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MSI GT680 - Screen and Speakers
We've been consistently impressed with the displays found on MSI's gaming laptop range, and thankfully the GT680 does nothing to alter that impression. The glossy, 15.6in screen sports a resolution of 1,366 x 768, which is par for the course. While we do like seeing 1080p panels even with a screen this small, you'll be able to enjoy higher detail settings in games while staying at the panel's native resolution. The glossy screen finish turns it into a mirror with ambient light present, but does at least enhance perceived contrast and colour vibrancy.
Not that the panel needs much help in these regards. Colours are never less than rich and vivid, while contrast is very good. As with many entertainment-oriented laptops, white differentiation has been sacrificed in favour of excellent performance at the dark end of the greyscale, meaning you'll see all the detail in gloomy games and films. This is aided by impressive horizontal viewing angles, lacking the handicap of contrast shift. Some minor colour shift does occur, and vertical angles are as weak as ever so you have to be careful how you angle the display, but it's nonetheless an excellent performer.
The positives continue with fairly even backlighting and no sign of light bleed. Dithering is present if you look carefully, but there's not a hint of banding and sharpness is flawless. Overall it's certainly superior to the vast majority of laptop screens.
Nor does the GT680's audio let things down. Helped along by THX TruStudio PRO processing, the four Dynaudio-branded speakers and subwoofer produce a soundstage offering excellent depth and dimensionality. Explosions, gunshots and thumping tracks are pushed out with plenty of body, as the speakers offer far more bass than most laptop setups manage.
Just be sure to keep them below their maximum volume, where some distortion is introduced – but worry not, you'll still easily fill a small room at lower settings. Our one criticism is a slight lack of clarity, but for entertainment these easily match the audio performance of the Toshiba Qosmio X500 and are almost on par with the Asus G73Jh.