Mainstream gaming is console gaming these days. It's as simple as that. But for high-precision games, a controller will never better a mouse and keyboard combo. You'll need to plug a mouse into the MSI GE620 if you want to snipe away with the best on Counterstrike, but do so and its dedicated graphics card makes it a bit of an affordable gaming powerhouse.
Getting gaming performance demands serious sacrifices in several areas - one is looks. Laptops like the MSI GE620 need to fit in more components than the average "simple" laptop, so tend to be heavier and chunkier than models more adept at filling spreadsheets than polygons. At 2.6kg, this isn't a laptop to carry around with you all day, but it packs some serious components into that girth.
Our review configuration featured a Core i7 processor, 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive and the all-important GeForce GT540m graphics card. We'll get onto what kind of performance this gets you later on.
The GE620 does demand that you care about performance, though, because its design won't get many of you excited. Both the inside and outside are finished in plastic dressed up to look like bronze-brown brushed metal. It doesn't look awful, but is the sort of laptop that gets certain Apple fans wondering why anyone would ever buy a PC. However, the keyboard area is pretty fingerprint-resistant - at least it won't become an expensive set of greasy smudges within five minutes of firing-up World of Warcraft.
Don't yawn. It's impolite.
It also doesn't have any too-loud signposts of its gaming style. There are red markers on the direction keys and the WASD keys - which will already be too much for some - but there are no LEDs hiding behind grills or cooling vents, and no OTT Alienware-style contours, ridges or extraterrestrial heads tacked-on. It's a tad drab, but at least it's not gaudy or offensive.
On-body connectivity is decent. There are two USB 3.0 ports on the left edge, alongside a full-size HDMI video output and mic/headphone 3.5mm sockets. This side also holds the power socket and Kensington lock (which we imagine about three buyers will actually use). On the other edge sits the Ethernet port, VGA video output and a USB 2.0 port - for old times' sake. The DVD writer sits alongside, and is unusually opened using a button that sits above the keyboard, rather than one on the drive itself. More importantly, though, it's not a Blu-ray player, losing the MS GE620 some entertainment brownie points.
The disc eject button sits alongside a whole row of handy physical button shortcuts above the keyboard - so a way apart from the drive itself. One shuts off the display near-instantly, to save battery while you go for a pee. Another brings up battery options. The final two launch apps - one of your choosing and the other Windows Media Player. This row of six buttons (finished off by the power button) is hemmed-in by the two speaker grills. It's a little hive of functionality, but the MSI GE620 would look a whole lot classier if this whole area was covered with the plain, pervasive faux-metal that smothers the rest of the laptop. Then again, it wouldn't be a proper gaming PC if it didn't look at least a bit outlandish.