MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro gaming laptop review

You’ve doubtless come throughout MSI’s GS60 when you’ve shopped for gaming laptops within the final ten years. Constructed with an off-the-shelf enclosure from Clevo, and whichever Nvidia GPU is presently fashionable, this isn’t the primary time we’ve unboxed this perennial providing, and it gained’t be the final.

However this time felt slightly totally different. Intel’s cellular CPU choices are extra energy environment friendly than ever, and Nvidia’s cellular line performs very equally to the desktop chips. That would imply a much bigger leap ahead than regular for this yr’s version, which is slightly below seven tenths of an inch thick.

Extra: Acer Predator 15 review

To that finish, MSI has picked the Intel Core i7-6700HQ, paired up with 16GB of RAM and a GTX 1060 for gaming. For storage, you’ll discover a 256GB SSD and a 1TB HDD, and a 1080p display, with a $1,seven hundred MSRP that always falls nearer to $1,1550. Is that this the yr the GS60 lastly rises from evergreen choice to true competitor?

A fuzzy backside

MSI’s GS63VR may look acquainted. If it does, it’s as a result of the system makes use of an off-the-shelf enclosure, one which isn’t unique to MSI. In truth, you should purchase an virtually similar laptop computer from Origin, the EVO-15. It’s a bland affair, however the shiny aspect is a decrease chassis that feels sturdy and svelte, whether or not tucked beneath your arm or out in a gathering. Flip off the RGB keys, and nobody would guess you’re utilizing a gaming laptop computer.

The display is a special story. It’s barely flimsy, bending and curving a bit once you open or shut the lid. MSI’s emblem on the middle of the display on the underside bezel is even worse, flexing dramatically on the slightest contact. It’s not an unusual drawback for smaller techniques, though most larger-finish fashions keep away from it.

Unusually, the MSI has a fuzzy backside – no joke! The underside is coated in a skinny material. This can be a design selection we’re not clear on. Theoretically, this helps hold any warmth from radiating as badly into the consumer’s lap. It by no means appeared to get too scorching across the backside, so if that was the objective, it really works as meant. It additionally retains an in any other case slick laptop computer from sliding round on a desktop a lot, though most methods accomplish the identical with out getting heat-and-fuzzy.

Wealthy set of plugs

What the MSI lacks in appears, it makes up for with a wholesome variety of wired connections. Up the left aspect, you’ll discover three.5mm audio out and in, a full-sized SD card slot, Ethernet, and three USB three.zero ports. Round the proper aspect, there’s a full-sized HDMI port, Mini DisplayPort, Thunderbolt three, and an additional USB 2.zero for good measure.

That’s plenty of connection choices for such a slim machine, even amongst different gaming methods. Full-sized video outputs are all the time appreciated, notably the inclusion of HDMI 2.zero, for 60Hz 4K. That’s an choice one of the best gaming screens are regularly supporting.

A well-known keyboard

Just like the system’s design, the MSI’s SteelSeries keyboard is one we’re very conversant in. It packs in a numpad, an more and more unusual function on 15-inch laptops. It’s a bit slender, an issue that expands to the entire keyboard. Fortunately, necessary buttons like “backspace” and each shifts are full-width, a blessing for players.

Although bland, the chassis feels sturdy and svelte.

Gaming laptops are sometimes fitted with snug, responsive keyboards, and what the MSI lacks in spaciousness, it makes up for with chunky switches which have a transparent activation level and strong motion. They’re bolstered by full, shiny again-lighting in RGB zones, permitting you to customise the look to your liking.

The touchpad isn’t as thrilling. The built-in buttons are a bit mushy, and there isn’t a transparent indicator between the left and proper click on areas. It’s spacious, however not as vast or tall as a few of the large touchpads we’ve grown used to seeing in costlier laptops.

Deep distinction, harm by gamma

The MSI’s 15-inch, 1080p panel is the baseline decision for gaming methods today. Increasingly more, excessive-finish techniques have reached for 1440p or 4K panels — sadly, cellular gaming hardware can’t all the time sustain with the newest video games at native decision. We now have no drawback with the MSI chosen right here, and really feel it’s a great match with the GTX 1060 graphics chip.

