Despite the slenderness of the chassis, MSI does a good job of integrating the various ports and the selection isn’t too shabby, either. You get two USB ports, one further USB/eSATA port, audio jacks for headphones and microphone, HDMI and VGA for video, Gigabit Ethernet and memory card reader. No USB charging is a missed trick, but on the whole one couldn’t demand much more.
One of the more irritating things about the X340 was its keyboard and at the very least the X600 eliminates the appalling flex it had. Indeed, in comparison, the X600 has a quite usable keyboard that’s enhanced by the presence of a number pad. It’s still not without problems, though. The action of the keys feels a little light and imprecise, but the real problem is the poor layout – particularly the minute Enter key. It’s a basic error and one that only steepens the learning curve of using the X600.
MSI commits another classic faux-pas in its positioning of the touch pad. It’s just a little (perhaps by an inch) too far to the right, so that your palm is regularly in contact with it, causing the cursor to jump about unintentionally while typing. To alleviate this, the touch pad driver does support palm registration, which should detect your palm and prevent movement. However, it’s not faultless and can do nothing about occasionally jogging the buttons as well. These are the kind of simple, obvious mistakes a company like MSI ought to have learnt by now.
Moving to audio visual concerns, the X600 puts in a passable performance, but not much more. Its display is the regular 1,366 x 768 native resolution, which is fine, though 1,600 x 900 would be better. Like most laptops displays, it’s LED backlit and is quite bright, but the colour production is pallid, blacks are too grey and viewing angles are quite shallow. It’s nothing it doesn’t share with dozens upon dozens of other similar laptops, but the colours in particular lack punch.
Things get more peculiar in the audio department. MSI has clearly made some effort in this area, integrating four separate speakers and including Dolby Home Theatre processing, but said speakers are all of dubious quality and are tucked away on the machine’s underside. Consequently the speakers sound tinny, muffled and thoroughly mediocre, though the Dolby processing does at least enhance headphone listening somewhat.