MSI X-Slim X460 Ultraportable Evaluate

MSI recently expanded its ultra-portable range to include two last-generation X-Slim notebooks. Though light and compact, the X460 notebooks are also powerful thanks to Intel's Sandy Bridge processors. The flagship model is equipped with the Intel Core i7-2630QM, which packs the quad-core chip and at the same time offers a battery life of 8 hours.

There's also the X460DX, which can be configured with Core i3 or i5 processors and the Nvidia GeForce GT 540M GPU. Both the X460 and X460DX have the same dimensions using a 14-inch LED backlit screen. While ultraportable laptops generally have a 12- to 13-inch display, the X460 offers a good balance between portability and performance, according to MSI.

With enough power to shame the average desktop PC, the flagship MSI X460 model costs around $ 1,100. Still, that price tag makes the X460 one of the cheapest second-generation Core i7 laptops money can buy. With the Core i3-2310M, 4 GB RAM, a 500 GB hard drive and the Nvidia GeForce GT 540M, the less-equipped X460DX is available for around 750 US dollars.

Hardware impressions

The X460 is supposed to be slim and attractive, and I think MSI achieved that. It is 339 mm wide, 239 mm deep and 22.3 mm thick and weighs 1.98 kg, including the 6-cell Li-Ion battery (5900 mAh).

The lid is only 5mm thick and has a thin aluminum back that gives the screen extra protection while looking great. Lifting the lid reveals the 14-inch LED-backlit (1366 x 768) screen that has a glossy film on it – something I don't like.

Personally, I prefer matte screens, but when it comes to glossy panels, the X460 has excellent image quality. The screen has an embedded 1.3M HD webcam and is surrounded by small rubber feet that prevent the screen from being marked on the keyboard when it is folded.

Regarding the keyboard, MSI has integrated a non-backlit 6-line chiclet solution with 87 keys and chiclet style. As with most modern notebooks, there are function key combinations that can be used to quickly enable or disable functions such as wireless network, webcam, Bluetooth, trackpad, etc.

The keyboard feels great and I would love to use it every day. We also found it easy to avoid the trackpad, which measures 80mm by 43mm. The palm rest has an aluminum insert on which you can rest your hands and which is not easy to mark.

At the top left of the keyboard area there is a blue glowing power switch next to two quick launch buttons that interact with the included S-Bar application.

There are various small grills under the X460 to let cool air in, as well as eight small rubber feet that lift the laptop and prevent it from marking surfaces like a desk. Finally, there are two buttons that you can use to lock or unlock the removable battery.

In terms of connectivity, you'll find two audio jacks (headphone / input) next to an SD (XC / HC) / MMC card reader and a single USB 2.0 port on the right. For models with an optical device, the drive is accessible from the right side of the notebook.

On the opposite side there are two USB 3.0 ports, followed by the Gigabit Ethernet port, a VGA output and an HDMI output. There is also a large exhaust vent to expel hot air from the X460 and a circular power connector to attach the 90W power adapter.

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