The Bottom Line
- Solid General Purpose Performance
- Very Affordable For Features
- Free Of Unecessary Trial Applications
- Integrated Graphics
- Would Be Nice To Have Blu-ray
- Drive Partitioning Could Be Better
- Intel Core i7-2630QM Quad Core Mobile Processor
- 6GB PC3-10600 DDR3 Memory
- 640GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/RW Dual Layer Burner
- 17.3" WSXGA+ (1600x900) LED Backlit Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
- Intel HD Graphics 3000 Integrated Graphics
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
- Two USB 3.0, Two USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 5-in-1 Card Reader
- 16.5" x 10.6" x 1.5" @ 6.6lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter
Guide Review - MSI FR720-002US 17.3-inch Desktop Replacement Laptop PC
Jul 14 2011 - MSI isn't shy about putting performance into a reasonably priced 17-inch laptop with the MSI FR720-002US. It comes equipped with the latest generation Intel Core i7-2630QM quad core processor. This combined with 6GB of DDR3 memory allows the system to power through some of the most demanding applications including desktop video editing. With a list price of just $900, it is one of the most affordable laptops to feature this combination of processor and memory.
Storage features for the MSI FR720-002US are pretty typically for its $900 list price but it would be nice to see a bit more. In particular, a Blu-ray compatible drive would be a nice step up from the base included dual-layer DVD burner. It has the ability to playback and record CD or DVD media but that is typical of any laptop that comes with an optical drive. The 640GB capacity hard drive is fairly standard although there are competing models that have 750GB for those that need a bit more space for applications, data or media files. The partitioning of the drive is also a bit weird with data and OS partitions that could have been allocated space a little more logically. At least MSI has included two of the new USB 3.0 ports for high speed external storage if you need additional storage space.
The 17.3-inch display for the MSI FR720-002US is fairly typical of most 17-inch laptops. It comes with a relatively high 1600x900 resolution that supports 720p high definition video but falls short of 1080p. This isn't a major issue as the laptop does not come with a Blu-ray drive. Brightness and color are acceptable and the viewing angles are fairly narrow especially on the vertical angles. The big issue for many with this laptop is going to be the graphics themselves. It does not use a dedicated graphics and instead relies on the new Intel HD Graphics 3000 that are built into the new Intel processors. This is a big step up from the previous GMA graphics especially for those looking to do video encoding work. The problems is that the 3D performance is still severely limited to just basic 3D gaming at low resolution and detail levels with just Direct X 10 support.
The keyboard on the MSI FR720 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 trackpad is now centered off the space bar rather than offset like some previous MSI laptops. A rocking button bar is used for the trackpad rather than individual buttons which can be problematic at times.
One nice aspect of MSI's laptops is the software. Many low cost laptops from the major companies come loaded with a large amount of applications, most of them trialware. MSI provides a much more streamlined environment on the FR720 with very few applications preinstalled on the system. This is a welcome experience compared to some systems that can take forever to boot because of all the applications not to mention having to sort through them on the start menus.
Like many laptops on the market, the MSI FR720-002US comes with a six-cell battery pack rated at 4400mA capacity. In DVD playback testing, this yielded just over two and three quarter hours of running time before going into standby mode. This is pretty typical of laptops in this class and battery size. More typical usage should yield between three and a half to four hours.