The Good Slim, attractive design; cheaper than other slim 13-inch laptops; uses Intel's new ULV processor.
The Bad Flimsy keyboard feels cheap; shorter battery life than we'd expect from a low-power system.
The Bottom Line MSI's superslim X340 offers the slick look of a MacBook Air or Dell Adamo, but cast in plastic for about half the price.
One of the laptop component developments we've been most eager to see hit the market has been Intel's new ultralow voltage CPUs. Dubbed CULV (for Consumer Ultra-Low Voltage), this new line is differentiated from the classic ULV chips by lower prices, clearly aimed at consumers looking to step up from an Atom Netbook CPU.
The $799 MSI X340 is the first laptop we've reviewed with the single-core SU3500 processor, and it seems like an excellent test case--a superslim 13-inch that reminds us of much more expensive systems such as the Dell Adamo or MacBook Air, albeit with a much more plastic feel.
At the same time, the X340 ends up in the same murky middle ground as systems with AMD's new Neo processor that are aimed at Netbook users who want to trade up to a bit more power for a bit more money, but without buying a standard sub-$1,000 Intel Core 2 Duo mainstream laptop, or Apple's $999 basic 13-inch MacBook. We've never met anyone who admitted being part of this highly specific target demographic.
Intel dual-core CULV laptop chips imminent
Intel's CPU monkeys have been working overtime recently, coming up with a new range of dual-core processors designed to give super-skinny, lightweight laptops some extra grunt