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Review MSI X-Slim X340 Notebook

Light, slim, aesthetic,...

... that is how MSI promotes their X-Slim series. The X-Slim X340 in the test is, conclusively, a very slim, fairly light 13-4 inch subnotebook. The use of an Intel Core 2 Solo SU3500 processor and integrated GMA 4500 HD graphic chip shows its orientation on mobile computing. If the X340 can fulfill these requirements without limitation is clarified in the following test.

MSI X-Slim X340

In Germany the X-Slim series includes two models at the moment. Aside from the X-Slim X340, the X320 is also offered. Whilst the latter uses the Intel Menlow platform and an Atom processor, the X340 is based on the Centrino range with an Intel Core 2 Solo SU3500 CPU and has the better performance in comparison. As for the rest, both models do not differ in form factor or in design.  Apart from a larger hard disk in the X340, the other components (i.e. main storage capacity and graphic solution) correspond substantially.

Note: There are furthermore currently two different versions of the X340. Aside from the tested X340-SU3523VHP there is also an X340-SU7223VHP, which is equipped with an Intel Ultra-Low-Voltage CPU 723 available.

Case

The X340, as well as the X320, is available in three color variations at the moment. Aside from the "Pearl White" version in the test, it is also available in "Magic Black" and "Titanium Silver".  Pictures of the black version are available on the site of our Polish colleagues.

The X-Slim belongs to the slimmest of its kind with its low construction height of 6 millimeters to a maximum of 19.8 millimeters. It's also quite light with a weight of about 1.4 kilograms. However the base unit presents itself as surprisingly pressure and torsion resistant. Merely above the keyboard you can establish a yielding under point pressure here and there. The reason for this is the uneven gap in the component joint between the battery and the case.

Less satisfying is the display lid's torsional stiffness. Whilst the pressure stability is still fairly alright, this also lets itself be notably twisted at low force and causes image distortions on the activated screen.

Even if the hinges aren't smooth enough to allow a single-handed opening angle enlargement, an obvious flapping can be observed after adjustment.  The maximum opening angle is restricted to approx. 153 degrees due to the opening mechanism, which should be adequate at practical use.

The X340 has to do without an own transport closure. The other way round, the notebook opens a bit by itself when held on the base unit. Therefore, it is advisable to take precautions at transport so that a possible penetration of foreign objects between keyboard and display can't cause damage.

Connectivity

First, the good news: The port arrangement is alright for both lefties and righties. The interfaces are only placed in the back on both lateral edges so that the work surface left and right of the notebook is basically not restricted.

However, the connectivity is meager even for a 13.4 inch device. It bids only two USB 2.0 ports. Well hidden, and relatively difficult to reach, is the 2-in-1 cardreader placed on the beveled front part of the right side edge. Your are also equipped for digital sound and image transmission with an HDMI connection. Otherwise, there is only a VGA connection, a RJ45 port (LAN), headphone and microphone socket and of course the power socket to be found. A majority of connection possibilities had to be forgone for the sake of the extra slim design. The front area of both lateral edges as well as the front edge itself are beveled downwards, and therefore can't accommodate any sensible ports. The back side is blocked by the opening mechanism. Regrettably, a docking port isn't offered either, which would have been advantageous in view of the given interfaces.

In return, the X-Slim X340 has been provided generously with equipment.  Fitting to the Pearl White version, you find an equally white notebook bag in the carton.
MSI has also thought about a reasonable system recovery and includes Vista Home Premium installation DVDs both in German and English, a CD with drivers, utilities and a manual in the package. Additionally, the preinstalled recovery tool bids a comfortable restoring into the state of delivery from the harddisk. It therefore has been taken into account that the mini-notebook has to live without a built-in optical drive. If required, you can also downgrade to Windows XP, as according drivers are available for download on the manufacturer's site. Then you have to waiver the included and preinstalled tools and software included for Vista, though.

In view of warranty, MSI gives 24 month pick-up and return service as standard for the X-Slim X340.

