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Budget laptops Reviews
15,670 Reviews

MSI VR630 review

£480 inc VAT

Manufacturer: MSI

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

The MSI VR630 is a sub-£500 budget laptop with 16in widescreen display.

The MSI VR630 is a sub-£500 budget laptop with 16in widescreen display.

For less than £500, it's now quite possible to find a fully featured, full-size laptop. We tried the MSI VR630, a 16in display model with 2GHz processor and 250GB of storage. And at less than 2.5kg, it shouldn't break your shoulder either.

The basic running spec of the MSI VR630 is quite impressive for the price: there's the quarter-terrabyte hard disk, 3GM RAM, a choice of two card slots, 16in widescreen LCD and dual-layer DVD rewriter. Costs have mainly been cut with the choice of processor, a 2GHz AMD dual-core Athlon CPU that doesn't have the speed or efficiency of the latest Intel parts. Based on older 65nm technology, it lists a reasonably good thermal design power (TDP) of 25W.

In our benchmark tests, the VR630 scored 69 in WorldBench 6; that's around ten points down on what we'd expect of a comparably clocked Intel Core 2 Duo. It may run hotter too, apparent by the steady exhaust of warm air from a rear vent, and all too obvious from the battery life figures.

We gave the VR630 a couple of runs with MobileMark 2007, but couldn't coax a better lifetime than 110 minutes from it.

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Build quality is reasonably robust, with a dark glossy top panel above, discreetly patterned with wavy lines, covering a simple and functional keyboard and silver-painted palm rest deck underneath.

The keyboard is full width with numeric keypad included, but the action is rather poor - too much flex in the middle and with floppy action to the keys themselves. To switch on facilities such as wireless and webcam, you use touch-sensitive areas hidden between keyboard and screen.

Thankfully the trackpad and mouse buttons were more assured in their action, with the buttons handily positioned for relaxed use.

Screen colour quality was far from top league, looking a little milky and low in contrast. With 16in across the diagonal, though, the screen is a good size to get things done or simply watch films or video. Sound proved to be tolerable but tinny from a pair of speakers fixed on the far left and right of the top deck.

NEXT PAGE: Our expert verdict >>

MSI VR630 Expert Verdict »

2GHz AMD Athlon X2 QL-62
2x512KB L2 cache
16in (1366x768) 16:9 LCD
Microsoft Windows Home Premium 32-bit
250GB 2.5in 5400rpm SATA-II HDD
3GB (1x2GB, 1x1GB) DDR2 RAM
nVidia GeForce 9100M G 256MB
DVD±RW DL drive
3 x USB 2.0
mini FireWire
gigabit ethernet
SD card slot
mic in, headphone out, line out
stereo speakers
built-in mic
1.3Mp webcam
56k modem
4400mAh battery
  • Build Quality: We give this item 7 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 8 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

At a price of £480 or less, the MSI VR630 provides plenty of laptop for not too much money. Its dual-core processor is fast enough to get work done, there’s a useful amount of RAM ready fitted, and 250GB of storage is not to be sniffed at. Providing you don’t need to use the VR630 away from the mains, there’s no major weaknesses to this budget portable.

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