The super-sleek MSI X600 215UK MS-1691 from MSI is remarkably slim for a budget laptop.

With a maximum thickness of 25mm and a weight of less than 2.2kg the MSI X600 215UK MS-1691 is surprisingly portable for a 15.6in model. Toshiba’s T130 may be smaller and lighter – but it’s only a 13.3in model.

However while its dimensions may be both ergonomic and eye-catching, the MSI X600 215UK MS-1691's build quality just isn’t quite as impressive as the likes of Toshiba or HP. It might be unkind to call it flimsy, but its very ‘plastic’ feel combines with its super thinness to leave it rather flexible.

A full-width keyboard, complete with numeric keypad – although devoid of any dedicated special function buttons – sits above the MSI X600 215UK MS-1691's expansive wrist rest area which houses a multi-touch capable touchpad. A helpful removable sticker describes how to use a pair of fingers to scroll, rotate or pinch-to-zoom.

MSI’s supporting software is very good and with hard drive recover built into the MSI X600 215UK MS-1691's BIOS it’s easy to restore the system to the factory configuration.

At the heart of the MSI X600 215UK MS-1691 is a 1.3GHz Intel U2700 ultra-low voltage processor. This is a single-core chip more often seen in smaller, less ambitious-looking laptops; and the performance it delivers certainly isn’t as good as some competing models. It does however allow for a considerable improvement in battery life. This is the same processor used in Toshiba’s Satellite T130, and like the Toshiba it comes with a whopping 60Wh battery. MSI’s design is wide and flat, though, which gets around the need for a lumpy battery bulge at the rear.

Interestingly, MSI has chosen to pair up this frugal CPU with a discrete graphics solution in the form of a ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 with 512MB RAM. This leaves us with the interesting combination of one of the slowest processors and what is a fast graphics performance.

When it comes to 3D graphics it’s around twice as fast as its nearest competitor, the Acer Aspire 5740, which is itself about twice as fast as the rest. So if you’d like to play the occasional 3D game, the MSI X600 215UK MS-1691 is definitely your best bet.

Unfortunately, the larger screen and beefy graphics processor leave the MSI X600 215UK MS-1691 way behind the Satellite T130 in battery life, lasting just under 4 hours, despite the near-identical CPU and battery configuration.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

MSI X600 215UK MS-1691: Specs

  • 1.3GHz Intel Pentium SU2700
  • 15.6in glossy, 1366x768
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
  • 3GB DDR2-800 RAM
  • 320GB 5400rpm SATA 3Gb/s HDD
  • ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 (512MB)
  • HDMI, VGA
  • Four speakers with Dolby Home Theatre, headphone jack, mic
  • 3x USB 2.0, eSATA (shared with USB)
  • 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth, gigabit, SD/SDHC/MMC
  • webcam, multitouch touchpad
  • 60Wh Li-ion, removable
  • 392x255x25mm
  • 2162g
  • 1.3GHz Intel Pentium SU2700
  • 15.6in glossy, 1366x768
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
  • 3GB DDR2-800 RAM
  • 320GB 5400rpm SATA 3Gb/s HDD
  • ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 (512MB)
  • HDMI, VGA
  • Four speakers with Dolby Home Theatre, headphone jack, mic
  • 3x USB 2.0, eSATA (shared with USB)
  • 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth, gigabit, SD/SDHC/MMC
  • webcam, multitouch touchpad
  • 60Wh Li-ion, removable
  • 392x255x25mm
  • 2162g

OUR VERDICT

Sadly the slim profile means there’s no room for an optical drive, and unplugged runtime is disappointing considering the large battery pack. If your needs are more gaming oriented, the graphics power available in the MSI X600 215UK MS-1691 means that at £399, the X600 is very good value indeed.

Find the best price