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MSI X340 review

Barry de la Rosa
25 Jun 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
860
inc VAT

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Specifications

13.4 in 1,366x768 display, 1.3kg, 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Solo SU3500, 2.00GB RAM, 320GB disk, Windows Vista Home Premium

The MSI X340 has a 13.4in widescreen display and a new single-core Intel processor.

It weighs only 1.3kg and is less than 20mm thick. Its slender dimensions, combined with its glossy clamshell design, certainly make it rather desirable. This puts it in competition with the MacBook Air and Samsung X360. However, with some great netbooks now available, it has some serious cut-price rivals, too.

The display is impressive. Its 1,366x768 resolution is a little larger than that found on the Air or X360 and is 70 per cent bigger than a 10in netbook display. Image quality is great, with vibrant colours, and the LED backlight is bright and produces a pure white.

The Intel Core 2 Solo SU3500 processor, as the name suggests, has only a single processing core. However, it's very different from the single-core Atom processor found in most netbooks, with a far larger amount of cache and a quicker frontside bus. Its overall benchmark score of 31 revealed that it's roughly twice as quick as an Atom N270-equipped netbook across a range of tasks. However, it's still far slower than dual-core ultra-portables such as the X360.

Like a netbook, the X340 doesn't have an internal optical drive, and there are only two USB ports. Unlike a netbook, it runs Windows Vista quite happily, so you don't have to use the ageing Windows XP. It also has a decently sized 320GB hard disk. We tested playback of Blu-ray quality video running from the hard disk. Surprisingly, with its Intel graphics chipset, it had no problems playing this demanding footage smoothly.

The X340 doesn't have the build quality to compete with more expensive ultra-portables such as MSI's X360. Its case doesn't feel nearly as sturdy, and the lid flexes under pressure. We're not sure how it will stand up to day-to-day mobile use. The keyboard is rather spongy, and the touchpad button is a little wobbly. The X360 is far more expensive, of course, with prices from £1,100 including VAT, but this doesn't excuse the X340, as we've seen better input devices on Samsung's netbooks. Its four-hour battery life is good for such a slim laptop, however, especially given its Vista-capable processor and 13.4in display.

If looks are all that count, the X340 fares well, with its minimalist design and slender profile. Plus, its faster processor and larger display make it far more capable than any netbook, yet it weighs just as little. It's just about powerful enough to serve as your only PC and the price makes it a good alternative to more costly ultra-portables like the MacBook Air and Samsung X360, but it's let down by its input devices. If you're still keen on this desirable laptop, we strongly suggest you try it before you buy.

Basic Specifications

Rating**
ProcessorIntel Core 2 Solo SU3500
Processor clock speed1.4GHz
Memory2.00GB
Memory slots1
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory2GB
Size20x330x224mm
Weight1.3kg
SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad
Power consumption standby1W
Power consumption idle15W
Power consumption active26W

Display

Viewable size13.4 in
Native resolution1,366x768
Graphics ProcessorIntel GMA 4500M HD
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory128MB

Storage

Total storage capacity320GB
Optical drive modelN/A
Optical drive typeN/A

Ports and Expansion

USB ports2
Bluetoothyes
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slotsnone
ModemNo
Supported memory cardsSD, MMC
Other portsminijack audio output, minijack microphone input

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseYes
Operating systemWindows Vista Home Premium

Buying Information

Warrantytwo years collect and return
Price£860
Detailswww.msi.com
Supplierhttp://www.play.com