Left side: VGA, LAN, HDMI, 2-in-1 cardreader
Left side: VGA, LAN, HDMI, 2-in-1 cardreader
Right side: 2xUSB 2.0, headphones, microphone, power socket
Right side: 2xUSB 2.0, headphones, microphone, power socket

As to the communication configuration, the X-Slim X340 is only just equipped with LAN and WLAN sockets. A Realtek RTL8168C/8111C Family PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet NIC (10/100/1000MBit) provides for fast wired data communication at according infrastructure, the WiFi Link 5100 AGN also supports Draft-n wireless.  You have to live without a built-in UMTS or modem, though. Video telephony via internet is possible with the 1.3 megapixel webcam.

Input Devices

Keyboard

Now we come to the first significant weak point of the X-Slim X340. Due to an intensely coiling keyboard unit, the keyboard is poorly received in view of type feel. The stroke length of the single keys is quite long, the pressure resistance fairly high and the typing noise audibly loud to a part.
Otherwise the keyboard has a standard layout without key-grouping with a single-rowed return key. Fortunately however, the alphanumeric keys have a reasonable size.

Touchpad

The somewhat subjacent touchpad surface and wrist rests are made of a single piece. Generally, the touchpad is well-integrated in the overall appearance of the X-Slim X340. It can, however, also convince with its mechanical traits. Due to the slightly roughened surface, the mouse cursor can be controlled precisely in a pleasant manner.
However, this touchpad omits various features, such as scrolling areas, to which you might have gotten partially used to, unfortunately.
The correlating keys are made of one piece. Therefore they don't react over the entire surface homogeneously, but rather easier on the edges and more stiffly up to not at all towards the center. The border between left and right mouse key is therefore also not optically evident.
The touchpad can be deactivated with the key combination Fn-F3, if required.

Keyboard
MSI X-Slim X340 Keyboard
Touchpad
MSI X-Slim X340 Touchpad

Display

The 13.4 inch display in a cinematic-friendly 16:9 format has a HD resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. You should consider that movie rendering might possibly only take up a relatively small part of the planned application field and that it could be beneficial to have more vertical space for other tasks. An LED background light provides for the according luminosity of the built-in display. This ranges, depending on the measuring quadrant, from a minimum of 220 cd/m2 to a maximum of 260 cd/m2 (center). Generally, the X-Slim X340 has a good average luminosity of 237.3 cd/m2. Based on brightness measurements, a fairly even illumination of 85% is achieved.

The contrast results in a rather under average 138:1. The reason for this is the comparatively high black value of 1.88 cd/m2. Color vibrancy as well as fidelity are subjectively without irregularities.

220
cd/m²
244
cd/m²
220
cd/m²
242
cd/m²
260
cd/m²
241
cd/m²
245
cd/m²
238
cd/m²
230
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
Maximum: 260 cd/m²
Average: 237.8 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 85 %
Black: 1.88 cd/m²
Contrast: 138:1
MSI X-Slim X340 outdoors
MSI X-Slim X340 outdoors

Even if outdoor missions would be well possible due to the fairly high brightness, the reflective surface proves to be a stumbling block. Once again, the question why a reflective display is applied in a little subnotebook conceived for mobility arises.

In view of possible viewing angles it is to be noted that the work surface turns out rather narrow on the vertical plane so that even the smallest diversion from the ideal (perpendicular) viewing angle quickly leads to image distortions in form of over-radiation, or rather dimming. In return, the area of auspicious viewing angles is adequate in a horizontal direction. However, you have to count with increasingly disturbing reflections at shallow viewing angles, especially in combination with adverse light conditions.

Viewing angles MSI X-Slim X340
Viewing angles MSI X-Slim X340

Performance

In view of performance you shouldn't await top values from the MSI X-Slim X340. Generally, based on the Intel GS45 chip set with an Intel Core 2 Solo SU3500 (1.4 GHz, 800 MHz FSB) as CPU and implemented Intel GMA 4500M HD graphic chip, is equipped with energy savings components. The processor is a single core CPU. Therefore it could come to longer waiting times when several parallel paths are used. The focus of design concentrated more on mobility and less on performance. Why the X-Slim X340 has then been configured with the resource-devouring Windows Vista Home Premium as standard remains a mystery.

