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Mesh Dynamo 16-RG review

Alan Lu
4 Aug 2010
Mesh Dynamo 16-RG
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
614
inc VAT

The Mesh Dynamo is a powerful laptop, but there are better-value, better-designed alternatives available

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Specifications

15.6 in 1,360x768 display, 2.5kg, 2.13GHz Intel Core i3-330M, 4.00GB RAM, 500GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit

The Mesh Dynamo 16-RG is based on a MSI design. It's certainly looks distinctive thanks to the black and silver pinstripe design on the lid and wrist rest, although it won't be to everyone's taste. It's a little chunky too, but at least it feels robust and well-made.

The keyboard feels responsive, but the small size of the keys makes typographical errors more likely. Their small size is due to the presence of a numeric keypad. Apart from its shrunken zero key, it has an identical layout to a desktop keyboard's number pad. Unfortunately, the Dynamo's chassis just isn't wide enough to accommodate a sensibly-sized keyboard and number pad. As useful as the number pad can be for spreadsheets, we would have preferred to live without it and have larger keys instead.

We were also disappointed by the touchpad. It's large but doesn't feel very precise, sometimes missing our intended button or menu. The single pivoting button doesn't give enough feedback when pressed, either. Almost as if to apologise for such a poorly designed touchpad, a portable USB mouse with a retractable cord is included in the box. It feels poorly made, though, with the cord often failing to retract properly.

Mesh Dynamo 16-RG

The Dynamo has 4GB of RAM and a Core i3 330M processor. It fared well in our benchmarks, especially in our video encoding and multiple applications tests, scoring 78 overall. Only its relatively low score in our image editing test dragged its overall score down, but it's still more than fast enough for most tasks.

The Dynamo has two graphics chips – an integrated Intel chip and a dedicated ATI Radeon HD 5470. You can switch between them using a simple menu command and you'll want to use the integrated chip when using the Dynamo away from a wall socket. With the Radeon enabled, the Dynamo managed just under 19fps in Call of Duty 4, so it can play modern 3D games with tweaked settings, but the battery lasted just under three hours. With the Intel chip enabled, Call of Duty 4 crawled along at less than 12fps, but the battery lasted over an hour longer.

Despite its glossy finish, we were unimpressed with the brightness of the 15.6in widescreen display. It looks quite dim, even at maximum brightness. The backlight is even, but the tight viewing angles means colours still change subtly depending on where you sit.

Unusually, the Dynamo has an ExpressCard/34 slot - an increasingly uncommon sight on laptops. This can be used to add extra features, such as a TV tuner, 3G modem or USB3 ports. One of the three USB2 ports doubles as an eSATA port for connecting fast external storage, so you may not need to add USB3 just yet. Another useful extra is the warranty – at two years it's relatively long for a laptop at this price.

The Mesh Dynamo 16-RG isn't an awful laptop, but its poorly designed keyboard and touchpad well along with its uninspiring display mean we can't recommend it. If you want a 15in laptop, Dell's better-designed and similarly-priced Inspiron 15R is far better value.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
ProcessorIntel Core i3-330M
Processor clock speed2.13GHz
Memory4.00GB
Memory slots2
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory4GB
Size40x375x247mm
Weight2.5kg
SoundRealtek HD Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad

Display

Viewable size15.6 in
Native resolution1,360x768
Graphics ProcessorATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470
Graphics/video portsHDMI, VGA
Graphics Memory1,024MB

Storage

Total storage capacity500GB
Optical drive modelTSST TS-L633C
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL

Ports and Expansion

USB ports3
Bluetoothyes
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11b/g/n
PC Card slots1x ExpressCard/34
ModemNo
Supported memory cardsSDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro/Duo, xD
Other ports1x eSATA

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includednone
Optional extrasnone

Buying Information

Warrantytwo years collect and return
Price£614
Detailswww.meshcomputers.com

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