MSI always had a can-do attitude with innovative PC or laptop systems. While not all its efforts have been successful, this time MSI has hit a crest of new technologies and it is in the right place at the right time with its Wind Top AE2220.
MSI's predecessor to the AE2220, the AE1900, had a good design and price point but it was bogged down by novelty touch support and Windows XP. The Intel Atom N230 processor and Intel 945GC chipset chugged along to no avail, and the 18.5in screen had a 16:9 aspect ratio but only ran to 1,366x768, lacking serious high-definition (HD) multimedia playback capability.
On paper, the Wind Top AE2220 excels. It's £150 more expensive than its predecessor but MSI has stretched that extra cash to breaking point, so we really can't tell where the profit margins are on this one. MSI has put an extra three inches of real estate on the screen, bumping the display up to 21.5in. The screen has also been given the full HD treatment with a 16:9 widescreen display and a 1,920x1080 resolution.
The PC sports a 640GB SATA2 hard drive and an Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 CPU running at 2.2GHz, and packs in Nvidia netbook ION graphics. In theory, it should be able to handle HD YouTube playback with ease. It also comes with two pretty good 5W 5.1-channel surround speakers and a HDMI port around the back that you can hook up to another PC or a widescreen display.
The model we tested lacked a Blu-ray optical drive but it did have a multi-format drive and you can buy the Blu-ray flavour for another £100. Finally, MSI has taken advantage of multi touch support in Windows 7 Home Premium and bundled its Wind Touch software with 'work', 'fun', 'tool' and 'web' tabs to navigate applications.
The ersatz Macbook livery doesn't do it for me, but the Wind Top AE2220 is a beautifully designed piece of kit. It's small and light enough to serve as a second PC around the home. It also comes with a VESA wall mount, so kudos to MSI for letting punters wall hang it straight out of the box.