MSI MegaBook S430
- 14in widescreen, 802.11g Wi-Fi, DVD burner
- Needs more RAM, slow performance, choppy DVD playback, the keyboard could be better
All up, the S430 is an inexpensive option for users who want to run simple tasks. Its performance was sluggish in our tests, and we found the keyboard to be a little hit-and-miss, but it's a suitable unit for browsing the Web and working on not-too-CPU-intensive office documents.
Price$ 1,089.00 (AUD)
The MegaBook S430's biggest draw-card is its price. It's an affordable notebook with some decent features, such as 802.11g Wi-Fi and a DVD burner, but its performance has been sacrificed in order to achieve the low price-point.
A single-core AMD Sempron 3500+ CPU powers the unit, while the system has a paltry 512MB of RAM, of which, 64MB is reserved for the integrated NVIDIA GeForce 6100 graphics adapter, leaving 447MB for Windows Vista Basic and all your applications.
Its overall result in our WorldBench 6 benchmark suite was very low -- 45 -- and it produced sluggish times in all the tests, especially in the Adobe Photoshop and multitasking tests. For working on office documents and browsing the Web while listening to MP3s, this notebook is fine, but switching program windows can be sluggish. For anything more than those tasks -- editing photos for example -- it will frustrate. Even presentations with lots of graphics might stress the system a little too much. An extra dollop of RAM will help ease the situation slightly, and the unit can accept a total of 2GB via its two SO-DIMM slots (one slot is already occupied by the 512MB module).
Physically, the S430 has clean lines, is solidly constructed, and weighs 2kg as it isn't overloaded with ports and buttons. Two USB 2.0 ports reside either side of the unit; a 10/100 Ethernet port and a VGA port reside on the left-hand side; an ExpressCard slot can be found on the right-hand side, along with a DVD burner; the rear of the unit is home to a 3-cell battery, as well as a modem port. The battery lasted 104min in our worst-case scenario test, in which we loop a DVD until the battery runs out of puff. This is a decent result for a 14in notebook. However, DVDs didn't play smoothly, nor look good on this notebook. Images were 'blocky' and image-tearing was visible.
The location of the audio ports on the front of the unit is an inconvenience, especially when the notebook is resting in your lap. Its built-in speakers are small and produce shallow and tinny sound. They're okay for listening to voice-quality audio, but headphones or speakers should be used for listening to music.
Four shortcut buttons are located above the keyboard; these can launch the default e-mail and Web browser programs, switch off the wireless module, as well as launch MSI's configuration utility (for changing the power scheme and video output mode of the notebook).
The keyboard is adequate, for the most part, but the keys feel a little soft and sometimes require an extra hard press to produce a character. Conversely, the Synaptics Touchpad is responsive and feels good to the touch. The 14in widescreen, with a resolution of 1280x800 is adequate, but it's susceptible to reflections from room lights and sunlight. However, with the angle just right, this can be avoided. The brightness level is high enough to allow the notebook to be used outdoors, but only when in a well-shadowed area.
During prolonged use, the in-built fan will kick in to extract the heat generated by the CPU and chipset, but the majority of the heat under the unit is concentrated at the front, where the 80GB hard drive is installed. Some of this heat can also be felt on the palm rest.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 2016 Ford Mustang EcoBoost review
- 2 Review: TCL C1 series 4K TV
- 3 Tech21 Evo Xplorer iPhone case review
- 4 LG 55EG960T OLED UHD TV
- 5 Microsoft Lumia 640 review: Honouring Nokia's legacy
Latest News Articles
- Hands-on with Asus ROG G752 and GeForce GTX 1070 (or holy crap this thing is fast!)
- Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1080, 1070 and 1060 for laptops break the mobile mold
- After delays, Lenovo finally ships its first OLED laptop
- Surface Pro 3's massive battery drain is a software problem, Microsoft says
- Early Android app support rolls out to two more Chromebooks
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (JAVA/J2EE) 160901/AP/781Asia
- CCSenior IT Assistant (Office Automation/PC LAN) 160817/SITA/902Asia
- CCProgram SchedulerVIC
- FTChange Management Specialist - IT Service ManagementNSW
- CCAnalyst Programmer/Snr. Analyst Programmer 20160817/vedAsia
- FTProject Administrator (Agile)WA
- FTPMO SpecialistACT
- CCSharepoint ArchitectACT
- FTDigital Product Owner | Advertising Technology | SearchNSW
- FTSenior Business AnalystVIC
- CCProgram CoordinatorVIC
- CCJava / J2ee ProgrammersACT
- CCCustomer Service SpecialistVIC
- FTSenior Front End Developer (UX/UI)SA
- CCFinance Analyst (Junior)VIC
- FTIT Security & Risk ManagerNSW
- CCJunior/Intermediate Drupal web developer - APS Level 4/5 equiACT
- CCIT Support Officer- SAP (tool experience)NSW
- CCMurex Developers x 2NSW
- CCComms project specialistVIC
- CCImplementation ManagerVIC
- CCChange AnalystVIC
- FTJava Tech Lead - Full StackNSW
- CCProject AnalystVIC