Two gigabytes system memory of type DDR2 aren't exactly opulent, fit well to the other system configurations, though. The 32 bit operating system version is sufficient for this memory configuration. Due to the system architecture, you shouldn't await that the entire physical memory is available for applications - a part is used for the control of the built-in hardware components (Memory Mapped IO), a further is reserved for the operating system and the integrated graphic chip, which has to do without a dedicated graphic memory, also branches off a large portion.

A Fujitsu MJA2320BH G2 comes to use as a hard disk. With a gross capacity of 320 gigabytes, the 5400 rpm hard disk has more than sufficient storage space for the beginning. Following results are established with the HDTune tool: The transfer rates were between a minimum of 35.4 MB/s and a maximum of 77.9 MB/s.  An average of 61.5 MB/s is possible. The access time was 18.2 ms, the throughput was 97.7 MB/s.

Generally, the X-Slim X340, in the tested configuration manages office and internet applications quite well. The overall system appears to be fairly well-tuned so that it doesn't come to too long waiting times in low loads, despite the use of Windows Vista - however these can't be completely prevented. This device hasn't been developed for demanding 3D tasks, though.

System info CPU
System info Cache
System info Mainboard
System info Memory
System info SPD
System info GPU
System info HDD
System information MSI X-Slim X340
PC Mark
PCMark 052284 points
PCMark Vantage1611 points
Help
3D Mark
3DMark 2001SE4318 points
3DMark 031588 points
3DMark 051261 points
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
618 points
Help
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
1383
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
636
Help
Windows Vista Experience Index
 SettingsValue
 Processor3.6 Points
 Memory4.9 Points
 Graphics3.4 Points
 Gaming graphics3.5 Points
 Primary hard disk5.6 Points
320 GB - 5400 rpm
Transfer Rate Minimum: 35.4 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 77.9 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 61.5 MB/s
Access Time: 18.2 ms
Burst Rate: 97.7 MB/s
CPU Usage: 9.8 %

Emissions

System Noise

The X-Slim X340's cooling system works in idle mode and with low load rather quietly with a maximum of 35.4 dB(A). The hard disk's running noise is louder in comparison with 35.9 dB(A) The hard disk noise also becomes too prevailing even subjectively.

The X-Slim X340's fan turns up under load. In the process a maximum noise level of 42.6 dB(A) is achieved, which is already very audible. The operating noise stabilizes at an average of 37.3 dB(A) under load.

Noise Level

Idle 32.5 / 35.4 / 35.4 dB(A)
HDD 35.9 dB(A)
Load 37.3 / 42.6 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:     (15 cm distance)

Temperature

The case's upper side was never warmer than 38.2 degrees (minimum 26.8) under load at a surrounding temperature of 24.5 degrees Celsius. The bottom side was even a bit warmer with a maximum of 42.3 degrees Celsius (minimum 28.2) so that body temperature was exceeded on the upper as well as the bottom side. Seen subjectively, the notebook stayed pleasantly cool in idle mode, but gets partially quite warm under load. In addition, it's the touchpad's area on the upper side, which warms up the most and the left wrist rest doesn't rank behind much with 37.8 degrees Celsius.

Max. Load
 26.8 °C27.9 °C27.8 °C 
 32.5 °C28.1 °C28.7 °C 
 37.8 °C38.2 °C30.9 °C 
Maximum: 38.2 °C
Average: 31 °C
28.5 °C28.2 °C28.8 °C
34.5 °C36.2 °C36.7 °C
30.8 °C38.7 °C42.3 °C
Maximum: 42.3 °C
Average: 33.9 °C

Loudspeakers

The sound check turned out accordingly for a mini-notebook. The only mono loudspeaker is placed on the bottom side of the left front edge and emits its sound over the left louver. The maximum volume is just still acceptable. On the other hand, the timbre lacks bass, is treble-prone and thin. Therefore, you should use headphones for music enjoyment. The sound-out via the 3.5 mm headphone socket didn't show any irregularities in the test.

Battery Life

Readers Test
Maximum battery runtime (BatteryEater Readers Test)
Classic Test
Minimum runtime (BatteryEater Classic Test)

Equipped with a 4 cell Lithium-Ion battery with a capacity of 32 Wh (2150 mAh, 14.8V) the battery life is, despite energy saving components, not overwhelming. The battery runs, measured with the BatteryEater Reader's test (WiFi off, min. brightness, energy savings profile, a maximum of up to 4 hours and 21 minutes (261 minutes).
Under load, simulated with the classic test from the BatteryEater Tool, the X-Slim X340 already has to go back to the socket after one hour 31 minutes (91 minutes). The full load test is executed with maximum display brightness, activated wireless functions (Bluetooth and WLAN) and in the high performance profile.
In the practical WLAN mode you can surf in the internet for two hours and 19 minutes with adjusted brightness and balanced energy profile.

