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MSI GT627-246UK 15.4in Gaming Laptop - MSI GT627-246UK
Beside a blue-backlit power button (which would have looked nicer were it backlit in red to match the rest of the machine), the aforementioned touch-strip includes media controls, wireless, Bluetooth and webcam switches, as well as a user definable 'button'. These touch controls are among the more responsive efforts, with even light and consecutive taps registering instantaneously.
This is also where you'll find the Eco and Turbo controls. Eco offers Gaming, Movie, Presentation, Office and Turbo Battery modes, each of which adjusts settings for optimum battery life under the chosen activity, bringing up a colourful corresponding icon on-screen. Turbo, meanwhile, overclocks the CPU for increased performance, which definitely had an effect, making some of our CPU-intensive benchmarks up to a third quicker! Of course this does come at the cost of extra heat and power consumption.
As usual with MSI, the keyboard is a bit of a mixed bag. On the plus side, the company has managed to fit in a full number pad, which is always a nice touch on a gaming machine. This has led to a few sacrifices however, such as a smaller US-style Enter key and short right-Shift key. Another layout complaint is that the Fn key is still to the outside of Ctrl. WASD and cursor keys are marked in red, though any gamer who can't find these in his/her sleep doesn't deserve the title. In terms of feedback, keys feel a bit squishy due to a high amount of flex, though if you can get past this the GT627's keyboard isn't too bad to type on.
Thankfully, there's nothing to criticise about the touchpad. It's large with a smooth surface and the attractive, etched aluminium buttons below it are well-positioned and offer positive feedback.
Getting onto connectivity, we have a modem port and USB port on the laptop's left alongside the provided Blu-ray drive, in addition to the welcome appearance of four 3.5mm audio inputs and outputs, which combined can offer analogue 7.1 surround sound.
On the front there's only a small IR receiver, while to the right you'll find a 54mm ExpressCard slot, memory card reader, mini-FireWire, two USB ports (one dedicated and one with eSATA support), and a Gigabit Ethernet socket. Finally at the machine's back, we have the power input, VGA and HDMI connections, and a small antenna output, which is redundant because no tuner is installed.