MSI MegaBook S425 review

Does MSI have what it takes to compete in the notebook world

Great looking, yet this is a very poor laptop

TechRadar Verdict

Good looks and display, poor overall

Pros

  • +

    Good looks

Cons

  • -

    Very poor across the board

Why you can trust TechRadar Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

MSI is perhaps best known in the UK for its motherboards. However, the company also make graphics cards, TV tuners, MP3 players, routers, wireless access points and just about everything else you could imagine - including notebooks like the MegaBook S425.

So why isn't MSI a bigger name? There's no clue from the MegaBook itself: the black case, white and silver logo and relatively lightweight (2.4kg) design make it all look very attractive.

Turn the S425 on and you'll be impressed by the bright, clear 14-inch screen. It's powered by a GeForce Go G200 chipset, which gets you as close to gameplaying capability as you have any right to expect for this price.

That's not too close, actually, but you should be able to install most modern games and might occasionally get a barely acceptable 20-odd frames per second if you turn the quality settings down. All this seems very desirable, until you explore further. Then the problems start to appear.

Trackpad issues

The S425 doesn't have the most powerful of specifications. There's a feeble Dothan CPU (the second slowest here), a very slow hard drive that's only 60GB and only 512MB of RAM. Somehow it still fared acceptably in MobileMark, returning a score of 191, but we still wouldn't rate it performance-wise.

It also has an unresponsive trackpad which required tweaks to the default settings to get it close to acceptable. Even then, the buttons proved annoying: they're too small, difficult to distinguish by feel alone, and right up against the edge of the notebook, making every click a little fiddly.

There are plus points such as Bluetooth, a bundled 'glass' mouse and an extensive range of Cyberlink DVD and video software. Yet they always seem to be outweighed by the problems, such as the inclusion of a combo drive (reads, but doesn't write DVDs). Even the £699 price tag isn't an excuse, because HiGrade delivers a better system for £100 less. You're better off looking elsewhere. Mike Williams

Tech.co.uk was the former name of TechRadar.com. Its staff were at the forefront of the digital publishing revolution, and spearheaded the move to bring consumer technology journalism to its natural home – online. Many of the current TechRadar staff started life a Tech.co.uk staff writer, covering everything from the emerging smartphone market to the evolving market of personal computers. Think of it as the building blocks of the TechRadar you love today.