MSI X-Slim X600 review

Price when reviewed

Marketing a 2.1kg laptop as “so light that it flies” is a tad over the top, but there’s no denying the MSI X-Slim X600 is svelte for a 15.6in desktop replacement. Its glossy finish and tapered edges give a deceptive feeling of slimness, so it’s a surprise to measure it at 28mm including feet – that’s 2mm thicker than a 15.4in MacBook Pro, but the MSI does manage to save nearly 300g on its rival.

This portability stems from the fact that the X600 isn’t your traditional desktop replacement, and in many respects it doesn’t fit into that category at all. For a start, it has no optical drive. A quick poll of the PC Pro office suggests many would be happy to trade this for the weight reduction, and you can add an optional external Blu-ray drive to the package if you so wish. Nonetheless, it’s still an approach more associated with netbooks and ultraportables.

MSI X-Slim X600

The X600 mixes and matches to good effect in other ways too. A generous 4GB of RAM is paired with a low-voltage 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo SU9600 processor, a choice that largely pays off. Far from the weakling it may appear, this combination powered the X600 to a respectable 0.85 in our 2D benchmarks. Admittedly that’s far below most desktop replacements with their full-strength Core 2 Duos and Quads, but it’s more than enough to run everyday tasks and the extra RAM eases multitasking.

Best of all, though, is the minimal impact on the battery. While it was never going to trouble the true ultraportable crowd for longevity, a light use time of 4hrs 41mins is impressive for such a large system. Thanks to the low-power CPU, that only fell to 2hrs 10mins when pushed to the limits, so you can be sure it will make it through a long commute without conking out mid-spreadsheet.

The low power, low budget approach doesn’t always come off, however. The 15.4in LED-backlit TFT uses a slightly disappointing 1,366 x 768 resolution, high enough to slap a big HD Ready sticker on it but low enough to be an inefficient use of all that space. It’s a glossy screen so reflections prove distracting, but more disconcerting is the red hue that pervades the picture at all times. It’s not overly noticeable during movies, but with a white document on screen you can’t miss it.


Warranty2 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions392 x 255 x 28mm (WDH)
Travelling weight2.6kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo SU9600
Motherboard chipsetIntel GS45
RAM capacity4.00GB
Memory typeDDR2

Screen and video

Screen size15.6in
Resolution screen horizontal1,266
Resolution screen vertical768
Resolution1266 x 768
Graphics chipsetATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330
Graphics card RAM512MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs0
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0


Hard disk usable capacity458GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskWestern Digital Scorpio Blue
Optical disc technologyNone
Optical driveNone
Battery capacity5,400mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0


Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportyes
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno
Bluetooth supportyes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchno
Wireless key-combination switchyes
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)2
eSATA ports1
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readerno
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readerno
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetRealtek HD Audio
Speaker locationFront edge
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating1.3mp
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseyes

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use4hr 41min
Battery life, heavy use2hr 10min
Overall application benchmark score0.85
Office application benchmark score0.88
2D graphics application benchmark score0.97
Encoding application benchmark score0.77
Multitasking application benchmark score0.76
3D performance (crysis) low settings58fps
3D performance settingLow

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows Vista Home Premium 32-bit
OS familyWindows Vista

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