With the assessed battery runtimes, the X-Slim X340 from MSI is quite remote of the top values of devices with a comparative configuration, which partly reach a maximum battery runtime of up to 11 hours. In comparison, the Acer Aspire 3810Ts, which is also equipped with a Core 2 Solo SU3500 CPU and integrated Intel GMA 4500M HD, but standardly with 56 Wh battery, thus a battery with twice the capacity, has a battery runtime of 3:56 under full load and 11:09 in idle mode.

According to NotebookReview.com, there is also a 8 cell battery available for the X-Slim X340. This can't be verified at the moment, though. In any case, this would certainly be interesting for travelers.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.2 / 0.2 Watt
Idle 7.6 / 11 / 11.9 Watt
Load 19.6 / 23.4 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
4h 21min
WiFi Surfing
2h 19min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 31min

Verdict

MSI X-Slim X340
MSI X-Slim X340
MSI X-Slim X340

The X-Slim X340 from MSI knows how to appeal with its elegant, extra slim look. It's also accordingly light for mobile use. However, the very slim case also has disadvantages. Only few interfaces can be accommodated along both lateral sides due to the design. At least there is a HDMI port included, but you have to do with only two USB 2.0 ports. The torsional stiffness and pressure stability of the display lid suffers a bit under the "X-Slim" design.

A real disadvantage of this device is found in the area of the input devices. The keyboard can't really convince at use especially because of the coiling of the entire keyboard unit. The touchpad has also undergone economizing measures so that you have to live without features you might have already become used to, such as a scrolling area.

The bright but reflective display and the comparatively low battery life also don't provide for enthusiasm in mobile missions. A matt display variant should at least be optionally available. An offered battery with a larger capacity would also be a sensible accessory.

MSI shows themselves as generous with the included equipment. Especially pleasing - aside from a preinstalled hard disk recovery solution there are also installation DVDs for Window Vista Home Premium in English and German included. There is also an optical data carrier with drivers, tools and electronic manual found in the package.

Conclusively, the X-Slim X340 is interesting for all those who are looking for a slim, elegant chaperone for occasional working on the run. Because of the reflective display, the usage as a permanent professional working device doesn't appear sensible. The battery life of the included 4 cell battery is definitely too short for an uninterrupted work day afar from a socket, too.

MSI X-Slim X340
MSI X-Slim X340

Many thanks to  Notebook.de who kindly provided us with the test device. You can configure and purchase it here, as well.

In Review: MSI X-Slim X340, with courtesy of:
MSI X-Slim X340

Specifications

MSI X-Slim X340
Processor
Memory
2048 MB 
, DDR2-800, 1x 2 GB
Display
13.4 inch 16:9, 1366x768 pixel, LED backlight, Samsung SEC314E / 134AT01-G01, glossy: yes
Mainboard
Intel GS45
Harddisk
320 GB - 5400 rpm, 320 GB 
5400 rpm Fujitsu MJA2320BH G2
Soundcard
Intel 82801IB ICH9 HD Audio Controller
Connections
2 USB 2.0, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: Microphone, Headphones, Card Reader: SD/MMC,
Networking
Realtek RTL8168C/8111C Family PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet NIC (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Wireless WiFi Link 5100 AGN (a b g n ), 2.x Bluetooth
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 19.8 x 330 x 224 ( = 0.78 x 12.99 x 8.82 in)
Weight
1.33 kg ( = 46.91 oz) Power Supply: 360 g ( = 12.7 oz)
Battery
32 Wh Lithium-Ion, 2150 mAh, 14.8 V, 4 cll
Price
900 Euro
Operating System
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 32 Bit
Additional features
Notebook bag, Vista Home Premium DVDs (D und E), drivers/tools data carrier, various preinstalled software, 24 Months Warranty, 1.3 MP Webcam

