We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Budget laptops Reviews
15,670 Reviews

MSI CR650 review

£430 inc VAT

Manufacturer: MSI

Our Rating: We rate this 3 out of 5

MSI’s CR650 suffers from one major drawback in the shape of an underpowered AMD processor.

MSI’s CR650 suffers from one major drawback in the shape of an underpowered AMD processor. The dual-core 1.6GHz E350 just doesn’t have enough grunt to keep the MSI’s performance on a par with many of the other laptops in the group and looks particularly slow in comparison to the latest Intel Core i3 and i5 processors.

A WorldBench 6 score of 54 isn’t disastrous, but with the newer AMD processors scoring around 80 and the Packard Bell’s i5 chip hitting 118 – well over double that of the CR650 – the MSI is a bit of a slouch. Gaming performance isn’t much to speak of, with the integrated AMD Radeon HD 6310 chip unable to cope with the rigours of FEAR. To top it off the glossy screen is unimpressive, with the 1366 x 768 resolution seemingly not sharp enough for the 15.6in screen.

Sound quality is better than most, however, and the keyboard is mostly fine, though the Return key is an unusual shape, making it easy to hit the Hash key by mistake. A numeric keypad is present and we’re rather fond of the textured touchpad – though it feels odd at first, you soon get used to it and it makes it very easy to tell if you have your finger in the right place without having to take your eyes off the screen.

Other specifications are solid without being outstanding – there’s a 500GB hard drive, a dual-layer DVD writer, three USB 2.0 ports, a webcam and HDMI and VGA ports and an SD Card reader, but the MSI just doesn’t have the feature set or build quality to match up to the opposition in this category, unfortunately. This makes the price tag of £430 even more difficult to swallow, as there are several models offering more for less.

MSI CR650 Expert Verdict »

1.6GHz AMD E350 dual-core
15.6in glossy LED backlit
1366 x 768 screen
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
GBDDR3-1333MHz
500GB HDD 5400rpm
Integrated AMD Radeon HD 6310M
VGA, HDMI
stereo speakers, headphone jack,mic input
3 x USB 2.0
DVD±RW DL/RAM
802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1
SD/SDHC/MS
48Wh, lithium-ion removable battery 342 minutes
383 x 250 x 38mm, 2.3kg
  • Overall: We give this item 6 of 10 overall

Outdated, underpowered processor aside, there is little to recommend the MSI CR650. It feels flimsy and the glossy finish is prone to picking up fingerprints, though we must admit that the lid does a very solid job of protecting the screen, with no marks showing no matter how hard you press. The audio quality, keyboard and touchpad are reasonable, but the other contenders simply have more to offer. The screen is a particular letdown, and considering that’s the component you’re going to spend most of your time staring at, we’d advise you to look elsewhere.

  • MSI X430 review

    MSI X430

    The MSI X430 is a slim, thin and light laptop with a 14-inch screen and based on AMD's "ultrathin" notebook platform, the Athlon Neo MV-40 1.6-GHz processor (also found on the MSI Wind12 U210).

  • MSI GeForce GTX 650 Power Edition OC review

    MSI GeForce GTX 650 Power Edition OC

    The nVidia GeForce GTX 650 gets a gentle upgrade by MSI with the MSI N650 PE 1GD5/OC graphics card.

  • MSI Wind U210-075UK review

    MSI Wind U210-075UK

    MSI has kept the ‘Wind’ moniker for its new U210-075UK netbook but, besides the familiar curvy body, almost everything has changed.

  • MSI GeForce GTX 650 Ti OC Boost Twin Frozr review: new midprice champ worth investigating

    MSI GeForce GTX 650 Ti OC Boost Twin Frozr: new midprice champ worth investigating

    The MSI GeForce GTX 650 Ti OC Boost Twin Frozr is high-performance, high-value graphics card that may set the new benchmark at the price.

  • Dell Vostro 3550 review

    Dell Vostro 3550

    The Dell Vostro 3550 is a 15.6in, 2.7kg business notebook with a swag of great features


IDG UK Sites

Best Christmas 2014 UK tech deals, Boxing Day 2014 UK tech deals & January sales 2015 UK tech...

IDG UK Sites

Apple's 2014 highlights: the most significant Apple news of 2014

IDG UK Sites

See the festive spots creative companies have released for Christmas

IDG UK Sites

Ultimate iOS 8 Tips: 35 awesome and advanced tips for using iOS 8 on iPhone and iPad