Final ThoughtsThe X-Slim X460 maintains a slick appearance on the exterior while packing a serious punch under the hood, in that sense we have no qualms about saying MSI achieved its goal.
It should be noted not all X460 notebooks are created equal as it seems MSI has given retailers a lot of creative control over what goes into the machine. For example, our review unit came with the Intel Core i7-2630QM, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive and a DVD drive, all of these components are customizable. Most e-tailers seem to be selling a $1100 X460 with 6GB of memory and a 750GB hard drive, while SSD-equipped options should surface soon. Therefore, it's very important that you carefully inspect the specifications of the X460/X460DX that you're looking at.
Those interested in using the X460 for work-related tasks should consider the Core i7-2630QM a priority component as it aced our compression, graphics/video editing and office tests. However, folks that wish to enjoy a few games should shift their focus to the GeForce GT 540M-toting X460DX. Sandy Bridge's IGP barely earned playable frames in most of the games we tested.
The X460's Core i7-2630QM is a real powerhouse, but it can also be quite power hungry consuming around 80 watts under full load. The CPU is capable of draining the 6-cell Li-Ion battery in an hour, however normal desktop usage will see the X-Slim's battery last almost 6 hours, which is still 2 hours short of MSI's claimed runtime.
During light usage the X460 is very quiet and the palm rests barely get warm, but once you start to utilize the power of the Core i7-2630QM, the fan tends to spin up creating quite a racket. Given the compact design of the X460, the cooling capacity is quite limited and this is likely why the Core i7 series can't be paired with a discrete graphics chip.
The new X-Slim appears to be solidly built, the screen while glossy was bright and had respectable color reproduction and viewing angles. I definitely liked the keyboard feel and the touchpad didn't present any major issues either. It's hard not to be impressed by the performance and features of MSI's flagship X460 notebook, though I personally find the mix on the X460DX models more attractive. Systems with an i5-2410M, GT 540M, 6GB of RAM and a 500GB HDD can be had for $850, while an i3-2310M with 4GB of RAM can be found for $750.