MSI's GX700-225UK (£899 inc. VAT) is a light laptop and strikes a great compromise between performance and mobility.

It's still a big machine, with a 17-inch screen, but you'll be able to take it out and about if need be.

Hit and miss screen

The display has a resolution of 1680 x 1050 pixels, which is lower than most of its rivals. Images appeared sharp, however, and the larger text and icons will suit some users.

Vivid colours make it ideal for watching movies, but there's no remote control and no hardware buttons for controlling media applications. It also fails to match its rivals for brightness, which can hide details during some games.

Compact laptop

Due to the slimmer chassis, there's only space for one GPU - a mid-range nVidia GeForce 8600M GT.

It lacks the power of its bigger rivals, but the MSI is still capable of running many games with ease. You'll have to turn down resolution or detail settings in the latest titles, however.

As well as being a light laptop at 3.4kg, the MSI also features a small chassis. The keyboard sits in the middle, with space on either side. As with the other machines, a dedicated numeric keypad is fitted.

The large numbered keys affect the size of the main board, making some keys smaller than ideal. Once accustomed to this, however, it's easy to type at speed, as the keys are responsive and firmly attached.

Understated design

The GX700's design is understated, but the glossy styling is attractive.

The palm rests and mouse buttons are also finished in the same plastic, which is a magnet for fingerprints and scratches.

It also has a sturdy design and both the lid and chassis are capable of withstanding knocks.

Impressive performance

Those wanting a machine for regular, everyday use will not be disappointed with the GX700.

It's high-end 2.4GHz Intel processor and 3072MB of memory ensured it performed admirably in our benchmarks, and we found it ran smoothly at all times. The 320GB hard drive offers plenty of space for storing your multimedia files.

You'll be able to connect to a high-definition display using the built-in HDMI port, and older monitors can be plugged-in using the VGA port. Standard software includes Halo 2 - a FPS (First Person Shooter) game.

One for the casual gamer

Despite the lack of power compared to its rivals, the MSI makes excellent sense if you're a casual gamer.

There's enough performance to play most games, it's a comfortable and well-made chassis, and the portability on offer means it's a machine you can actually use every day.