The Bottom Line
- 6GB of Memory
- Good Speakers
- Mediocre Drive Performance
- Keyboard Is Cramped For 14-inch Laptop
- Intel Core i5-2410M Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 6GB PC3-8500 DDR3 Memory
- 500GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 14" WXGA (1366x768) LED Backlit Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
- AMD Radeon HD 6470 Graphics With 1GB Memory
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Two USB 3.0, Two USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 3-in-1 Card Reader
- 13.8" x 9.2" x 1.6" @ 4.8lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium
Guide Review - MSI FX420-001US 14-inch Thin And Light Laptop PC
May 31 2011 - Powering the MSI FX420-001US is the new 2nd generation Intel Core i5-2410M dual core processor. This is the lowest grade of the new Core i5 processors but it does an extremely good job compared to the past generation and provides more than enough performance for most tasks. It is nice to see MSI include a larger 6GB of DDR memory compared to the typical 4GB. This helps the system better with memory intensive tasks and multitasking compared to a typical 4GB equipped laptop.
Storage features on the MSI FX420-001US are probably its weak point. The 500GB hard drive is now typical on much more affordable laptops. This wouldn't be so disappointing if it was using a 7200rpm desktop spin rate drive but it uses the more traditional 5400rpm rate. This gives it very modest performance compared to many other laptops in the same price range. The dual layer DVD burner is also standard to most system and handles all playback are recording of CDs or DVDs. At least they found room to include two USB 2.0 superspeed peripheral ports for high speed external storage.
The 14-inch display for the MSI FX420-001US uses a standard 1366x768 resolution found on the majority of laptops these days. It uses and LED backlit for vibrant color but the glossy coating is distracting when using the laptop outdoors or in certain lighting conditions. Viewing angles are a bit narrow with color dropoff. The graphics themselves use a hybrid between the on-processor Intel HD 3000 graphics and a dedicated AMD Radeon HD 6470M graphics. The integrated graphics do well for handling tasks such as media encoding or standard graphics with the AMD graphics are used for 3D. The AMD graphics are on the lower end of the dedicated graphics and suitable for casual gaming at lower resolutions and detail levels.
The battery pack included with the MSI FX420-001US is a fairly typical six-cell with a 49WHr capacity which is a bit lower than those find in slightly larger 15-inch laptops. In DVD playback tests, the laptop was able to run for just under two and three quarter hours. That gives it a pretty typical amount of running time and should yield roughly an extra hour in more typical usage.
The keyboard design of the MSI FX420-001US uses the now typical isolated keyboard layout. The keyboard itself has a good overall feel but it is a bit cramped and more typical to an ultraportable sizes laptop. This is likely caused by the large amount of space on either side of the keyboard desk. The trackpad is sizable for the more compact dimensions of the 14-inch screen. The buttons are a bit slim which is a bit disappointing but at least it has distinct left and right buttons rather than a single rocker style bar.