It’s hard to categorise MSI’s Megabook. It hovers between our value and mid-range notebook A-List listings, it’s small enough to be ultraportable yet it sports a wealth of features. It looks very similar to the S721 (Issue 104, page 41) which was the first Turion X2 notebook we saw and which amazed us at how cheap a fully-featured, portable notebook could be.
This little gem, with its 12.1-inch 1280 x 800 LCD, comes either all white or all black and looks smart. It’s well built and the lid offers good protection to the screen. The screen itself is sharp and well-lit. Colours are well saturated and there’s not much lag meaning films look good. However, the speakers are unsurprisingly not loud and very tinny. The keyboard is well laid out and has a nice action.
We like the trackpad but the mouse buttons let the side down: their ‘avant-garde’ styling makes it tricky to press them sometimes.
Powering the S262 is a dual-core T2300 chip. This, combined with 512MB of RAM and a rather small 40GB hard disk generated a 2D benchmark score of 0.78 – respectable for a portable notebook. However, the Intel graphics mean there’s no hope of 3D gaming.
MSI crams in the features with 802.11a/b/g WLAN and BlueTooth radio both being included along with Gigabit Ethernet. A dual-layer DVD writer is also present and supports DVD-RAM discs too. Wired connectivity is good with an Express Card slot appearing above a media card reader which supports ?SD/MMC cards and Memory Sticks. There are three USB 2 ports, a 56K modem and VGA out at the sides and mini FireWire and two audio jacks at the front.
MSI bundles a 4-cell and an 8-cell battery. Unfortunately, the former arrived DOA but the latter, which adds little to the machines bulk, lasted an impressive two hours 26 minutes in our intensive use test and four hours 23 minutes under light use. This, coupled with its 2.1kg (1.9kg with 4-cell battery) weight makes it very portable indeed.
It may not look as chic as the ultraportables in this month’s roundup, but it’s significantly cheaper and doesn’t skimp on features. Some may choose it over the NEC (above) but to many the screen may be a touch too small. It’s certainly smaller, more feature packed, responsive and powerful than our A-Listed Compaq Presario, but we feel more people would prefer the bigger screen and lower price of the ‘value notebook’ title holder. As such, it sits between the Compaq and NEC as an excellent little notebook that will suit those who want power and portability on the move – without the premium.
This Review appeared in the September 2006 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine
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