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MSI VR705 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £508
inc VAT

The 17in screen sets the VR705 apart. However, the mediocre keyboard and touchpad mean it's not the perfect all-rounder.


17 in 1,440×900 display, 3.2kg, 2.16GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core T3400, 3.00GB RAM, 250GB disk, Windows Vista Home Premium

MSI’s VR705 is a large, black laptop with acres of matt black plastic and silver highlights.

Thanks to its 17in display, it’s a great choice if you’re looking for the biggest possible screen on a budget. Despite the size, it doesn’t feel much larger than the 15in laptops on test, and it doesn’t weigh much more. At 3.2kg, it’s over the comfortable limit for portability, while the battery life of two hours and 15 minutes means you won’t be able to stray far from a mains socket.

The wider case should be ideal for a numberpad, but as with many MSI laptops we’ve seen, the keyboard layout isn’t standard, with an annoying half-height Enter key and other non-standard keys. In addition, the whole keyboard flexes under pressure, while the touchpad is smaller than we’d like, and the buttons have almost no travel.

Both input devices can be lived with if you’re desperate for the 17in screen for a low price. As with any keyboard, you’ll quickly get used to the layout; and you can always buy an external mouse if you can’t get on with the touchpad.

The screen’s backlight isn’t overly bright, but it’s even and colours are accurate. The 1,440×900 resolution means you’ll have more desktop space than most 15in laptops and therefore less switching between windows.

Aside from the screen, there’s little in the VR705’s feature list to distinguish it from the other budget laptops here. Its performance in both 2D and 3D benchmarks is towards the bottom end of the scale, and it has a similar complement of expansion ports, although Bluetooth and Draft-N WiFi are highlights. The stand-out feature is the two-year collect-and-return warranty, which is twice as long as the other laptops in this category.

Despite the keyboard, touchpad and somewhat ugly design, this is still a fine choice if you want a large screen at a relatively low price. The two-year warranty is a bonus, but the VR705 misses out on an award due to the great value of PC Nextday’s 81-2200.

Basic Specifications

Rating ****
Processor Intel Pentium Dual Core T3400
Processor clock speed 2.16GHz
Memory 3.00GB
Memory slots 2
Memory slots free 0
Maximum memory 4GB
Size 36x395x279mm
Weight 3.2kg
Sound Realtek High Definition Audio
Pointing device touchpad
Power consumption standby 2W
Power consumption idle 33W
Power consumption active 59W


Viewable size 17 in
Native resolution 1,440×900
Graphics Processor Nvidia GeForce 8200M G
Graphics/video ports VGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory 256MB


Total storage capacity 250GB
Optical drive model HL-DT-ST GT10N
Optical drive type DVD+/-RW +/-DL DVD-RAM

Ports and Expansion

USB ports 3
Bluetooth yes
Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support 802.11n
PC Card slots 1x ExpressCard/54
Modem Yes
Supported memory cards SD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro
Other ports minijack audio output, minijack audio input, minijack microphone input


Carrying case No
Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium
Operating system restore option restore partition
Software included Ulead Burn.Now 4.5 SE

Buying Information

Warranty two years collect and return
Price £508

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