MSI X600 is a Macbook Air-lookalike

MSI isn’t just renowned for computer peripherals anymore, with an encouraging lineup of laptop computers and netbooks. The last MSI notebook we tested, the MSI EX400X, failed to make a positive impression. However, the same can’t be said of the X600, MSI’s slim and stylish Macbook Air-lookalike.

The MSI X600 has a silver aluminium look like the Macbook, and curved edges. The screen lid is smooth and has a glossy finish, with the letters MSI imprinted at its center, and it looks quite classy. When you prop up the screen lid, you’ll notice the 15.6-inch widescreen (1366×768 resolution) display along with the bezel is completely washed over with black gloss–a potential fingerprint magnet. The keyboard is black in color with a silver palmrest and a multi-touch touchpad. There’s a 1.3-megapixel Webcam recessed on the top screen bezel, along with a microphone. Though the MSI X600 is a good looking slim laptop, it has modest build quality and the attempt to impersonate a Macbook falls short of expectations.

The MSI X600 notebook is a bit of a mixed bag in terms of hardware. It is powered off an ultra-low voltage processor, the Intel Core 2 Solo SU3500 1.4-GHz processor (similar to the one on Acer Aspire Timeline 4810T and 3810T). As a result, it offers significantly curtailed performance in comparison to most mainstream notebooks in its price segment. The X600 has 4GB of DDR2 RAM, a 320GB (5400rpm) hard drive, and has Gigabit ethernet coupled with Wi-Fi 802.11n connectivity. There are only two USB ports located along the chassis’ edge, but it comes with an impressive combination of dedicated HDMI and eSATA ports–great for watching movies on an LCD TV or faster data transfer. Disappointingly, it doesn’t have an optical drive.

MSI has also thrown in a dedicated graphics card, the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330, which is good for basic gaming and high-definition entertainment on the X600. The notebook comes with all the necessary software discs, including a driver and restore disc, and the inclusion of a mini travel mouse is appreciated. The whole unit weighs an acceptable 2.3 kg, which is actually on the lighter side for a 15.6-inch laptop.

Well, with a ULV processor, we didn’t have high hopes of the X600’s performance. A WorldBench 6 score of 58 is in line with its under-powered, low-clock speed processor. Don’t expect much in terms of gaming–it has an entry level GPU barely capable of an acceptable gaming performance. HD performance wasn’t flawless, but good–we watched 1080p files with minimal stutter, and there was no problem with watching movies in other formats. The onboard speakers are loud and clear and good for playing music. Its six-cell battery lasted for an impressive 213 minutes in MobileMark 07.

In terms of usability, we loved the MSI X600’s full keyboard, which also has a dedicated number pad on the right. The keys are full-sized and with no flex whatsoever. The palmrest is nice and wide, and the touchpad is multi-touch equipped.

Bottom Line

The MSI X600 is an interesting slim 15-inch laptop. Buy it if you want a mainstream laptop which doesn’t offer the absolute best in terms of performance, but is considerably lighter than its competitors and good for most daily usage, and offers good battery life.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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