For us, the MacBook Air is a love it and hate it affair. We love it because it’s one of the most incredible pieces of engineering in the technology world and we hate it because there are some glaring and blatantly obvious flaws. It’s a truly stunning laptop that really shook up the world of ultra portable laptop.
Looking at MSI’s X-Slim X340, it’s easy to see where MSI got its inspiration – it’s a sleek, sexy and stylish notebook that shares a lot of similarities with Stevie J’s fruity slice of technology. If it weren’t for the glowing white MSI logo on the lid, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a newer, slightly fatter MacBook Air.
It’s not though and it’s also a good deal cheaper than the Air – as well as just about every ultra portable laptop out there in fact. The X-Slim X340 is one of the first laptops to use Intel’s new CULV (Consumer Ultra Low Voltage) processors, which is part of the reason why MSI has managed to achieve such a low price point with an extremely slim laptop.
Intel launched this new class of processor in response to AMD’s Yukon platform – which is what the HP Pavilion dv2-1030ea we looked at the other day is based on – and Intel CEO Paul Otellini said that the new processors would bring a wave of ultra thin, but affordable designer laptops.
It’s fair to say, then, that the MSI X-Slim X340 is pitching itself as the MacBook Air for the masses – and that’s not a bad thing, frankly, because I’m sure there are a lot of you who’d love to own a machine as desirable and slim as the Air, but don’t have the £1,250 or so to buy even the entry level model.
Comparatively, MSI is pitching the X-Slim X340 at about £750, including VAT, which makes it 41 per cent cheaper than the MacBook Air. Obviously, the MacBook Air’s robust aluminium finish is going to be hard to match with such a sizeable price difference, but we were pleasantly surprised with the MSI’s showing. Read on to find out if the X-Slim X340 is as desirable as it is slim and sexy...
Intel Core 2 Solo U3500 processor (1.4GHz, 3MB L2 cache)
Intel GS45 and ICH9-M SFF chipset with Intel GMA 4500MHD integrated graphics
2GB 800MHz DDR2-SDRAM
Glossy 13.4-inch LED-backlit display (1,366 x 768 native resolution)
320GB Fujitsu MJA2320BH-G2 5,400rpm hard drive
Two USB 2.0 ports, two 3.5mm audio jacks (headphone and microphone) 10/100/1000 Ethernet, HDMI and D-SUB
Integrated 802.11a/g/n wireless and Bluetooth 2.1
Built in two-in-one media card reader (SD/SDHC/MMC)