A host of affordable multimedia laptops have entered the market this year. The 15.6-inch MSI FX600 is the latest to try to win a spot in our hearts, packing an Intel Core i3-330M processor and 4GB of RAM. At around £600, can it succeed?
The FX600 looks boring. We found the lid uninspiring, but we're not huge fans of matte black plastic. Even a tiled pattern can't jazz up the exterior. Don't expect to drive your fellow commuters mad with jealously.
Lifting the lid, the machine looks slightly more exotic. A silver trim around the lower half of the chassis, and a glossy coating around the display, go a long way towards jazzing up this otherwise dull machine.
Connectivity is fairly sparse. The laptop sports VGA and HDMI outputs, and just three USB ports, one of which is an eSATA/USB combination. It also has a multi-format card reader, 3.5mm sockets for headphones and a mic, an Ethernet jack, and a DVD rewritable drive. We've seen models with a Blu-ray drive floating around online for an extra £50 or so.
Other features include a 500GB hard drive, and the 64-bit edition of Windows 7 Home Premium.
This display is pretty swell. Measuring 15.6 inches, with a maximum resolution of 1,366x768 pixels, this panel is so vibrant that the colours practically leapt off the screen and punched us in the optic nerve. Images rendered on this display look very sharp and clear.
The FX600 is a reasonably usable machine. The keyboard is large and spacious, and the keys are sensibly laid out. We did, however, notice some flex when we applied pressure to the keyboard. The trackpad has a bumpy surface. It's sensitive and didn't drive us up the wall.