Review: This notebook comes in at a great price, but it's not for any serious gamer.
It’s a truism that you shouldn’t expect great gaming power from a laptop. Even the highest-end gaming laptop you can find, packed with RAM and enough powerful silicon to start an energy crisis simply cannot live up to the expectations of a hardened desktop enthusiast.
In fact, MSI’s GE620 doesn’t even try to live up to those high standards, so let’s get the important figures out of the way straight up front. In fact, let’s just say right now that if you want serious graphics at crazy resolutions, turn the page now. Move along, kids, there’s nothing
to see here; Crysis, still our go-to real life graphical benchmark, delivers a mere 1.93fps at max settings.
Less than two – count them! – frames every second. It’s more of a slideshow than a game. In fact, to get anything approaching a smooth 24fps minimum you need to drop every setting down to Low.
And it’s still only just topping the 23fps.
So you’ll be damned curious to know why we still kinda like this little laptop. It’s not about the specs; with a Core i7-2630QM, it’s second gen Sandy Bridge, but with 4GB of RAM and only an NVIDIA GT540M to back it up, it’s obvious why the frames just aren’t there – at least, not in any enthusiast sense. It’ll kick over games like World of Warcraft, though, and anything run off the Source engine or similar, and that’s where this machine starts to make sense.
The display, on the other hand, is a great 15.6in of bright and colourful awesome. Paired with an excellent array of speakers – easily the best in any laptop we’ve ever played with – you start to see this as an awesome laptop more for media than for gaming. Then again, if all you want is to make sure the Stormwind theme sounds great while you’re hitting up the auction house, this is a pretty good way to do it. For movies or music, the GE620 is great. It’d be even better with a Bluray drive, but you don’t get to be as cheap as this without a few sacrifices.
And that’s the other thing we like about this MSI lappie – at $1399 it’s a pretty competitive price, gaming performance aside. For that dosh you get some solid mobile hardware, a well-built laptop that’ll handily devour the more casual end of the gaming spectrum (in terms of performance requirements – don’t send any more death threats, MMO players!), and excels in media playback and recording.
It’s a good deal!
That said, it’s far from perfect, and we can see how MSI’s gotten that price down.
The screen, while excellent itself, is secured rather flimsily; the outer portion of the clamshell has a lot of flex and travel, and it doesn’t take a lot of force to cause some serious distortion on the LED screen. In other words, don’t transport the GE620 with any other hard objects. The trackpad’s also not the most responsive, but we will give MSI bonus points for featuring a simple little button to switch it off while using a mouse.
The GE620 isn’t our first choice for a mobile gaming platform, but that doesn’t mean it’s a piece of crap. It’s well-priced, powerful where it counts, and capable of a playing a lot of the games we love. It won’t be playing Crysis under open blue skies any time soon, but at least it won’t break the bank trying.