MSI Megabook M662 review

Price when reviewed

The Megabook M662 is the first MSI notebook we’ve seen to be sold under MSI’s brand. Other integrators, such as Hi-Grade, have used MSI chassis before, but now MSI is beginning to market its own name on notebooks.

MSI Megabook M662 review

The most striking element is the wide keyboard, which incorporates a number pad – a useful feature if you use Excel or Calc a lot. It means the keys are narrower than usual, though, and the main key layout suffers from a half-height Enter key and odd placement of other keys. Frustratingly, the large touchpad is highly sensitive and, while typing, you often brush it with your hand, repositioning the cursor or highlighting text.

Our other gripe is build quality, which feels flimsier than the Sony and Toshiba offerings. The wristrest bends with only a little pressure and the TFT shows stress points with the slightest of twisting.

But, these weaknesses aside, the Megabook gives you a lot for your money. Inside, there’s a Core Duo T2400, 1GB of 533MHz DDR2 RAM, WLAN, Bluetooth, Gigabit Ethernet, a V.92 modem and a 1.3-megapixel webcam.

In terms of storage, there’s a dual-layer DVD writer (which includes DVD-RAM support) and an 80GB hard disk – not the latest or biggest here. However, MSI includes an SD/Memory Stick card reader and doesn’t skimp on the ports and connectors.

In our 2D application benchmarks, the M662 scored 0.85, which means it isn’t short of power. There are faster notebooks here, although few will need the speed they offer. But the Sony FE31H costs only £4 more and scored 0.98 in our 2D benchmarks, yet also boasts a GeForce Go 7400, which can just about play games at low detail levels, while the MSI relies on Intel’s GMA 950 GPU. As you’d expect, the latter can’t handle 3D games – it could only deliver a slideshow in Far Cry at 1,024 x 768.

At least the 15.4in 1,280 x 800 TFT is fairly bright and has good viewing angles, and the battery will last 5hrs 25mins with light use. Plus, you get a decent Targus carry case in the box, and a two-year collect-and-return warranty. If you’re after a dual-core bargain, the MSI might appeal, but the poor keyboard and build-quality issues prevent an award.

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