When it comes to slim and light notebooks it’s nice to see a range of manufacturers offering some competition to Apple’s uber-sleek MacBook. MSI is the latest to arrive as a healthy alternative for those who prioritise portability, and its X600 is indeed an extremely stylish machine out of the box.
At 2.1kg and just 25mm thick this is one of the lightest machines of its size on the market, and things are rounded off nicely on the aesthetics front with a gloss black exterior and smooth rounded lines that see MSI tipping its hat towards the MacBook’s outward merits.
The X600 is nicely specced as well, sporting a Core 2 Duo SU9600 1.6Ghz processor, 4GB of DDR2 RAM, a 500GB hard drive and ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4430 graphics card with 512MB of VRAM. It’s perfectly capable of handling HD media playback up to 720p and a range of the latest games at reasonable detail levels, which it has to be said look pretty impressive on the 15.6-inch widescreen display.
The latter is generally quite capable and is as crisp and clear as you could expect from a 1366 x 768 screen, though colours aren’t quite as vibrant as we’d hoped and some visuals can look a little washed out, particularly when viewing photos.
Despite the X600′s light and slimline nature it is a fair bit wider than many other 15-inch display models on the market so still requires a good chunk of real estate in a bag or briefcase, though this does allow it to fit a full-sized keyboard with a numeric keypad across the main body.
The keyboard is very responsive but does take a while to get used to since the keys sink a few millimetres below the main enclosure, so to begin with, typing at this angle may feel a bit unnatural. A large touchpad offers support for multi-touch and is nicely responsive despite an irritating single bar instead of two buttons, and finally a 1.3-megapixel webcam above the display rounds off our summary of the interior.
It would have been nice to see some dedicated media controls here to make life a little easier and, considering the amount of space available, it’s rather strange MSI opted against them.
On the exterior you’ll find an E-SATA/USB 2.0 and HDMI port, a 2-in-1 card reader and twin USB 2.0 connections, along with Gigabit LAN to complement the built-in 802.11n wireless. There are also four speakers here, though these are predictably quite tinny and, being placed underneath the chassis, will often be too muffled to produce audio with any degree of clarity.
The X600 is pretty well kitted out for such a slim machine and at around 4 hours the battery life is decent enough considering that sacrifices are typically made in this area for the sake of portability. You will have to forgo a built-in optical drive for this privilege; instead MSI supplies an external super multi drive for when you need it.
We were generally impressed by this laptop’s capabilities, though, and an effective combination of power and slim lines means it’s a versatile machine capable of a range of tasks while being perfectly portable enough to carry around with you.
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