The X Factor – Review MSI X430

The X430 from MSI is finally here. This netbook uses the latest second generation AMD Athlon Neo MV40 Dual Core Processors with the brand new RS780MN and SB710 chipsets that support HD and DirectX 10 technologies to provide unbeatable visual and usage performance often lacking in this range.
The machine comes in white and black, but the former tends to get dirty under the body in Indian conditions and you need to keep cleaning it. But the plastic on the top shell is shiny and does not attract scratches so easily.

The 14” high definition LCD is standard across their series and is fitted with a great 1.3 mega pixel web camera. The HD display supports a brightness of 220 cd/m2 and is formatted using a 16:9 widescreen ratio and displays images with increased clarity and distinctness. The microphone on the machine picked up my voice for a Skype call, though I did have to speak up a bit.

The machine is 24.5 mm thick at the front, but towards the rear, where the battery is located, the machine is thicker. There is an optional eight-cell battery available, but the standard four-cell will support the machine for about 2.5 hours of usage. Though MSI has a 500 GB hard disk option, only the 320 GB version is available here now.

Weighing a cool 1.5 kg, this machine is easy to carry and use on the road. The units feature a full-size keyboard. However, I did not like the placement of the home / page up / page down keys. But having those keys as standard and not as function is a welcome thing.

MSI has also used white LEDs for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, sleep mode, battery charge, caps lock and other indicators as well as on the power button. These also make the machine stand out in a crowd. When the lid is closed the white lights in the front and the wedge that MSI has created to open the lid gives the design a futuristic feel.
On the flipside, the built-in memory card reader supports only MMC and SD cards. It does not have a multi-touch touchpad, but the large button for left and right click and easy to use keybaoard with the large palm rest make up for this.

The unit comes with two USB ports, earphone and microphone connectors and an HDMI output. There is also a standard VGA output so that you can easily hook it up to an external display or projector. Also featured is a Gigabit Ethernet port in case you are going to be using it in the office, and an 802.11b/g/n wireless LAN for high-speed communications.

The X430 comes in two variants, the only difference being the option of Windows 7 Starter Edition (1 GB RAM) or the Windows 7 Home Premium Edition (2GB RAM). The one with the starter edition is priced at Rs 32,000 and the premium edition ships for Rs 35,000.

The above review appeared in the Indian Express, on Sunday 14th March 2010

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