MSI Mega Book S260

Below the screen is an array of five buttons. At the center is a small round power button, surrounded by, yep, you guessed it, a blue light. To the left of the power button are shortcuts to your email client and web browser, while to the right you'll find a switch for the WiFi adapter and a zoom button. The latter button didn't appear to work, but looking at the spec sheet that MSI sent me, this final button is supposed to be user programmable - so I guess the picture of the magnifying glass is a little misleading.

The keyboard is an off-white colour, to keep the theme going and it looks pretty good. Unfortunately, it's more pleasing aesthetically than it is to use. By no means is this the worst keyboard I've ever used, but it does exhibit far too much flex, especially when typing at speed. Although there is a decent amount of travel in the keys, the break isn't solid enough and achieving a fluid typing rate is quite difficult. If there's one aspect of the S260 that MSI should improve before the notebook goes into full production, it's the keyboard.

The silver touchpad does its job well, as do the two buttons beneath it. Unfortunately there's no scrolling section on the touchpad, and the lack of a scroll lock button beneath the touchpad means that you're going to have to move the pointer to the scroll bar in a window in order to navigate up and down.

On the right of the chassis you'll find the power socket, a D-SUB output for hooking up to an external monitor, a network port, a modem socket and two USB 2.0 ports. At the front there's an array of indicator lights, a four-pin FireWire port, a headphone socket and a mic socket.

The left side is dominated by optical drive - the review sample shipped with a DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive, but the production units will sport DVD writers. Also on the left side is another USB 2.0 port, a Type II PC Card slot and a memory card reader that accepts SD, MMC and MemoryStick.

Inside the Mega Book S260 is an Intel Pentium M 1.6GHz processor, although a 1.7GHz option is also available. The review unit shipped with only 256MB of RAM, but MSI will be selling the production machines with a minimum of 512MB, which should be fine for most slim and light notebook users. Graphics are handled by the integrated Intel 915GM chipset, so don't expect to be playing the latest games - not that games are likely to be top of the list of priorities for most potential users.

MSI is being pretty aggressive when it comes to pricing, indicating that the Mega Book S260 will carry an £899 inc VAT price point at launch. That's a pretty attractive price tag for a slim and light notebook with a decent feature set, but whether it's enough to tempt buyers away from the likes of Sony and Toshiba remains to be seen.

Verdict

The Mega Book S260 has a lot going for it - it's an attractive and well designed notebook that's light enough to carry around with you all day. The price makes it a very tempting prospect for the road warrior on a budget, but MSI needs to improve the keyboard on the production models.

Link: www.msi.com.tw

comments powered by Disqus