MSI S20 Ultrabook Convertible Hands-on, Latest Info on U.S. Release Date

Posted on 06 March 2013 by

The MSI S20 is a remarkably elusive device. Chippy tracked it down for a hands-on at CeBIT 2013 this week. We first learned about this appealing looking Ultrabook convertible 9 months ago — back in June 2012. We knew we’d be waiting until at least the launch of Windows 8 in October of 2012 before the official release date, but here we are several months after that and the MSI S20 still isn’t widely available.

The MSI S20 looks quite nice and, as Chippy notes, the 11.6-inch screen and 1.16kg weight of the unit makes it a bit more portable than other Ultrabook convertibles. However, the complete lack of mouse could be a fatal flaw. In the past we’ve been happy to put up with mouse-nubs or even optical mice in place of a proper trackpad, but MSI is expecting users to exclusively use the touchscreen for input which would have been a suitable choice for a device running Windows RT, but is less appropriate for a full blown Ultrabook.

Of course you can always hook up a USB or Bluetooth mouse, but that’s one more thing you have to have to remember.

MSI S20 U.S. Release Date

Best we can tell, the MSI S20 is currently available in limited markets in Europe for around €999.

MSI had previously announced that the unit would have a release date of the end of January in the U.S, but we’re more than a month beyond that date and the MSI S20 still can’t be bought in the U.S. The latest we’ve heard from MSI is that they expect it to be available by the end of Q1 (end of March), so they’ve got less than a month to go.

The unit has popped up at ExcaliberPC for $1099 but is currently listed as not in stock.

We imagine there are people who would be happy to buy the MSI S20 with its 11.6-inch IPS 1920×1080 display and convertible form factor for that price — MSI just needs to make it available!

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  • Jim

    Never was a fan of white and shiny plastic but, as mentioned, the main issue I find with this is the lack of a mouse pointer especially without an active pen. Touch is nice in some scenarios but a mouse is better in others.

    I actually prefer trackpoints over trackpads myself so putting a nub on it would have been great. No need to redesign the entire notebook to add a mouse.

  • curaga

    I hope future sliders/compact notebooks include a trackpoint. Hopefully, not an optical one like the Vaio or the TPT2’s keyboard stand.

    Even with touch enhanced OS’s and applications, a mouse pointer can still provide a better experience in some usage scenarios especially on a non-mobile OS based PC.

    There seems to be a vent that the screen blocks. I wonder if there’ll be heat issues in tablet mode.

  • me

    Are there any other sliders that are out, coming out or rumored that have a trackpoint? Preferably 11.6″ or smaller. I guess Clover Trail for smaller than 11.6″ unless Haswell systems are that much easier to cool and has low enough power consumption to have decent battery life with such a form factor.

  • animatio

    yep, just add a trackpoint – a shere must – and it is almost perfect. it simply is stupid design by manufacturers thinking that a touchdisplay can replace precision pointing peripherals. and no stylus support on a productivity device tops it all. good conceptual idea – bad & imperfect realisatiion. they never will learn it.

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