September 30, 2011
- Portable & attractive design
- Two USB 3.0 ports
- Dual-switchable graphics
- Solid performance
- Slow touchpad responsiveness
- Weak speakers
The MSI X460DX is a very portable 14-inch laptop that has a solid, brushed-aluminum design with lots of offer. It has two of the latest USB 3.0 ports, an Intel Core i5 CPU, 6GB of RAM and discrete graphics. This is definitely a mobile laptop for power users, but it's not without some minor flaws.
The MSI X460DX has a black, brushed-aluminum cover that is both physically solid and visually appealing. It does attract a lot of fingerprints, but it's definitely a stand-out laptop in terms of design. The same brushed metal look moves across the lower part of the keyboard deck on both sides of the touchpad. It has a lightweight and portable frame at 13.4 x 9.4 x 1-inches (wdh) and weighs just over 4-pounds, so it can easily be put into a backpack or briefcase for a long day's work without much hassle.
The keyboard is a chiclet-style keyboard with matte-black keys that offer good touch and feel. The keys seem to be adequately sized and even offer some additional keys, like page up/down, etc. across the right edge. One thing that could've improved the keyboard was a backlight, but as the old saying goes, "beggars can't be choosers".
We found the built-in speakers to be on the weak side, meaning they didn't produce loud-enough sound and the sound they did make was tinny at best.
The touchpad is multitouch enabled, but we found the responsiveness of the pad to be slightly slow at times. We aren't sure if it was a driver issue or the design of the touchpad, but we did like the texture of the circular design on the touchpad. Under the pad's surface is a chrome-like bar that gives a solid click when pressed.
MSI's 14-inch display has a native resolution of 1366 x 768-pixels, which is the category standard for these laptops. It has a very glossy finish yet it doesn't reflect a lot of ambient light, which is a typical complaint of glossy screens. The quality of the screen was good as it offered decent brightness and contrast as well as good color representation due to the glossy finish.
In terms of ports, the MSI X460DX offers lots: two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, HDMI-out, VGA-out, Ethernet, audio ports and a 4-in-1 memory card reader. We really appreciated MSI's inclusion of USB 3.0, which is rapidly becoming standard for new computers. Wireless connectivity is limited to 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi.
The specifications of this laptop include a second-generation Intel Core i5-2410M CPU (2.3GHz; up to 2.9GHz w/ TurboBoost), 6GB of RAM, a 500GB 7200RPM hard drive, a SuperMulti DVDR/RW drive and discrete Nvidia GeForce GT540M graphics with 1GB of dedicated video memory in addition to integrated Intel HD graphics. The 7200RPM hard drive and second-generation Intel CPU making a solid performance combination, especially in the realm of multitasking. The dual graphics means that when the discrete graphics isn't needed for improved performance, the integrated Intel graphics can be used instead for improved battery life.
Performance is very good, but certainly not the highest available. It does very well with multitasking, productivity tasks, watching HD videos and much more. The average business user, home user or student will find this computer to suit their needs nicely. The discrete Nvidia graphics provides an OK 3D gaming experience, but if you want a computer for true 3D gaming, this isn't for you. It does, however, do very well in streaming HD video and all other non-gaming graphics.
Battery life is about 6:30 hours, which is about average for a typical 14-inch portable laptop with similar specifications. This rating is, however, for when the Intel integrated graphics is used exclusively. If the discrete Nvidia graphics system is used, this time will decrease by about 1.5 hours or so.