MSI – EX620 review

stylish multimedia notebook
Photo of MSI – EX620
£688.85

The EX620 is the latest addition to MSI’s Entertainment Series of notebooks and features a 16-inch widescreen display, Core 2 Duo processor, discrete ATI graphics and a host of other goodies for your multimedia pleasure.

A well made, stylish looking notebook, the EX620 features MSI’s Ocean Wave design, which brings a dark grey wave pattern to the well finished gloss piano black lid; the wave pattern is repeated across the silver-grey wrist pad which is set off by the matt black keyboard and panel above it.

Sitting in this panel are two chrome finished speakers and the chrome surrounded power button. It’s a great combination that works well, making the EX620 pleasing to look at. It weighs in at around 2.6kg so it’s right on the edge of what’s comfortable to carry around all day.

Under the skin there is an Intel Core 2 Duo T5800 processor running at 2.0GHz and backed by 4GB of 800MHz DDR2 memory, which unfortunately can’t all be accessed by the 32-bit Vista Premium O/S installed on the 320GB hard drive. Performance-wise the EX620 doesn’t spring any surprises, its PCMark05 score of 4,160 being pretty much what you’d expect from a notebook with this specification.

The keyboard is a bit of a disappointment: its layout is a little awkward; the Enter key is small, the right curser key is in the number pad, but the worst thing is the amount of flex the keybed suffers from. On the other hand the touchpad is good and responsive as are the mouse keys. Sitting between the two mouse buttons is a fingerprint reader.

Driving the graphics is an ATI Moblity Radeon HD3470 which outputs to the 16-inch, 16:9 aspect ratio screen with a native resolution of 1,366 by 768 pixels. As the screen is great for watching movies it’s good to see that the EX620 comes with a Blu-Ray drive, and although the panel doesn’t support full 1080p HD there is an HDMI out port so you can show HD output on an external monitor or TV.

Sitting in the panel above the keyboard are all the multimedia and other controls, backlit by blue LEDs when they are active. In the middle of the panel is an Eco button which is used to switch between various modes; Movie, Gaming, Office, Presentation and Turbo Battery.

To the left of this button are all the usual multimedia controls while to the right are controls for the webcam, wireless and Bluetooth. Also on the left is the Cinema Pro button which adjusts the screen colours and turns on the Dolby sound.

Battery life is adequate but for most people the EX620 will spend most of its life plugged into the mains anyway. Still, when tested with MobileMark 07, the 6-cell, 4,400mAh battery lasted 150 minutes in the Productivity test, 165 minutes in the Reader test and 115 minutes in the DVD playback test.

As well as the notebook the box contains a decent carrying bag and an optical USB laptop mouse, but strangely, bearing in mind that the EX620 is an entertainment notebook, what you don’t get is a remote control.

Company: MSI

Contact: 020 8813 6688


Verdict
MSI's EX620 is a nicely designed notebook, stuffed full of multimedia features with a very keen price tag. It has all the performance you'll need for everyday use, but it is let down somewhat by its keyboard.