The Titan’s generally underpowered specifications mean that any hardware-intensive tasks are going to chug. In fact, it is even trumped by the two-year-old Sony VAIO VGN-TX3XP ultra-portable notebook. But that particular machine was almost ten times as expensive, and for everyday use, the Titan 700 is usable. Office 2003 applications open fast and run smoothly, and browsing the web is a pleasure, especially when using the non-memory intensive Firefox 3 – as long as you don’t open too many tabs. So for the business or casual home user, the Titan is a viable choice. The question is whether it’s a good one, and the most common answer will probably be ‘no’.
You see, by virtue of its pricing, specifications and configuration, MSI’s small black machine has placed itself in something of a niche. Apart from its 120GB hard drive and DVD-writer, it doesn’t offer that much more than an Eee PC 901 or other NetBook (even in performance), though it is still somewhat cheaper.
But talking of price, an extra £100 will buy you a lot more. Sure, that’s a 33 per cent increase on the Titan’s price, but for almost all non-business consumers it will be a worthwhile investment. For example, the extra hundred can get you an Acer Aspire L320 desktop, which apart from being nearly the same physical volume includes a far superior 1.86GHz Core 2 Duo CPU, 320GB HDD, TV-Tuner, media remote, mouse and keyboard, as well as Vista Premium. That amount will even stretch to a 17in laptop like the Acer Aspire 7520 Gemstone, which again not only comes with more features, better graphics and Vista pre-installed, but its own 17in LCD screen.
A rugged and mostly stylish unit with some serious flaws and underwhelming performance, the MSI Titan 700 ‘micro’ desktop is really only suitable for businesses that have multi-user XP licenses. If you do want to use it as a media center, you’ll have to be very careful what content you run.
Score in detail