The Bottom Line
- Relatively Light For 17-inch Laptop
- Good Variety Of Peripheral Ports
- Integrated Graphics
- Would Have Been Nice To See Blu-ray
- Intel Core i3-380M Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-8500 DDR3 Memory
- 500GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 17.3" WSXGA+ (1600x900) LED Backlit Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
- Intel GMA 4500MHD Integrated Graphics
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
- Four USB 2.0, eSATA, HDMI, VGA, ExpressCard/54, 5-in-1 Card Reader
- 16.3" x 10.5" x 1.5" @ 6.6 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium
Guide Review - MSI CR720-265US 17.3-inch Desktop Replacement Laptop PC
Jan 11 2011 - With its lower $800 price tag, the MSI CR720-265US is powered by the Intel Core i7-380M budget classed dual core processor. This is one of the fastest version of the processor and offers a good deal of performance for most users. This combined with the 4GB od DDR3 memory gives it a smooth overall experience. It will lag behind in more demanding tasks as it does not feature the Hyperthreading or auto overclocking found in the Core i5 and i7 processors.
Storage features are fairly typical for a budget class laptop. It features a 500GB capacity hard drive that provides a good amount of space for applications, data and media files. The drive does spin at the more sedate 5400rpm rate which will impact performance compare to drives that use faster 7200rpm rates. A dual-layer DVD burner handles all playback and recording of CD and DVD media. With prices between $700 and $800, it is possible to find Blu-ray drives on many similarly equipped laptops.
One of the disappointing aspects of the MSI CR720-265US is the graphics. Rather than using a dedicated graphics processor, it relies on the Intel GMA 4500MHD that is fine for basic web browsing and HD media viewing but it lacks any sort of 3D performance for even casual PC gaming. The display offers a fairly typical 17.3-inch display that features a 1600x900 native resolution. It uses a glossy coating as well that makes it difficult to use in certain lighting conditions that produce a lot of glare or reflections including outdoors.
The keyboard on the MSI CR720 uses an isolated or chiclet style keyboard that provides a comfortable and accurate experience. Thanks to its size, a full sized numeric keypad is also included on the keyboard. The trakpad is slightly offcenter of the space bar and blends in with the palmrest area with a slight edge on the sides. A rocking button bar is used for the trackpad rather than individual buttons which can be problematic at times.
What the MSI CR720 does that many other budget laptops do not is peripheral connectivity. Generally a budget laptop only offers a few USB ports and monitor connectors. MSI has included an eSATA port as well as an ExpressCard slot that is typically not included on almost any consumer focused laptop. This means that the system can easily have networking or future peripheral ports such as USB 3.0 added to it.
Like many low cost laptops and even more expensive models, the MSI CR720 uses a more compact six cell battery pack. While this helps reduce costs and weight, it also limits the overall running time. In DVD playback tests, the laptop runs for roughly one and a half hours before going into standby mode. This puts in slightly below average for running times and it will yield roughly two and a half hours of more typical usage.