MSI U115 Hybrid Netbook to Launch in US This Feb.

Micro-Star International (MSI) plans to start selling its U115 hybrid netbook in the U.S. for less than US$700 starting in February, company representatives said Sunday.

The U115 is special among netbooks for its hybrid storage system and extra-long battery life.

The storage system includes both a hard disk drive (HDD) and solid state drive (SSD). SSDs have gained popularity because they use less power, handle software faster and are more durable because they do not have moving parts that may break. But they are much more expensive than HDDs, so they aren't used as often in netbooks and laptops.

The U115 will hold up to a 160GB HDD alongside either an 8GB SSD or 16GB SSD.

The netbook has been designed to run for longer than most netbooks before requiring a recharge, important because netbooks are aimed at people who want to surf the Internet wirelessly, while on the go.

The devices will come with several choices of battery size, including 6-cell batteries that MSI says give them 12-hours of power and 9-cell batteries offering 20 hours of power. Battery life tends to vary among machines and the way they are used, so the U115 will have to face testing by third party reviewers before the power claims can be verified.

The U115 comes with a 10-inch screen and a Z530 Intel Atom microprocessor, as well as either Windows XP or Windows Vista Basic.

The choice of components on the U115 will determine the price, with a very basic version costing as low as half the price of the top end model, according to MSI.

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