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Keyboard And Trackpad

MSI GX60 Review: Radeon HD 7970M In A $1,200 Notebook!

The layout of the GX60’s keyboard and trackpad is typical of what you see on most laptops. The keyboard includes a full number pad, and since the touchpad is centered to the standard portion of the keyboard, it ends up being slightly to the left on the palm rest. The palm rest itself is clad in brushed metal, giving it a solid feel.

The MSI GX60’s trackpad is a Synaptics model. Both the left- and right-click buttons are combined into a single silver bar below the tracking portion of the pad. The trackpad works well, and has a nice textured finish that echoes the brushed steel palm rest. Compared to trackpads on other notebooks, the GX60’s is somewhat compact, especially next to the giant clickpads found on Ultrabooks. Nevertheless, it gets the job done. 

Below the trackpad are indicator lights for (from left to right) Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, battery charge status, sleep mode, and hard drive activity.

The full-sized 103-key keyboard is by SteelSeries, makers of high-end gaming peripherals. Keys have a textured finish that contrasts well with the slick surfaces surrounding the keyboard. The keyboard has a good feel if you typically use medium or light force. However, if you tend to press hard into keys, the keyboard is going to flex a bit. Like most notebooks, the GX60’s chiclet-style keys have a short travel. But they have an excellent tactile feel when you press them. After typing on it for a while, we really began to appreciate how good the keyboard on the GX60 is.

One thing that we don't understand is the lack of backlighting. We know that the GX60 is all about bang for your buck, but this is one corner we wish MSI had not cut.

Let’s move on to the row of custom buttons and indicators above the keyboard.

To the left of the power switch are controls for P1, fan speed, and, ironically enough, keyboard backlighting. P1 is a user-defined quick-launch button. Fan speed switches between 100% duty cycle and the quietest mode available for the current system temperature (this was one of our most-used controls). The keyboard backlighting button must be there just to taunt us since, as we just observed, the GX60's keyboard is, in fact, not backlit!

To the right of the power switch are controls for Wi-Fi, built-in display, and a button to trigger the optical drive eject mechanism, along with caps and num lock indicators. Having the Wi-Fi switch top-and-center, without the need for any combo keys, is certainly nice. Likewise, the display control switch is also convenient to have.

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