Performance and Conclusion
Our review unit was equipped with an AMD E-350 dual-core processor clocked at 1.6 GHz. This is a small but important specification to note, because MSI has just begun to sell an updated model with the AMD E-450, which runs the same two cores at 1.65 GHz.That’s a tiny jump, however, so potential buyers will still find this performance information to be accurate.
In this review we’ll be placing the X370 against three similarly priced and equipped ultraportables as well as the Lenovo ThinkPad X1, which will provide an example of what you’ll receive if you decide to spin significantly more on a laptop of similar size. The specifications of each laptop can be found below.
Let’s begin by taking a look at our SiSoft processor benchmarks.
We previously reviewed an E-350 system in the form of the Sony Vaio Y Series. This X370 proved just slightly quicker, but the difference is too small to be noticeable in normal use. More important to note is the gap between the E-350 and a Core i5 system such as the Lenovo X1. The processor in this laptop is sufficiently quick, but obviously in a different class when compared to a mid-range or high-end processor like a Core i5. Even an AMD A-Series will be significantly quicker.
Now, let’s dive in to the general performance benchmarks. This laptop is equipped with four gigabytes of RAM and a 7200 RPM hard drive, so it could be quicker than you’d expect
Again, the MSI manages to outrun the similar Sony, and it manages to do so by a slightly larger margin in some of these benchmarks than in SiSoft. The difference still remains small, however, and the gap between the MSI and larger or more expensive Intel Core laptops remains a chasm. That’s not a surprise.
Now it’s time to see how this slim laptop handles 3D gaming.
These results are again not much different from those of the Sony Vaio Y Series equipped with the E-350, which I praised for its graphics performance. This is a rapidly changing element of laptop performance, however, and the proliferation of Intel Core i3 laptops with HD 3000 graphics and AMD’s own A-Series APUs makes these results look a bit lackluster.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that, in spite of relatively weak numbers, you can still do light gaming on the X370. World of Warcraft plays well at medium-low detail, and several indie games such as Frozen Synapse also were acceptably quick. Even Dawn of War 2 and Far Cry 2 were adequately playable when I dropped the settings from medium (our normal benchmark) to low.
It’s time to wrap this section up by looking at the boot and resume times.
These boot times are a bit slower than average, but the MSI X370 has a slower processor than average, so that’s to be expected. The 7200 RPM hard drive doesn’t seem to have any significant impact. On the other hand, there are computers with much quicker processors, such as the ASUS G74, which boot and resume with a little less gusto.
Budget ultraportables can be a tricky formula, and the reason is simple – price. An ultraportable is expected to be reasonably quick but also light, small, and capable of spending hours away from a power socket. Engineering all of that in to an affordable laptop isn’t easy, which is why some budget ultraportables end up with so-so endurance or surprisingly thick frames.
Not so with the MSI X370. Though priced at just $569 (or $579 if you’d like the newer E-450 processor), this laptop offers a little bit of everything. It is quick enough for basic productivity, yet it is also portable and lasts longer than most users will ever need. The fact that the laptop stays relatively cool during operation and offers a quality display is just the sprinkles on this gadget sundae.
That’s not to say it’s perfect. Keyboard and touchpad quality is only so-so, but the bigger problem is the performance of the AMD E-350 processor. It’s merely adequete, and you can certainly buy much quicker laptops at this price point.
Even so, this laptop has a combination of traits that makes it stand out from many competitors. If you need a portable laptop, and you need decent performance, and you need over six hours of battery life, all for under $600, the MSI is going to be a top choice. Only the ASUS 1215N and 1215B come to mind as solid alternatives, but both are significantly smaller, which will be a deal-breaker for some buyers.