Review Price £787.21
The MSI GE620 has some serious power to draw upon, thanks to its excellent Core i7 processor and dedicated graphics chip. Its quad-core i7 CPU runs at 2GHz and will handle virtually any productivity task you could throw at it. The one key limitation here is that there's "just" 4GB of RAM - hardly a paltry amount, but nevertheless dwarfed by the 8GB offered by the Acer Aspire Ethos 5951G.
This extra RAM would come in handy with tasks requiring bundles of data to be thrown around, such as video editing. Nevertheless, the GE620 achieved a very solid score in our PCMark Vantage benchmark, 8228 points. It positively trashes its Core i5 rivals, in spite of having less RAM.
The i7 processor supplies excellent productivity performance
In gaming, the bottleneck is highly likely to be the graphics card, rather than the RAM or processor so it's lucky there's mid-range GeForce GT540m 1GB model in this laptop. Although not a card powerful enough to play the latest games with all shaders set to kill and enough shadow processing to block out the sun, it will handle new games with settings dumbed-down a bit. It fared well in our S.T.A.L.K.E.R. test, coming out with a silky smooth 59fps on average.
The MSI GE620 comes with a light layer of MSI-flavoured bloatware to slow down proceedings a tiny bit, but it's mostly inoffensive stuff and - as usual - easy to remove. One that sticks out is the S-bar. It manifests as a blue star that sits near the top of the screen, bringing up an options bar at the top of the screen when the mouse cursor rolls over it. It's most unnecessary, doubling-up on features already offered by the dedicated hardware buttons and secondary functions on the keyboard, and is about as classy as a children's party magician - but easy enough to uninstall.
Faced with our standard MobileMark battery test, which simulates normal productivity-based usage, the GE620 lasted for 207 minutes. Like the 2.6kg weight, it ensures this isn't a day-to-day portable device, but will suffice for occasional trips away from the plug socket. However, it's a good hour less than some similarly-priced alternatives - albeit ones with less powerful processors.
Its CPU and GPU combo makes this laptop a formidable package that's good value at £779. However, it's not alone here. The Acer 5750G and Asus N53SV offer the same graphics card - and hence comparable gaming performance - for as much as £200 less. They don't have the cracking i7 processor too, though, and do have slightly worse screen performance, so the price difference is not entirely unjustified.
The MSI GE620 is a solid all-rounder, offering a great processor and decent graphics card at a reasonable price. However, its design is uninspired and the lack of a Blu-ray drive is slightly disappointing - it could have marked this model as one of the best entertainment laptops in its category.