Hands on Use
Now we get to my favorite part of the review, hands on use. The MSI GX740 is a dead sexy little number. It has Ferrari red trim with real black brushed aluminum panels. The brushed aluminum is on the lid of the notebook and on the palm rest area. The track pad is differentiated well from the wrist rest and the two mouse buttons are easy to find even though they are only separated from the wrist rest by squiggly red lines cut in the aluminum of the wrist rest. The buttons are easy to press and work well.
The keyboard MSI uses I am not very fond of. The keys are big, it has nice tactile feel, and a full number pad, but the right shift key is tiny. A weirdly shaped right shift key is a pet peeve of mine since I spam that key leaving the left shift key unused. I often ended up hitting the up arrow when typing quickly rather then the shift key, which is all out annoying. The important WASD keys are marked with a red background to make them easier to see, as long as there is light anyway.
Above the F keys and below the LCD are a full range of touch controls for media playback and other functions. The keys are easy enough to use, even if a bit hard to see. That big 17-inch screen is fantastic for watching movies and video or just working thanks to its high resolution. Glare is an issue, but that is something we have to live with on 99% of the notebooks on the market today.
All the video I watched on the MSI GX740 was silky smooth and showed not a single stutter no matter how fast the action was on screen. The ATI HD 5870 makes child's play of streaming video in windowed or full screen modes. The HDMI output also means you can watch on your big screen. Considering the output will be used on a TV most likely, I like the fact that MSI put the video outputs on the rear of the machine. It makes things look cleaner when you are hooked to the TV in the living room since you don't see the cables as much.
I don't get to say this very often, the sound system on the MSI GX740 is actually decent. The dual speakers on the front have plenty of volume for loud rooms and the small subwoofer on the bottom of the notebook puts more bass into the sound that you get on other notebooks, making this a nice machine for media and gaming.