Whereas the GS63VR’s show isn’t spectacular, it scores properly sufficient throughout the board. Its most brightness and distinction are each proper at acceptable ranges, with out actually excelling in both class, notably when confronted off towards current OLED panels which have made their method into techniques just like the Alienware thirteen. Colour gamut is common, so nothing to complain about there. The gamma is just too low, leading to barely washed-out pictures, and colour accuracy is off, however that’s not more likely to matter an excessive amount of.

The result’s a panel that matches all of the wants of the gamer on the go. Distinction is among the most necessary points relating to gaming, permitting for deep, darkish blacks and brighter explosions and lightweight sources. In that sense, the MSI’s show performs nicely, however you’ll sometimes need to tweak the in-recreation gamma to get probably the most out of it. When you do, you’ll discover a pleasantly deep picture, even when it doesn’t sustain with newer OLED panels when it comes to black ranges.

MSI GS63VR 6RF Stealth Professional In contrast To

Films are much less interesting, just because there isn’t all the time a simple approach to regulate the gamma again to plain ranges. As such, you could discover that darker scenes in media look overexposed, and washed out.  On the brilliant aspect, VLC permits straightforward adjustment for video information, making off-kilter gamma an simply solvable drawback.

Louder isn’t all the time higher

If there’s one factor the MSI’s audio system do nicely, it’s quantity. They’re loud. But turning the quantity up all the best way, even whereas enjoying music, is unwell-suggested, because the tone turns into a critical difficulty. Even at half quantity, the GS63VR’s audio system crack and sputter, and bass is non-existent. Granted, most gaming laptop computer customers are going to deliver a pair of headphones, and audio high quality is a sore spot for slimmer laptops. However the MSI performs worse than most.

We’ve seen this chip earlier than

Our evaluate unit was outfitted with an Intel Core i7-6700HQ, the most typical quad-core chip for laptops. It’s a well-known chip to us, as we’ve examined it in a number of methods during the last yr. We didn’t anticipate any surprises.

Aside from the AVADirect Avant’s desktop-grade CPU claiming a number of victories, the MSI’s Core i7-6700HQ is likely one of the stronger choices we’ve seen in a gaming laptop computer thus far. It claims victories over each the Acer Predator 15, and Surface Book with Performance Base.

We now have extra methods to match in our older Handbrake 4K video conversion check, and the MSI retains up there too. It even beats out the desktop-grade AVADirect Avant’s CPU, a minimum of in a few of our check conditions.

Extra: Razer Blade (2016) review

In fact, CPU isn’t the one factor that issues on the subject of gaming. Every thing from the strong state drive to the graphics chip could make an enormous distinction in framerate and gaming high quality.

Life within the quick lane

Our evaluate unit got here full of two onerous drives. The boot drive was a 256GB Samsung SM951 — a standard PCIe SSD — with a 1TB knowledge drive for some additional video games or media.

The NVMe SSD within the MSI screamed previous the competitors when it comes to learn velocity. Not shocking, contemplating the one different comparable system we’ve examined with a PCIe SSD is the Razer Blade. Even when it comes to write velocity, the place mid-tier NVMe drives are likely to fall behind, the GS63VR’s providing holds a robust lead. It won’t really feel lots quicker than a SATA SSD second to second, nevertheless it makes an enormous distinction in each longevity and SSD-intensive duties.

GPU check monitor

This time round, the GS63VR is powered by an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, the equal of final era’s GTX 970M. It’s a strong cellular chip, and one which ought to be greater than able to dealing with trendy video games on the system’s native 1080p decision.

The GS63VR trades blows with its closest competitor, the Acer Predator 15, within the artificial 3DMark graphical exams. Each methods are remarkably comparable, so it’s no actual shock that the distinction between the 2 isn’t greater than three %. The AVADirect Avant’s GTX 1070 steals a win over each laptops, partially because of its full-energy desktop Core i5, however principally it’s the upper-finish GPU that deserves credit score.

On the open street

We’ve examined the GTX 1060 in a number of conditions, and out on the open street, it handles 1080p gaming with out breaking a sweat, and may even keep aggressive when the decision goes up.

The MSI’s seventy five body per second common in Battlefield 1, with the settings cranked up, is a robust begin, and the rating is strictly the place we’d wish to see it. It must be greater than able to holding the 60FPS ultimate spot.