 

[+] compare
MSI presents: X-Slim X340
MSI presents: X-Slim X340
The built-in mono loudspeaker throws its sound waves out through the left louver against the surface. The sound is according.
The built-in mono loudspeaker throws its sound waves out through the left louver against the surface. The sound is according.
The cooling system doesn't work as quiet as a whisper, either The hard disk show itself as even more existent.
The cooling system doesn't work as quiet as a whisper, either The hard disk show itself as even more existent.
The bottom side partly can't stay adequately cool for mobile use on the lap.
The bottom side partly can't stay adequately cool for mobile use on the lap.
Interestingly, Windows Vista Premium Home 32 bit was chosen as the operating system. A special bonus: The manufacturer includes installation media and offers a 24 month warranty as standard.
Interestingly, Windows Vista Premium Home 32 bit was chosen as the operating system. A special bonus: The manufacturer includes installation media and offers a 24 month warranty as standard.
The system based on the GS45 chip set with an Intel Core 2 Solo SU3500 CPU and integrated Intel GMA 4500M HD is built for mobility.
The system based on the GS45 chip set with an Intel Core 2 Solo SU3500 CPU and integrated Intel GMA 4500M HD is built for mobility.
The touchpad also lets features grown fond of be missed.
The touchpad also lets features grown fond of be missed.
The built-in keyboard is a real weak inset. Hadn't anyone tested it?
The built-in keyboard is a real weak inset. Hadn't anyone tested it?
The generally homogeneous, elegant design is also not disrupted by garish status LEDs
The generally homogeneous, elegant design is also not disrupted by garish status LEDs
righties can be content with the interface arrangement in the back part of the side edges.
righties can be content with the interface arrangement in the back part of the side edges.
Lefties, as well as
Lefties, as well as
The given connectivity is meager in comparison. At least, digital sound and image transmission has been considered.
The given connectivity is meager in comparison. At least, digital sound and image transmission has been considered.
A high-gloss display isn't exactly the first choice for a mini-notebook designed for mobility.
A high-gloss display isn't exactly the first choice for a mini-notebook designed for mobility.
The only contrast points are given by the black, high-gloss display frame.
The only contrast points are given by the black, high-gloss display frame.
The white variant attracts attention with a shining display lid and illuminated MSI logo
The white variant attracts attention with a shining display lid and illuminated MSI logo
The X-Slim X340 accedes in three colors: Magic Black, Pearl white and silver.
The X-Slim X340 accedes in three colors: Magic Black, Pearl white and silver.
The battery life of the included 4 cell battery isn't sufficient for a whole work day afar from a socket.
The battery life of the included 4 cell battery isn't sufficient for a whole work day afar from a socket.

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Compare Prices

MSI X-Slim X340 on Ciao

Pro

+Elegant, very slim design
+Light, compact form factor
+Fairly bright LED display
+Vista installation media and drivers/tools data carrier included
+HDMI port
 

Cons

-Keyboard
-Touchpad without scroll functions, etc.
-Reflective display
-Short battery life of the included 4 cell battery
-Lack of an optical drive

Shortcut

What we liked

The very slim, elegant design, which also has its disadvantages, though.

What we missed

An optical drive would have been very possible at a size of 13.4 inches.

What surprised us

How a keyboard of this "quality" can be implemented. And once again: Why a reflective display in a device conceived for mobility?

The competitors


Chic office notebooks in 13.x inch size. The recently tested Acer Aspire 3810T competes with almost identical hardware configuration, but slightly lower priced. To a part equally slim notebooks could be considered as follows: Apple MacBook white, MacBook unibody, Apple MacBook Air, Dell Studio XPS 13, Dell Adamo, LG P310, Toshiba Portege A600,...

Bewertung

MSI X-Slim X340
01/12/2010
Martina Osztovits

Chassis
88%
Keyboard
72%
Pointing Device
82%
Connectivity
78%
Weight
92%
Battery
76%
Display
74%
Games Performance
57%
Application Performance
66%
Temperature
84%
Noise
81%
Add Points
80%
Average
78%
80%
Subnotebook *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review MSI X-Slim X340 Notebook
Author: Martina Osztovits, 2009-07-18 (Update: 2012-05-26)