MSI X-Slim X600 review
Impressively thin and light for such a big laptop, but the build quality is as low as the price suggests
Review Date: 19 Oct 2009
Reviewed By: David Bayon
Price when reviewed: £691 (£795 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Marketing a 2.1kg laptop as "so light that it flies" is a tad over the top, but there's no denying the MSI X-Slim X600 is svelte for a 15.6in desktop replacement. Its glossy finish and tapered edges give a deceptive feeling of slimness, so it's a surprise to measure it at 28mm including feet - that's 2mm thicker than a 15.4in MacBook Pro, but the MSI does manage to save nearly 300g on its rival.
This portability stems from the fact that the X600 isn't your traditional desktop replacement, and in many respects it doesn't fit into that category at all. For a start, it has no optical drive. A quick poll of the PC Pro office suggests many would be happy to trade this for the weight reduction, and you can add an optional external Blu-ray drive to the package if you so wish. Nonetheless, it's still an approach more associated with netbooks and ultraportables.
The X600 mixes and matches to good effect in other ways too. A generous 4GB of RAM is paired with a low-voltage 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo SU9600 processor, a choice that largely pays off. Far from the weakling it may appear, this combination powered the X600 to a respectable 0.85 in our 2D benchmarks. Admittedly that's far below most desktop replacements with their full-strength Core 2 Duos and Quads, but it's more than enough to run everyday tasks and the extra RAM eases multitasking.
Best of all, though, is the minimal impact on the battery. While it was never going to trouble the true ultraportable crowd for longevity, a light use time of 4hrs 41mins is impressive for such a large system. Thanks to the low-power CPU, that only fell to 2hrs 10mins when pushed to the limits, so you can be sure it will make it through a long commute without conking out mid-spreadsheet.
The low power, low budget approach doesn't always come off, however. The 15.4in LED-backlit TFT uses a slightly disappointing 1,366 x 768 resolution, high enough to slap a big HD Ready sticker on it but low enough to be an inefficient use of all that space. It's a glossy screen so reflections prove distracting, but more disconcerting is the red hue that pervades the picture at all times. It's not overly noticeable during movies, but with a white document on screen you can't miss it.
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