When we reviewed the MSI X340 last summer, the 13-inch member of MSI’s first generation of X-Slim ultrathin notebooks, we were impressed with slim design, long battery life, and affordable price. However, there was plenty of room for improvement. The X340’s single core 1.4-GHz Core 2 Solo SU3500 processor left something to be desired when it came to overall system performance, the keyboard wasn’t as comfortable as we’d like, and it looked just a little plain.www
With the new 13-inch MSI X350, unveiled at CES 2010, MSI has heard these concerns and addressed them all, in a huge way. First off, the X350 features a dual core, 1.3-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo SU4100 CPU to improve performance. It now has a highly-responsive, chicklet-style keyboard, and a new jazzed-up design. While it’s still black, the lid now has a subtle honeycomb pattern on it. The sides and touchpad have attractive metal.
We had a chance to go hands-on with an MSI X350 at CES and we’re most enamored with the rubberized deck that has an attractive circular pattern and firm, but flexible feel that should make a perfect palm rest. We weren’t able to do any serious typing on the X350, but the comfortable feel of the palm rest combined with the chicklet keyboard should be a pleasure to work with.
As far as specs go, there’s no word yet on the hard drive or RAM sizes, though different configurations may be available. The X350 has the same Graphics are provided by a standard Intel 4500MHD integrated chip. The thin chassis contains both HDMI and VGA ports, Ethernet, a memory card reader, and audio in/out ports. With a system this slim, something has to give so there’s only one USB port.
There will be a choice of 4 or 8-cell batteries and we can’t recommend the 8-cell version strongly enough. MSI says the 8-cell battery will keep the X350 going for up to 9 hours and, if our experience with the earlier-generation X340 is any indication, that sounds about right. The X340 we reviewed got only 3 hours and 38 minutes of endurance with its 4-cell battery, but that jumped to 8 hours and 48 minutes when we tested it with an 8-cell.
We look forward to reviewing the MSI X350 and testing its battery life and performance in our lab sometime in the near future. In the mean time, check out this hands-on video we filmed with the X350 at CES.