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If we had a penny for every time someone asked us what laptop to buy this Christmas, we'd have about £486.39, which is exactly what it costs to purchase the decidedly Yuletide-budget-friendly MSI CX600.

It may be cheap, but it has one of the best specifications of any laptop in its price bracket. It uses a 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 CPU, 4GB of RAM (although only 3GB is usable, due to the 32-bit copy of Windows 7 Home Premium), a 250GB hard drive and an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 graphics card that'll let you play 3D games. Impressive, no?

There are problems, though. The 16-inch, 1,366x768-pixel screen isn't bad, but the system doesn't have an HDMI or DVI digital video output, which is pretty inexcusable these days. We also don't like the black and grey chassis. It's not ugly by any stretch of the imagination, but it's the sort of thing we'd only recommend if you're trying to bring dreary back.

We'll be putting the CX600 through its paces in a full review very shortly, but, if you want one for yourself right now, head on over to Ebuyer (or a similar site) and fork out the cash.

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The black lid and grey keyboard section look half-decent in photos, but don't be fooled -- they're dull.

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These stickers really don't help the CX600's appearance, but they do hint at the generous list of components shoehorned inside.

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The CX600's design isn't all dreary -- the LED status lights are integrated into the chrome-effect mouse selector buttons.

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