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MSI VR705 review

Alan Lu
7 Aug 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
508
inc VAT

The 17in screen sets the VR705 apart. However, the mediocre keyboard and touchpad mean it's not the perfect all-rounder.

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Specifications

17 in 1,440x900 display, 3.2kg, 2.16GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core T3400, 3.00GB RAM, 250GB disk, Windows Vista Home Premium

MSI's VR705 is a large, black laptop with acres of matt black plastic and silver highlights.

Thanks to its 17in display, it's a great choice if you're looking for the biggest possible screen on a budget. Despite the size, it doesn't feel much larger than the 15in laptops on test, and it doesn't weigh much more. At 3.2kg, it's over the comfortable limit for portability, while the battery life of two hours and 15 minutes means you won't be able to stray far from a mains socket.

The wider case should be ideal for a numberpad, but as with many MSI laptops we've seen, the keyboard layout isn't standard, with an annoying half-height Enter key and other non-standard keys. In addition, the whole keyboard flexes under pressure, while the touchpad is smaller than we'd like, and the buttons have almost no travel.

Both input devices can be lived with if you're desperate for the 17in screen for a low price. As with any keyboard, you'll quickly get used to the layout; and you can always buy an external mouse if you can't get on with the touchpad.

The screen's backlight isn't overly bright, but it's even and colours are accurate. The 1,440x900 resolution means you'll have more desktop space than most 15in laptops and therefore less switching between windows.

Aside from the screen, there's little in the VR705's feature list to distinguish it from the other budget laptops here. Its performance in both 2D and 3D benchmarks is towards the bottom end of the scale, and it has a similar complement of expansion ports, although Bluetooth and Draft-N WiFi are highlights. The stand-out feature is the two-year collect-and-return warranty, which is twice as long as the other laptops in this category.

Despite the keyboard, touchpad and somewhat ugly design, this is still a fine choice if you want a large screen at a relatively low price. The two-year warranty is a bonus, but the VR705 misses out on an award due to the great value of PC Nextday's 81-2200.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorIntel Pentium Dual Core T3400
Processor clock speed2.16GHz
Memory3.00GB
Memory slots2
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory4GB
Size36x395x279mm
Weight3.2kg
SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad
Power consumption standby2W
Power consumption idle33W
Power consumption active59W

Display

Viewable size17 in
Native resolution1,440x900
Graphics ProcessorNvidia GeForce 8200M G
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory256MB

Storage

Total storage capacity250GB
Optical drive modelHL-DT-ST GT10N
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL DVD-RAM

Ports and Expansion

USB ports3
Bluetoothyes
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slots1x ExpressCard/54
ModemYes
Supported memory cardsSD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro
Other portsminijack audio output, minijack audio input, minijack microphone input

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows Vista Home Premium
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includedUlead Burn.Now 4.5 SE

Buying Information

Warrantytwo years collect and return
Price£508
Detailswww.msicomputer.co.uk
Supplierhttp://www.lambda-tek.com/componentshop

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