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MSI CX620 review: MSI CX620

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The Good Switchable graphics processor. Comfortable weight. Full sized keyboard.

The Bad Plastic feel. Fan noise. Had to close most programs for switchable graphics processor to work. 32-bit Windows.

The Bottom Line As a budget laptop, the MSI CX620 does a reasonable job. The inclusion of Windows 7 32-bit and the inferior ATI graphics switching are annoyances, but then for AU$1099, we can almost forgive the shortcomings.

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7.7 Overall

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If the CX620 were human it would wear a double breasted wool pin stripe suit, pretend to lunch at Rockpool, but then go on to chow down at McDonald's. Yes, it's another budget laptop from MSI, but this time happens to bring looks above its station.

With grey pin stripes on gloss black for the lid, this near inverts for the interior, with the wrist rest displaying black on silver. The rest is gloss black, with a stippled area below the keyboard that seems like a speaker grille running edge to edge. It's not: the speakers are on the lip, one pointing directly down, the other firing at a diagonal towards the floor. While not optimal positioning, they're not as tinny as some speakers we've heard. They're not great either, with audio sounding distant and muffled.


The 15.6-inch, 1366x768 display looks larger than it is, courtesy of the glossy black bezel around the equally glossy screen. The display looked great in full sunlight when set to full brightness — assuming you're not worried too much by the glare.

Apart from the power button there are two small, dedicated shortcut keys in the top right. The first switches to an ATI Radeon HD 5470 graphics card for performance, the other to Intel graphics to save battery. At a glance it's impossible to tell which GPU is currently active; you'll need to dig deeper into Windows to find out. We'd love at least a light above the switch buttons that keeps us informed.

It also smacks of first generation technology from ATI; while Nvidia's Optimus technology is becoming smart enough to auto-switch graphics when needed, it also does it seamlessly. ATI's software on the other hand demands that applications be closed before the switch takes place.

The keys — matte black islands amidst gloss black — are spaced out far enough that it feels almost awkward to type, and may take a little time to adjust. The wrist rest offers plenty of room but the bottom edge is sloped and may make for slippage when combined with sweaty hands.

There is notable space between the space bar and the track pad which is fantastic — less accidental movement of the cursor, that can cause Hulk smash syndrome. The track pad is of the same colour scheme as its surroundings, its presence marked by a slight indentation and coarser finish. The first few uses sent a shudder over the body, but wasn't an issue after prolonged uses. LED status lights are displayed beneath the touch pad.

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