Whereas the typical framerate in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided won’t look so sharp, it’s a really demanding recreation, and the MSI’s rating within reason common. With just a little tuning within the settings, you should not have any situation pushing the sport to 60 FPS or larger, which is all you’ll be able to actually ask from a slim gaming laptop computer.

Extra: Alienware 13 R3 review

All in all, the MSI’s efficiency in-recreation isn’t going to set any data. Nevertheless it’s greater than sufficient for players trying to take their night of Overwatch into the lounge, and it ought to be capable of sustain at 1080p for a minimum of a couple of years.

Skinny with out sacrificing battery life

There are two features to portability — measurement and battery life. Within the former, the MSI excels, with a slim footprint and an environment friendly use of area that permits for a full-sized numpad and trackpad. At slightly below .7 inches thick, the GS63VR has a waistline.02 mm thinner than the Razer Blade. It feels nice.

Sometimes, a slim chassis means much less room for batteries, and also you commerce backpack area for longevity. The MSI packs in a surprisingly mid-vary 54Wh battery. But it manages to hit virtually 5 hours in our video loop, which is sweet information for vacationers and film lovers.

The MSI additionally manages to energy by way of simply over three hours of the Peacekeeper browser benchmark earlier than collapsing from exhaustion, a rating that both ties its rivals, or beats them by as much as an hour. It doesn’t fairly sustain with non-gaming techniques, however amongst laptops with discrete graphics, it holds its personal properly.

So very bloated

Whereas different excessive-finish system producers have labored onerous to chop again on pointless bundled software program, MSI has embraced the bloatware life with a swath of intrusive software program of doubtful utility. Actually, there was a lot additional software program on our evaluate unit that the very first thing we did was run a recent set up of Home windows 10, as we have been having compatibility points with our benchmarking software program.

It’s not a uncommon drawback for gaming laptops, which frequently pack in additional software program and optimization utilities. To have them be so dangerous that it’s essential to reinstall the OS is one other situation completely. The upshot is that it’s a simple repair that doesn’t take very lengthy. If the thought of putting in your personal OS is a totally overseas one, it’s value noting you may wrestle with the MSI proper out of the field.

Guarantee

MSI supplies a one yr guarantee on all of its laptops. That’s pretty commonplace for laptops of any class, and proper in keeping with the MSI’s rivals. It doesn’t cowl unintentional drops or different injury, however warranties virtually by no means do.

Our Take

MSI’s GS63VR packs acquainted elements into a standard chassis, however that doesn’t imply it’s boring or ineffective. Actually, MSI manages to offer aggressive gaming efficiency, paired up with an honest 1080p panel, in one of many slimmest designs we’ve but to see from a gaming pocket book.

Is there a greater various?

Whereas the gaming laptop computer world grows extra crowded day-after-day, the MSI GS63VR is now one of many slimmest available on the market. When you don’t plan on utilizing a gaming laptop computer as your every day driver, the AVADirect Avant or the Asus ROG G752 bulk up a bit, however supply higher efficiency choices.

The DT Accent Pack

If backpack area is at a minimal, or you’ll want to fly underneath the radar together with your gaming, the Razer Blade is an choice. Origin additionally presents virtually the very same chassis with its EVO-15, however anticipate to pay a pair hundred dollars extra for it. Paying extra for the Origin does internet you higher buyer help, and supplies further customization choices.

How lengthy will it final?

With the newest era Nvidia graphics and a PCIe SSD, now is an effective time to select up the MSI GS63VR when it comes to longevity. The one knock towards it’s the 6th-era Intel hardware, however MSI introduced at CES 2017 that the GS63VR will transfer to the 7th-gen quickly– so wait if that considerations you. The 1080p display is limiting in some methods, but in addition ensures you’ve got sufficient overhead to maintain enjoying the newest video games at native decision for a couple of years.

Do you have to purchase it?

Sure. This MSI doesn’t flip heads like an Alienware, however it’s good for weekend warriors trying to hold a low profile, whereas nonetheless churning out clean efficiency in trendy video games. Plus, it’s properly-priced, with a $1,seven hundred MSRP that always falls beneath $1,600 absolutely tricked out, with out making any main compromises, aside from needing to uninstall a bunch of bloatware. Earlier fashions of the GS60 didn’t impress us, however this new model is a large step in the correct path.

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