With impressive everyday performance and an integrated graphics card to help improve battery life, the MSI PR600 (£649 inc. VAT) makes a useful tool for the corporate user.
It's a semi-portable machine, featuring a 15.4-inch screen. We found the colours were bright and vibrant, helped by the glossy Super-TFT coating. Reflections were occasionally distracting in brighter conditions, as is often the case with Super-TFT displays.
The integrated Intel GMA X3100 graphics card offers a more impressive battery life than a dedicated GPU would, but 3D performance is sacrificed as a result. This is a reasonable compromise for most business users, as it's still more than capable of running regular tasks such as an office suite, browsing the internet or playing the occasional DVD.
Using Windows Vista's Power Saver mode, we managed to get a useful 230 minutes from a single charge. With performance settings turned up, this dropped to 160 minutes.
Every millimetre of this laptop's width has been used, allowing the manufacturer to cram in a numeric keypad. We found this was ideal for entering data, but it comes at a cost. Peripheral keys on the right side of the board have been compromised in size, and the half-sized enter, shift and full stop keys slowed us down when typing. On the plus side, the keys were well-attached and responsive.
The touchpad was also accurate and easy to use, but its large size means it's too easy to catch with your thumbs as you type, accidentally highlighting or moving text. It's a comfortable machine to use, and remains cool to the touch even after long periods of use.
Build quality is reasonable, with a sturdy chassis, although the display flexed under pressure. If you intend to take this laptop on the road with you, a tough laptop case is recommended.
When it comes to running office tasks, the MSI was impressive. The 2GHz processor and 2048MB of memory at its heart may only be average, but performance was impressive. The Windows Vista Home Premium operating system booted quickly and there was virtually no lag, even when running multiple applications. You'll be able to store thousands of files, music and photographs on the 160GB hard drive.
If multimedia performance doesn't matter to you, and you're seeking a laptop with good everyday performance, the MSI PR600 is worth a look. The cramped keyboard lets it down, but there's still a lot on offer for your money.