Following on from our Asus review in August, we got to take a look at another mid range laptop, this time the MSI CX640.
The CX640, like the Asus, is also powered by an Intel i5 2410M Processor, 4GB or DDR III RAM, and boasts a 15.6” LED backlit display with a native resolution of 1366 x 768. Like most i5 powered laptops it also includes an additional graphics card to supplement the Intel chip, in this case an Nvidia GeForce GT520M, which is a fairly basic level graphics card.
Storage is handled by a 500GB hard drive, which is conveniently pre-formatted into a system drive and a separate data drive, and onboard wireless networking is provided by a wireless 802.11 b/g/n lan. Aesthetically the CX640 features a mainly plastic body that mimics brushed aluminium, which is a bit basic compared to other laptops in the same range, which feature a metal body or surround. The keyboard is fairly standard for a laptop of its size, with one anomaly: in order to accommodate a full size shift key, MSI have shrunk the size of the arrow keys dramatically. Personally I would prefer the half size shift key that most laptops offer instead of the smaller arrow keys. The mouse tracking pad is also a bit lacking, I am not a huge fan of textured tracking pads, but that is personal taste. What is less than ideal though is the decision to cover both mouse pad buttons with one cover. While this may look nice, it means that you have to click on either edge of the bar to ensure you get the button that you want. The CX640 also features a multi DVD drive and a built in webcam.
In terms of peripherals, the CX640 has all of the standard features you would expect, including 4 USB ports (2 x USB2, 2 x USB3), VGA and HDMI out and a multi card reader. MSI have also included a couple of nice bonus features including an auto backup system and a built in light sensor for the display.
Nice ergonomic case shape
Some nice built in features like auto brightness
Textured touch pad can be annoying
Single mouse button cover makes clicking slightly more difficult
Not really suited to gaming
The MSI CX640 is a good all round laptop providing all the features you would expect from an entry level - mid range model. Due to the average graphics card and small arrow keys, serious gamers will probably need to look elsewhere. The laptop does show some good technical features that mainstream users are sure to appreciate.