makers have long since began to attempt to match, or even exceed, the
Apple MacBook Air's incredibly thin profile (even thinner now, after
that recent refresh), with varying degrees of success. One of the
first companies to release one of these Air “clones” was MSI, and
the company has officially launched a few new models into its X-Slim
line – the X460 and X460DX, sporting 14” screens and new
hardware, although they don't seem to be quite as thin as some of the
earlier models, at least partly as a result of the built-in optical
chassis is just one inch thick at its thickest point, and the whole
thing measures 13.35 x 9.43” (W x L inches) with a weight of
4.3lbs. The palmrests and the lid are both made of brushed aluminium
with most of the other surfaces composed of either glossy or matte plastic. While not completely gone, it's good to see that the glossy plastic-on-every-square-millimeter-of-your-laptop trend is on its way out.
base model X460DX-008US
is priced at around $799.99 and includes an Intel Core i3-2310M processor,
4GB of DDR3 memory, a 500GB 7200rpm hard drive, an NVIDIA GeForce GT
540M graphics chip (with its own gig of DDR3 RAM), and Windows 7 Home
Premium. An extra $100 gets you the X460DX-006US
model, which brings a Core i5-2410M CPU in to replace the i3 and an
extra 2GB of RAM for a grand total of 6GB.
there does not seem to be an SSD option, which would make a lot of
sense for these thin ultraportables. Regardless, MSI promises eight
hours of battery life, which should be good enough for a lot of
people, and of course, with an SSD in place, the price would be quite
a bit higher.
that aforementioned 14” display sports a 1366x768-pixel resolution
and a glossy finish, while the keyboard is done up in that chiclet
spaced-out style that a lot of people like. There is 802.11n WiFi, a
Gigabit ethernet port, Intel WiDi 2.0 support (for wirelessly
connecting your laptop to a supported TV), two USB 3.0 ports, and one
USB 2.0 port rounding out the bulk of the connectivity options.
there's also a 1.3-megapixel webcam, a card reader capable of reading
SDXC and MMC cards, and THX TruStudio Pro audio. I don't think I've
seen any laptop (besides the Macs) with SDXC slots yet, so this is a
pretty welcome addition.
we get to the “vanilla” X460-004US
model, the specs of which may cause a few people to scratch their
heads. $1199.99 gets you a very capable Intel Core i7-2630QM
quad-core processor (compared to those dual-Core i3 and i5 models),
but you'll have to say goodbye to the GeForce card for the privilege,
and deal with the processor's integrated (read: much slower) Intel HD
3000 graphics. You also get a 750GB, 7200rpm hard disk, 6GB of RAM,
and Windows 7 Professional. All of the other specifications are the
same as the lesser models.
seems like this particular model is aimed more toward business
customers, and could be an alternative to the Dell Vostro V131, which
while even thinner, has a smaller screen, no built-in optical drive,
and no quad-core CPU option.
three of the X460 variants are currently available at certain online
retailers like Amazon here. A little something to add – it looks like hardware
upgrades will be pretty easy to do, as there seems to be one massive
upgrade panel on the bottom that can be removed to access the RAM,
hard disk and a few other components. A lot of notebooks don't allow
such easy upgrading possibilities (I'm looking at you, Dell) so it's
good to see.