Windows 8 MSI Slidebook S20 Ultrabook Review (Part 3)

7/2/2013 9:30:46 AM

Software and warranty

The good news is its undesired pre-installed softwares are not much. Everything we found on our test system is Evernote, Fresh Paint, Music Maker Jam, PuzzleTouch, CookBook and a free trial version of Norton Internet Security. There's also Skype, but it is not considered as a bloatware, seeing as how Microsoft owns Skype now, and it is a useful application, which is widely used. If not a gamer, you might not appreciate the pre-loaded Xbox Live games but fortunately, they're few in number: only Adera, Microsoft Mahjong, Pinball FX2, Taptiles and Microsoft Solitaire Collection. About warranty, Slidebook S20 comes with 1 year warranty, making it on par with nearly every other consumer laptops we've tested.

The good news is its undesirable pre-installed softwares are not much

The good news is its undesired pre-installed softwares are not much

Configuration options and competitors

At least in the U.S., you will find only one configuration is sold: $1,200 model that we have tested with Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD. That means you should best be prepared to do without the Core i7 or a bigger 256GB drive if you're going to go all-in.

After all our complaints, if you still think a slider is the way to go, we would like to walk you through some of the better choices. Starting with Sony, Vaio Duo 11 that also lacks the touchpad, but at least there are 2 small touch buttons and 1 optical tracking stick wedged into the middle of the keyboard. Battery life is also longer, with approximately 5 hours. The bad news? The $1,200 model starts with lesser specs - Core i3 processor and 4GB of RAM - but at least you have the option to upgrade to Core i7 and a 256GB drive.  Meanwhile, Satellite U925t starts at a more reasonable price of $1,050 with Core i5 processor and 4GB of RAM, but the screen resolution is fixed at 1,366x768, and you cannot configure it with better specifications.

Sony Vaio Duo 11

Sony Vaio Duo 11

But honestly, you would be better with a different form factor. Our current favorite computers are the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13, whose screen folds all the way backward like a book, and the Dell XPS 12, a laptop whose display pop out of the screen hinge allows you to flip it over into tablet mode. Both provide comfortable keyboards with comparable performance and battery life; the Yoga is probably the more versatile of the two, though the Dell XPS 12 benefits from a sharper 1,080p display (the Yoga 13 is 1,600 x 900 only).

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13

Dell XPS 12

Dell XPS 12

And who knows what other convertible computers that we will see in the coming months, especially when Intel started selling Haswell chip? We are eagerly waiting Lenovo ThinkPad Helix, a 11 inch tablet/laptop hybrid with keyboard dock that lets you insert the tablet with the screen facing either forward or backward (great for presentations). However, it was delayed until at least next month. And not to mention all the Ultrabooks we do not know. So, maybe it's worth the wait - a good advice regardless of whether you want to buy a laptop from MSI or any other manufacturers.


No. We still do not like the slider form factor. As we have said, the Ultrabook with this design is not perfect, with the propped-up display usually ruining the typing experience.  The same is true with Slidebook S20, although the build quality was so bad that we almost insult MSI for daring to get $ 1,200 for this thing. It's hard to recommend a laptop with high-end, Ultrabook-grade specs when it does not even have mouse or touchpad to navigate the desktop application in 1080p.

If nothing else (and there really are not many good things to say), we appreciate that the battery life is longer than on some other 11-inch PCs with similar specs. Moreover, MSI has found a way to create a slider with an adjustable display, which other OEMs should take note of - if they decide to produce any other system with this form factor. However, we really recommend you buy another slider or, better yet, an Ultrabook with completely different designs.

MSI Slidebook S20


·         Price: $1,200


·         The screen can be adjusted - a rare thing on the sliders

·         Sound is pretty good

·         A good selection of ports


·         Poor build quality

·         Flimsy, cramped keyboard

·         No touchpad or mouse

·         There are no configuration options


·         MSI chose the wrong form factor for its flagship Windows 8 Ultrabook: S20 has uncomfortable keyboard, poor build quality and inconvenient design without pointing device.

MSI Slidebook S20’s specifications

·         Operating system: Windows 8

·         Screen Size: 11.6 Full HD 

·         Screen Resolution : (1,920x1,080) LED backlight, IPS LCD Display

·         Dimensions: 302.6mm(W) x 196.1mm(D) x 19.8mm(H)

·         Battery: 3 Cell (4:34 H)

·         Weight: 1.16kg with mSATA SSD

·         Graphics : Intel® HD Graphics , share with system memory

·         Hard Drive: mSATA slot: for SSD (Half-size), SATA slot: optional for 7mm HDD/SSD

·         RAM memory: DDR3 1,066/1,333/1,600MHz, DIMM x 1slot (Max: 8GB)

·         Audio : THX

·         Ports : 2 USB 3.0, 1 Mini HDMI, 1 Mic-in/Headphone-Out, 1 LAN

·         Hardware: HD Webcam (30fps@720p), Card Reader  2 in 1 (SD/MMC)

·         Wireless LAN: 802.11 b/g/n

·         Bluetooth: Bluetooth v4.0



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