MSI MegaBook EX600
- Crisp and clear display, responsive touchpad, built-in webcam, quick launch buttons, decent battery life
- Struggles with demanding applications, a very plain look and feel, poor viewing angle of display
The MSI MegaBook EX600 is a solid, but far from outstanding unit. It will handle most basic tasks with ease, but will struggle with more demanding applications.
Price$ 1,799.00 (AUD)
A solid, if not outstanding all-purpose machine, the MSI MegaBook EX600 sports an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, an NVIDIA GeForce graphics card and some nifty multimedia additions including a 1.3-megapixel webcam and a multi-card reader.
An Intel Core 2 Duo T7300 CPU running at 2GHz is at the heart of this machine, along with 1GB of DDR2 RAM. MSI has also included NVIDIA's GeForce 8400M 256MB graphics chip, but don't expect it to play any of the latest games smoothly -- it scored a reasonable, but far from outstanding 7518 in our 3DMark2001 benchmark. It's fine to run some older, less demanding titles, but will undoubtedly struggle with newer games and any graphically intense programs.
The MegaBook EX600 scored a solid 75 in WorldBench 6 and although this isn't a great score, the specifications provide a smooth experience for day-to-day activities such as word processing, browsing the Internet, sending and receiving e-mail, uploading photos and handling your music collection. Any more taxing applications such as video or photo editing will not run as smoothly, but this isn't surprising as the MegaBook EX600 hasn't been designed for this type of use.
In our MP3 encoding test, where we convert 53 minutes worth of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3 files, the MegaBook EX600 took 2min 15sec to complete the task using Cdex, a decent result.
For storage there is a 120GB hard drive, a DVD re-writer with dual-layer support and a media card reader supporting MS, MS Pro, MMC and SD cards. A 1.3-megapixel webcam is also present above the display. The general aesthetic of the MegaBook EX600 is quite plain, and the keyboard's matte finish certainly doesn't look very inspiring, but we had no complaints with usability, and the scroll bar on the touchpad is very handy. Above the keyboard, the small row of quick launch buttons is a nice touch, rounded off by a large power button surrounded by a glowing blue LED. Multiple indicator lights (battery, caps lock and Wi-Fi amongst them) on the edge of the chassis let you know what's going on with a quick glance.
In terms of multimedia, the display is quite crisp and clear for watching movies, though its glossy surface does tend to be a little too reflective, especially when the MegaBook EX600 is used in an office with florescent lighting. The dual speakers produce decent volume, but they aren't very crisp and bass is poor, so we'd recommend using a pair of headphones. The screen's poor viewing angle means more than one person watching a movie could prove a difficult task.
To test the battery life of the MegaBook EX600, we looped a DVD movie until the battery drained. This test is considered a worst-case scenario as the optical drive and speakers are also employed, among the other core components of the MegaBook EX600. The notebook lasted for 1hr 45min before the battery died, which is a decent result. Keep in mind though that you should be able to get some extra battery life out of the machine by adjusting the Windows Vista performance settings.
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