MSI makes a cheap Blu-ray laptop
MSI’s addition of a Blu-ray player to one of its budget laptops marks another step down in pricing compared to the competition.
The 16-inch CR600-017 sports a Blu-ray and DVD drive, and costs $650. As far as I can tell, that makes it the cheapest full-powered notebook with Blu-ray on the market today.
In June, Acer introduced the Aspire AS5739G, a 15.6-inch laptop with a combo 8x Blu-ray and DVD drive, selling for $750. It’s a nicer machine than MSI’s offering, with Core 2 Duo T6500 processor that outperforms the CR600’s Pentium Dual Core T4300, plus 5.1 surround sound outputs. Both laptops offer 4 GB of RAM and a GeForce graphics card.
Before Acer’s Blu-ray laptop came the Sony Vaio VGN-NW180, an $880 laptop with HDMI output. It’s not clear from CNet’s report whether the MSI laptop has an HDMI jack.
There are two ways to look at this development. The most obvious is that Blu-ray is getting cheaper, and not just for standalone players. This checks out with earlier reports that Blu-ray build costs are in a free-fall, headed towards $50 by next year. If Blu-ray ever becomes a standard feature in laptops with optical drives, it’ll only bring it closer to widespread adoption.
Aside from the Blu-ray issue, it’s interesting to see the configurations laptop makers are coming up with for these budget computers. Compared to netbooks, which are hampered by hardware restrictions that Microsoft imposes, there’s no shortage of innovation in the affordable ultrathin space.
The jury’s still out on whether these computers will take off in the market, but I’m certainly intrigued.
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