Keyboard flex evident
Shiny plastic design collects fingerprints
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MSI (or Micro-Star International) is a Taiwanese company that's best known for manufacturing components, but it also builds a range of laptops. The CR620-643UK is from its Classic range and provides both great performance and value for money.
If you often work with a number of applications open at once and regularly multitask, then you're going to need the power offered by these Intel Core i3 machines, as neither the Acer Aspire 5336-T353G32Mnkk or Dell Inspiron M5030 test provide enough performance.
The integrated Intel GMA HD graphics card provides enough power for basic multimedia tasks, such as photo editing, and you'll have no problem watching DVDs or streaming YouTube videos.
Battery life: 234 minutes
MobileMark 2007: 225
3DMark 2003: 3197
Considering the power of the components onboard, the 234-minute battery life is excellent. It can't compete with the Dell Inspiron M5030, but will at least allow you a bit of time to work on the move.
Connectivity is strong. The three USB ports allow you to connect a plethora of peripherals, while it's great to see VGA and HDMI video outs included. This means you'll be able to connect to both analogue and high-definition monitors, and enjoy your content on the big screen.
We were impressed by the display and, although the Lenovo G560 comes very close, this laptop boasts an excellent screen. It's almost painfully bright on its highest setting and represses reflections from overhead lighting remarkably well, making it ideal for use outdoors in the garden or park.
MSI has used the popular isolated key style here with some success, but there's too much flexibility in the keyboard for it to compete with the Lenovo G560 on this front – which still has the best typing action. Also the Return key has been cut down in size, making it easy to miss.
Build quality is just as impressive, but a shiny finish has been implemented. This looks great until covered in fingerprints and smears, which it quickly attracts. There's also a gold lined pattern on the lid and chassis, which may put some off.
MSI is really starting to impress us with its laptops. The CR620-643UK may not be perfect – the keyboard, for example, is an issue the company would do well to sort out – but the power and portability on offer, combined with the excellent usability of the screen, make this a true bargain at this price, and one that's likely to last you for quite a while.
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