Mesh MSI M677 Pro review
The Mesh-branded MSI M677 Pro has a hard time standing out this month, being a jack-of-all-trades rather than the powerful or portable specialists elsewhere in the group. It earns some points for style – the black and silver livery stood out among the bland sea of grey that makes up most of the models in this price bracket.
The bright and vivid 15.4in TFT is one of the best in the group too, with a glossy finish that home users will appreciate for the vibrant colours. It’s reflective, though, so a fluorescent-lit office won’t be the ideal home for the M677 Pro.
In terms of build quality, the lid affords a decent amount of protection from knocks and the chassis is solid. The keyboard is comfortable and even includes a separate number pad crammed on the side, but this results in a few of the keys (most notably Enter) being smaller than usual.
Among the decent features, you’ll find a webcam integrated into the top of the screen, both PC Card and ExpressCard/54 slots on the right-hand side, a media card reader that supports xD-Picture cards, and even a basic carry case. The warranty is respectable compared to all the 12-month offerings this month, covering the M677 for one year with an international collect-and-return policy, followed by a year of return-to-base cover.
There’s undoubtedly value to be had here, but the Mesh isn’t the best choice if you need lots of power, as the 1.8GHz Turion 64 X2 TL-56 resulted in a benchmark score of 0.90 – below par compared to the Core 2 Duo-equipped notebooks. 1GB of RAM is enough to run Vista smoothly, though, and there’s an Nvidia GeForce Go 7600 that will comfortably run games at 1,024 x 768. You may need to lower a few quality settings, but it’s the best gaming chip available in this group.
Evesham’s Quest A425 offers similar core components, but 2hrs 17mins of battery life under light use puts the Mesh ahead of the Quest in this respect, despite the fact that both machines last a similar time with heavy use. However, Mesh’s main problem is the Sony, which costs only £1 more yet lasts longer away from the mains, is more powerful and has an even brighter, better-quality TFT.