Mesh Discovery Slim 15.6" £399
28th Jul 2010 | 09:30
A very moderately priced machine, but one that does have its flaws
Mesh is a UK company that has been around for over twenty years. As well as building their own machines, they re-brand other manufacturers' laptops and the Discovery Slim 15.6-inch is an example of this rebranding.
The result of this process, is in fact an MSI X600 with a Mesh sticker on it – and a rather cheap looking sticker at that. Also bear in mind that if you're going to buy the laptop, it will arrive in an MSI box.
Nevertheless, the large 15.6-inch screen boasts a 1366 x 768-pixel resolution which is bright, crisp and clear, making it great for everyday use. Due to the panel's size, it isn't quite as sharp as the Samsung X420, which boasts the same resolution in a smaller screen size, but if you regularly work with multiple windows open this is the better choice.
Also of note is the exceptionally shiny Super-TFT screen coating, meaning there are plenty of reflections to battle with in bright light.
The keyboard is one of the worst we have used in a while. True, the keys are large, but the action is incredibly spongy and isn't half as responsive as the Sony VAIO VPC-EB1S0E/WI or Lenovo ThinkPad Edge.
Much more infuriating is the proximity of the touchpad to the board and we regularly brushed it while typing, irritatingly causing the cursor to jump around to lines other than the one we were typing on. As a result, this isn't a machine for those who plan to do a lot of typing.
On a more positive note the chassis is incredibly thin at only 27mm and is easy to slip into a bag or laptop case. It also weighs only 2.1kg, making it easy to carry around all day.
A Consumer Ultra Low Voltage (CULV) Intel Pentium SU7100 processor has been employed. Designed to be resource-light on the laptop's battery, the downside is low performance and the laptop only provides roughly double the power of a netbook. Office programs will run fine, but anything more resource-intensive – including light multi-tasking – and the laptop will struggle to keep up.
The inclusion of an entry-level dedicated ATi HD 4330 graphics card is a pleasant surprise, offering more than enough graphical power to edit HD video and photos and even play relatively recent gaming titles. This level of power is still a rarity in laptops this thin and affordable.
A low-powered CULV processor normally means a decent battery life; unfortunately that's not the case here and the 189 minutes on offer is fairly dismal. As a result, the Mesh Discovery Slim 15.6 is a disappointing machine.
Poor performance is normally countered by excellent portability, as with the Samsung X420, but that's not the case here. Add the bad usability and this is a laptop unfortunately best avoided.
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