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MSI X-Slim X340 review: MSI X-Slim X340

Ultimately MSI's X-Slim X340 is a disappointment. It is reasonably attractive, but it's not worth the price due to the horrible keyboard and budget touchpad.

Craig Simms Special to CNET News
Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.
Craig Simms
3 min read

Editor's note: MSI has since informed us that the base of the laptop is powder coated aluminium and not plastic — our review has been updated accordingly.


MSI X-Slim X340

The Good

Attractively slim. Nice screen. Reasonably sturdy considering slimness. Stays quiet.

The Bad

Horrific keyboard. Annoying Sentelic touchpad. MSI still not including touchpad drivers.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately MSI's X-Slim X340 is a disappointment. It is reasonably attractive, but it's not worth the price due to the horrible keyboard and budget touchpad.


MSI's X-Slim X340 is the first laptop we've seen with Intel's CULV (consumer ultra-low voltage) processor. This also makes it the first of the "ultrathin" flood that is expected to come in the next six months.

Coming in white, black or silver, it certainly looks the part, with the slim profile sure to grab people's attention as soon as you pull it out of the bag. It's also rather rigid, feeling surprisingly sturdy for its slimness. From thereon in though, it's a series of disappointments.

While light, the X-Slim feels cheap. The interior of the white sample we received was a dull grey, with a large touchpad that featured a single mouse button. Left- and right-click functionality is still there, it's simply moulded into the one piece. Apart from this there's the white keyboard, the power button in the top right, and the white LED status lights below the touchpad — and that's it for the simple and spartan design.


The keyboard is, in three words, cheap, nasty and tacky. Our review sample was misshapen, clacky, and the sluggish response of the keys often ended up with the PC simply not registering the strike. It takes the dubious honour of being the worst keyboard we've used.

MSI has again failed to include mouse drivers for the cheap and nasty Sentelic mousepad it has taken to using of late, meaning that even the tiniest palm brush will send your cursor somewhere you don't want while typing.

This same touchpad has the annoying feature that requires you to tap in the top or bottom right-hand corners of the mousepad to scroll, instead of the usual swiping of the finger. This results in many accidental left-clicks if you have tap to click turned on, as is the case by default. Mind you, scrolling isn't even enabled until you have the driver.

Not only does neither MSI or Windows give a hint at what type of touchpad it is, but when you finally find out, Sentelic's own website requires the user to have an account to download the drivers, of which there's no way to sign up. MSI also fails to provide the driver package on its website.

So you can download it here, where a community forum member has graciously hosted it.

Sound is passable considering the thinness, and comes from the left grille under the lip (pulling double duty as an exhaust grille), as well as seeming to emanate from the ports on the right-hand side. As such it's hard to determine whether the X-Slim is even stereo without opening it up, but we suspect not.

Still, at least the 1366x768, 13.4-inch screen is nice, with the microphone and webcam embedded at the top. It's quiet, too.

Internally the laptop features a single core Intel Celeron ULV 723 processor at 1.2GHz, 2GB RAM, 250GB hard drive, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth and gigabit Ethernet for communications. It comes with Vista Home Premium 32-bit.

There are two USB ports, VGA and HDMI out, headphone/microphone jacks and an SD/MMC card reader. A cheap external mouse (connected by retractable USB cord) and faux-leather cover are included, as is, hilariously, a driver CD for a machine with no optical drive. Once put in an optical drive, an autoplay menu pops up, but none of the buttons actually work (except for the Exit button), requiring you to go hunting and installing manually.


Containing a single core Celeron processor, the X-Slim was never going to be a performance king, scoring 541 in 3DMark06, and 1876 in PCMark05. It scores 1259 in CineBench R10, putting it slightly below AMD's Neo in the raw performance stakes (and far above the Atom). Sadly this means like all other low power, low performance chips it is incapable of passing our HD YouTube Flash video test, as playback is jerky. We sincerely hope CULV gets a performance boost very quickly.

Setting screen brightness and volume to maximum, and all power-saving features off, the battery lasted two hours, four minutes and 28 seconds when playing back an XviD file.

Ultimately MSI's X-Slim X340 is a disappointment. It is reasonably attractive, but it's not worth the price due to the horrible keyboard and budget touchpad.