notebook. Plus, there’s the simple fact that this isn’t going to take away customers from Apple, and Apple isn’t going to take customers from MSI. People have more or less all made their decision. Either they’re OSX people, Windows people, Linux people, or god forbid BEOS people. Regardless, Windows users, even with boot camp, aren’t going to buy the Air. Though I have seen a lot of MSI Winds turned into hackintoshes. That might happen with this one, too.

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