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If its gaming performance is merely okay, the GT740 springs a surprise with some excellent battery life results. In fact, it gives one of the best performances we've come across from a gaming laptop, lasting close to three hours in the Productivity segment of MobileMark 2007 thanks to its capacious 7,800mAh (85Watt-Hour), nine-cell battery. DVD playback with 100 per cent brightness was less impressive, but at an hour and a half still more than enough to watch most films.
Ultimately, though, this isn't the metric by which we judge a gaming laptop, and despite the extras (the rucksack and mouse) and a generous two year warranty, MSI can't boast outstanding value, either. A new version of the Qosmio X500 we reviewed, the Qosmio X500-11M, is now on sale for £1,399 offering a comparable overall spec and a faster GTS 360M GPU. It might have a smaller hard drive and its screen probably won't be as good, but if you can get past the overall glossy finish it will offer a Full HD resolution and an extra inch of viewable screen, a backlit keyboard with a superior layout and a multi-touch touchpad, not to mention the best laptop speakers around.
If you don't mind a smaller display, there's also the 15.6in Novatech X70 to consider. Its faster GTX 260 graphics card and Full HD screen only cost £50 more, though battery life, speakers and keyboard will be far inferior to either of the previous machines.
While the MSI GT740-021UK offers decent value and an excellent screen combined with impressive battery life for a mobile gaming machine, it is let down by an awkward keyboard layout, underpowered graphics card and a 32-bit OS.