Great all-rounder: MSI GE620-003AU notebook review

We’re not entirely sure we like labelling the MSI GE620-003AU a gaming notebook due to the graphics card being good rather than exceptional. To us it’s still one of the better all-round notebooks available.

The deep brown plastic covering most surfaces is rather austere and it has a neat burnished pattern. It feels very solid but the hinges and the screen seem a bit flimsy. Sound quality from the speakers is agreeable but bass-heavy music suffers somewhat. The keyboard is responsive and satisfying to use as the keys have low travel and feel firm. As for the touchpad a uniformly bumpy surface and high sensitivity make it very useable.

The 15.6in HD screen is rather glossy although it has rich colour reproduction and contrast along with a practically 180 degree viewing angle; using it is a real pleasure.

In power-saver mode battery life is only 2 hours and 50 minutes. When plugged into a power point the NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M graphics card whirs into life and ensures that the GE620 offers good gaming performance. StarCraft 2 for example runs without issue at high settings at HD resolution which puts most modern games well within the GE620’s reach.

A Sandy Bridge Intel Core i7-2630QM (2GHz) processor is powerful and even in power-saver mode there’s no issue with processor-intensive tasks. The 4GB of RAM is a respectable amount and all up the GE620 achieves a strong PCMark Vantage score of 7737. There’s also a DVD burner and a 7200rpm 500GB hard drive that nicely supports the more powerful components. The ports are all on the sides and include two USB 3.0 HDMI headphone and microphone jacks one USB 2.0 VGA and of course Gigabit Ethernet.

Finally there’s a cooling vent on the left next to the AC port.

Ultimately the MSI GE620-003AU is an easy notebook to recommend even if it’s a bit on the expensive side. It has high overall performance a great keyboard and an excellent screen. Although gamers will crave a more powerful graphics card those that need a seriously above-average jack of all trades are going to get their money’s worth.

Available from MSI retailing for $1299.
APC rating: 8/10 (Highly Recommended)