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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

MSI's MacBook Air Killer to Cost just $700

photo of MSI X320

LAS VEGAS -- MSI, a company best known for its critically-acclaimed line of netbooks, is showing a thin-and-light notebook here at CES 2009 that goes head to head with Apple's MacBook Air.

The MSI X-Slim Series X320 borrows unabashedly from the Air's design. It's extremely thin, with a maximum thickness of just 3/4 of an inch (1.98cm) and winglike profile that tapers down to a knifelike edge along the front. It weighs just 2.9 pounds (1.3kg) and has a 13-inch widescreen (16:9 aspect ratio) display, plus an extra-large touchpad. In short, it's an Air clone.

But the X320 will cost far less than the Air's $1,800 starting price: It will cost between $700 and $1,000, depending on options, when it goes on sale this spring, an MSI representative told

Naturally, such cost cutting doesn't come without compromises. The X320 has an attractive but chintzy-looking plastic housing. It was decidedly difficult to open (long fingernails might help in prying the clamlike halves of the shell apart). And instead of OS X, the X320 is running Windows Vista.

But beggars can't be choosers. If you want an ultralight computer and don't want to go with the dinky keyboards and tiny screens of the netbooks, the X320 looks like it will be an inexpensive alternative to the Air.



Photos: Jonathan Snyder /