Review: 6-cell battery for MSI Wind U100 netbook

The simple fact of notebook life is that notebooks simply don’t run as long on their batteries as they should. This is especially true for my MSI Wind U100 netbook. It came with a 3-cell battery that delivers approximately 1,5 to 2 hours of unplugged time. MSI offers a 6-cell battery and an even more powerful 9-cell battery is reportedly in the works. There are conflicting reports about the capacity of the original 6-cell battery. Some sources claim it delivers 5200 mAh, some claim it is a 4400 mAh battery.

I was unable to find a local dealer that had the 6-cell battery in stock. After having a look at some eBay offerings I ordered a non-OEM 4400 mAh 6-cell battery from a Chinese eBayer

6-cell-battery

The 6-cell 4400 mAh battery for my MSI Wind U100 netbook was delivered from Shenzhen, China. The price was US$ 75 including free shipping to Switzerland. See here for item details.

The battery is also compatible to:

  • Medion Akoya Mini E1210 Series
  • Advent 4211 Series
  • Tsunami Moover T10 Series
  • MyBook M11 Freedom Series
  • Mouse Computer Series
  • Mivvy M310 Series
  • Datron Mobee N011 Series
  • Proline U100 Series
  • Casper Minibook Series
  • CMS ICBook M1Series
  • Roverbook Neo U100 Series
  • Ahtec Netbook LUG N011 Series
     

6-cell-closeup 

3-cell-6-cell-battery

The lower product photo shows the original BTY-S11 3-cell battery that came with my Wind. The plastic color and (glitter?) texture looks absolutely identical on both batteries. While the 2200 mAh 3-cell battery weights 175g (6.1 oz), the 6-cell battery weights 300g (6.6 oz). The latter obviously is also larger than the 3-cell battery.

According to reports it looks like most of these non-OEM 6-cell batteries from China for the MSI Wind U100 are internally set to 5200 mAh for some reason. Even my own battery shows a design capacity of 5200 mAh but its true capacity is around 4200 mAh. There are a few sellers that try to sell these batteries as 5200 mAh batteries but obviously that’s not the case and most (all?) of them are just relabeled 4400 mAh batteries (scam alarm!).

jan@wind:~$ cat /proc/acpi/battery/BAT1/info
present:                 yes
design capacity:         5200 mAh
last full capacity:      4144 mAh
battery technology:      rechargeable
design voltage:          11100 mV
design capacity warning: 0 mAh
design capacity low:     0 mAh
capacity granularity 1:  1 mAh
capacity granularity 2:  1 mAh
model number:            MS-N011
serial number:
battery type:            LION
OEM info:                MSI Corp.

 

As you can see from these values, my battery doesn’t reach the seller’s advertised 4400 mAh capacity even when fully charged. Due to battery wear, that value probably won’t go up to 4400 mAh ever. The difference is less than 5% but they really shouldn’t advertise these batteries as being 4400 mAh batteries. The value of 4200 mAh would have been more appropriate. 

Some battery monitoring tools calculate battery wear from the difference between design capacity and last full capacity. That’s why you might see high wear percentage values on a new battery of this type. Actually, it’s just a problem with overstated design capacity values, not a technical problem with high wear on the battery.

Sample:
(100 * design capacity / last full capacity) – 100 = (100 * 5200 / 4144) – 100 = 25% wear. 

3-cell-side 6-cell-side

The Wind U100 rests on its bottom cover rubber pads with the 3-cell battery inserted. With the 6-cell battery it rests on the battery’s rubber pads. This leads to a slightly steeper keyboard angle. 

fit

The 6-cell battery doesn’t fit 100% into the battery slot. It’s a non issue but the manufacturer could have done better.

qc

There’s a quality control sticker on the battery but of course I don’t know if this is fake or if the battery really went through some sort of Q.C.

Now, to the most important part: battery life. I’m running my Wind on Windows XP. When I’m on battery power, I always dim the Wind’s LED display back to 25%. Bluetooth is turned off and WiFi is connected to my home network. The netbook is used mostly for browsing the Internet. Typically, I get around 4 hours (real hours, not just indicated in the tray) of battery time until it runs dry. Compared to the 3-cell battery, that extends my independence from AC power by factor 2.

8 thoughts on “Review: 6-cell battery for MSI Wind U100 netbook

  1. i think that the design of the MSI Wind is much better than the Asus Eee Pc. I own an Asus Eee and Msi Wind, both are solid performers.

  2. Is there a company that has been identified as selling a better quality battery?
    Does Msi sell batteries that are of better quality?
    Thanks,
    I love my Msi Wind but hate the 3 cell battery.
    Thanks you to all that post here.
    Ellen

  3. Very informative, I have a wind with 3 cells hardly getting around 2 hours, I think I will have to wait for the 9 cell one or get a high capacity 6 cell one (5000 ) or something…
    Keep writing… :)

    Thanks.

  4. Interesting and informative effort. This review will help in making a more informed decision as I investigate purchasing options for a 6-cell battery to upgrade my MSI Wind.

  5. Hello.
    Thanks for this informative review. I have probably bought the same 6-cell battery from china. It seems to fit my wind a bit better compared to yours but after a few cycles I only get arount 4050mAh which is lousy. So if you intend buying one of these be aware that the capacity is lower then 4400mAh.

    Liebe Grüsse
    Michi

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