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MSI CX640 Laptop Review (Core i5/Nvidia)

We tested the MSI panel today with a range of movies and games, including bluray discs. We also used a LaCie measurement gun for some of the analysis results.

The panel with the CX640 is highly reflective and initially we weren’t that impressed. Movie content looks fine, but the colours are slightly washed out and there are some backlighting inconsistencies, particularly noticeable at the edges of the screen. We also noticed some banding issues with some of the testing, indicating some compromises have had to be made. Text is reasonably clear and sharp, down to a small size, so it would be ideal for office duties.

Offset viewing is distinctly average and with the high gloss finish, there are potential problems caused by glare behind the user, depending on the environment. Obviously we all expect some glare from a gloss style screen, but it is particularly noticeable with this machine. On a more positive note, we didn’t notice any ghosting or artifacting when playing fast motion games, or when watching action movies.

We used Displaymate to analyse the panel and the overall image quality could only be described as average for this sector. The gamut range in Gamutvision is limited, indicating some potential issues for designers. If you need accurate colour representation and reproduction then this is not the ideal machine. There is also a slight red shift overall, which can be dialed out a little with software settings.

White purity shows a shift of around 10 percent in the middle third of the screen, with it rising to over 20% at all edges. It is slightly more pronounced at the upper and lower areas of the screen but in actuality the screen looks relatively ‘clean’ when viewing movies. Pure clean whites will have a slight tinge of grey throughout, with a minor red shift, but it isn’t that noticeable in the real world. Not a reference set of figures but acceptable for most people, especially those in this price sector.

Black definition is reasonable, with noticeable leak at the edges of the screen, indicating a lower cost panel. It does look worse in the technical representation above, but if you value pure black reproduction then this screen really won’t be ideal. It is obviously more noticeable with night oriented movies, such as Batman. Again, the leak is more pronounced from the top of the screen (from the left down), leaking by up to 23%.

Overall the screen is reasonable, but nothing exceptional in any of the key areas. If we were to give it a strength, we would say focusing was strong with good clear text. It is a better option for a businessman, than a media fanatic. We would aim higher up the MSI price range if media is important.

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