With a powerful nVidia GeForce 8600M GT graphics card in place, the MSI GX700 offers a great 3D performance, and we had no trouble running the most demanding of games.

The GX700 features a screen with a 1680 x 1050-pixel resolution which, as you'd expect, results in sharper images than you'll find on many rival machines.

Glossy display

Unusually for a consumer laptop, the 17-inch screen is a standard TFT panel.

Without a glossy finish, it performed far better in brighter conditions, with reflections and fingerprints kept to a minimum. It also offered vivid colours, making it a great choice for gamers and movie fans alike.

MSI has squeezed in a numeric keypad alongside the main board, which can come in useful when gaming, but its inclusion has compromised the size of some of the keys.

With smaller than average Shift, Enter and full-stop keys, it's easy to make mistakes when typing at speed.

Compact laptop

Despite the big screen, the MSI retains an element of portability.

The chassis measures 39mm in depth, which is comparable with smaller laptops.

A weight of 3.4kg means you'll be able to take it out of the house if you need to.

Decent design

Build quality is reasonable, although the GX700 is not as tough as some of its peers.

The glossy finish of the lid is carried through to the inside of the machine, with shiny palm rests and mouse buttons.

Although it seemed resistant to scratches, it did pick up lots of fingerprints, and grew warm to the touch when running games.

Low performance

Everyday performance turned out to be slightly disappointing, with the MSI's entry-level Intel Core 2 Duo mobile processor struggling with our benchmarks.

With 3072MB of memory, you'll still be able to run applications without too much lag, but those wanting a laptop capable of running plenty of applications or office work should probably look elsewhere.

802.11n wireless LAN and Gigabit Ethernet offer the fastest connections to networks currently available, so you'll be able to play games online, and those wanting to hook up a high-definition (HD) display can do so using the HDMI port.

Great value gaming

With a compromised user-interface and below average office performance, the GX700 is not a great all-rounder.

However, with powerful graphics and impressive connectivity, it is excellent value for money, and if you're seeking a gaming laptop, this is the one for you.