Laptop Magazine (still available in print form!) got their hands on the super slim MacBook Air-like X340 from MSI and gave the $899 ultra low voltage notebook a relatively positive review. Like HP’s DV2 that Devin just reviewed, the X340 series falls somewhere in between netbooks and notebooks.
Here’s the quick and dirty of what Laptop liked and didn’t like.
- The design is very pleasing. It’s slightly thicker, yet slightly lighter than the MacBook Air. The thickness reaches a maximum of 0.78 inches (versus the Air’s 0.76 inches) while allowing for VGA, Ethernet, and HDMI ports, two USB ports, a card reader, and mic and headphone jacks. The actual build quality feels a bit plastic and hollow — not as solid as the Air or Lenovo’s X200.
- The large keyboard and touchpad are welcome features, although the keys feel cheap and the keyboard has “too much flex” while the touchpad’s single button “felt a bit mushy.”
- It’s got a great LED-backlit screen at 13.4-inches and 1366×768 resolution, which worked well for watching HD content.
- Intel’s ULV processor easily outperformed the netbook-centric Atom CPU but didn’t multitask very well in comparison to dual-core processors found in more expensive ultraportables. Likewise, the GMA 4500MHD graphics chip worked will with HD videos but just so-so for gaming.
- Battery life reached just over three and a half hours with the included four-cell battery, beating out the MacBook Air’s 2:08 runtime and the DV2′s 2:31 runtime. It fell far short of most six-cell netbooks’ 5+ hour runtime, although a six-cell battery will be available for an extra $100.
All in all, it looks like the X340 will provide an interesting option for those who want a stylish ultraportable for under $1,000. It’s definitely got more pop than run-of-the-mill netbooks without the high price tag or multitasking ability of premium ultraportables.