The laptop ships with a soft felt protective strip between keyboard and screen. It is a plain design from the outside with only the name of the company seen in the middle of the lid.
The 15.6 inch laptop measures 383 x 249.5 x 37.6~32.3mm and weighs 2.4KG. It isn’t a super portable, but it won’t break your back either.
Immediately we noticed that the W,A,S,D keys were coloured red, an indication of the ‘gaming laptop’ status. The four main keys used for first person shooters. The design of the laptop is rather traditional, and a little boring if we are being honest. The screen resolution is 1366×768 and it is glossy, making it rather difficult to view with a backlight behind the user. We don’t mind a glossy screen, but this is more reflective than most. The onboard sound is acceptable, but it lacks bass response, therefore external speakers or headphones would be advised.
We weren’t overly impressed with the screen, it was perfectly usable but the colours were a little muted and overall definition seemed a little lacking when compared against the best screens on the market.
The touchpad has a textured surface which is pleasant to use, and it offers a modicum of resistance to enhance the tracking. There is a button underneath the trackpad area to allow for left and right clicking (it is quite stiff). A row of status buttons are underneath this area. Above the trackpad is a small button, which can be used to disable the trackpad – ideal for people who might accidentally trigger the touchpad when typing and using a mouse.
The laptop is quite slim, although it won’t be challenging the Macbook Air in the portability stakes. Overall it is rather ‘businesslike’ by design and we would feel that executives would feel happy working on this machine in public locations.
The keyboard is comfortable to use and a good physical size, with a full number pad at the right. I frequently pressed the # key however as it resides above a single height return key. I always use boards with a double height return key. There is minimal flex with the board, even with a reasonable amount of pressure applied.
The left side of the laptop is home to a security lock, the power socket, and a large vent which is positioned for horizontal air flow. There are two USB 3.0 ports next to an HDMI connector, and at the front a headphone and microphone jack. The right side of the laptop contains a single USB 2.0 port, VGA connector and GB lan connector. At the front is a dual layer DVD R/W optical drive.
To access the internals, simply remove the battery first, then 3 screws. A heatpipe cooler transfers heat from the GPU and CPU cores, then airflow forces this heat outside the chassis. There is a 500GB Western Digital Drive bottom right of the machine, this is a ‘WD50 00BEKT-22kA9 01.0’ – 7,200 rpm drive. MSI are using 2x2GB of Elixir memory which is rated DDR3-10600 (1333mhz).