kind of slow
Being one of the first reviews on a product is a hefty responsibility and as such I will do my best to give you the information that I know I would want when first looking at buying a specific laptop. To summarize for those looking for less info, I absolutely recommend this laptop to anyone and everyone who is looking for a lightweight, portable, powerful gaming laptop that is as versatile as it is cool! To begin the long review, I’ll give you a little background on my experience in this area:
I am an avid gamer and I have owned 4 different gaming laptops: the 2016 HP Omen, 2016 Razer Blade 14 1060, the 2016 MSI GS63VR-Stealth Pro-001, and I am now the proud and happy owner of the 2017 MSI GS63VR-Stealth Pro-230. I have tried the previous three models and I like them all, but this one is seriously an amazing creation to behold.
For ease of reading, I will bullet point and explain my favorite things about this laptop.
-It is one of the lightest and thinnest gaming laptops on the market.
This laptop weighs less than 4 pounds and is thinner than a nickel is tall. It is actually lighter than my end of 2016 model Razer Blade 14 and just as thin. Logically, that just shouldn’t make sense, right? A 15.6” laptop with full keyboard weighing LESS than a 14” laptop with no number pad? Crazy. Chalk this up to material quality or whatever you like, but I have owned both laptops and find both to be superb feeling, high quality machines.
-It has an incredible selection of input and output options.
This laptop boasts a staggering variety of I/O ports that are bound to fulfil your needs. It has three USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, one thunderbolt 3 port, an SD card reader, separate premium jacks for headphones and a microphone, Mini Display Port, HDMI, Ethernet, and a Kingston lock slot. Need I say how awesome this is? Whereas the Razer Blade and MacBook Pro at this price are simply anemic in the way of ports, this beast has loads and still manages to fall in the same weight and thickness class as the aforementioned competitors at this price. A couple things to note though: The SD card reader is only 2.0 USB speed last I checked, so you will want a dongle if you want 3.0 USB transfer speeds for your SD cards. The other thing is that the HDMI is the 1.4 and not latest 2.0 edition, so it can only push 4K video at 24fps (this is fine for watching movies but for games you will want to use the thunderbolt or other options as they become available to get faster frame rates on a 4K monitor or TV). Aside from these two small inconveniences, this thing is ready and raring to be the center of your gaming and media editing workstation experience!
-Looks and feels amazing!
After having owned the 2016 Razer Blade 14, I thought nothing else in the PC world would satisfy me again in the way of build quality and solid feel. This Stealth and the last-year model have matched it in my opinion. The sleek finish and slightly edgier appointments like the red accents and dragon logo serve this laptop well. Quick story and you can believe it or not: I was studying in a bar late one night because that was all that was open that late, and this cute blond bartender looks over at me and my laptop and says, “Is that a Ferrari laptop??” She mistook the symbol for the Ferrari logo at that distance!! That’ll cheer up anybody on a low day. Later, she brought me my beer and enthusiastically complimented the rainbow backlighting too; total nerd win!!! This thing is a pleasure to hold, a pleasure to carry, and is easy on the eyes to boot.
As for more about the feel, the SteelSeries keyboard is just legendary. The typing action and depth is smooth and I have thus far experienced no fatigue while typing up research papers and gaming. The silver lining color scheme of the unlit keys is awesome because it makes them distinct from one another during the daytime without the backlight on, which is a great feat for an all-black color scheme. I have owned Samsung, Razer, HP, and Apple laptops, and this is my favorite keyboard I have typed on so far. The font can be a little jarring at first, but you get used to it. Some of the key positions are shifted away from what is normal too, but once you get used to it everything is smooth sailing. For example, on HP laptops there are dedicated buttons for volume up and down. On this, you hit the FN key and then press the up and down arrows, but believe it or not this works well! The FN button is used with a few other keys to control the volume, keyboard brightness, screen brightness, and volume, and it works very well. In fact, I kind of like not having to take my palms off their resting places to adjust those settings like I used to. I love the keyboard backlighting as well and the Dragon Center application makes it a breeze to change the colors and patterns in the 3 customizable zones to suit your fancy.
-Runs like a beast, games like a beast, much better than last year’s models!
I won’t go too much into the specifics here as there are a plethora of excellent YouTube channels and blogs that can tell you what the NVidia 1060 and Intel 7th generation I7-7700HQ processor can do. What I will tell you is that speed is no longer a thing that crosses my mind as an issue anymore. This 2017 Stealth is such a better deal than the old 001 model on Best Buy for several reasons. First of all, it has an SSD that is PCIe as opposed to simple SATA. As such, it is pants-sizzling fast. The 2TB Hard drive is a great feature as well. Being as picky as I am, though, I swapped it out with a 500 GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD. In doing so, I shaved a couple more ounces off the weight and I now have two installed hard drives with no moving parts which is much better longevity speaking since I travel with this computer every day. However, I kept the 2TB hard drive and put it in an external closure to become my new external hard drive! That is a win-win in my book folks! Another way that it is superior is its panel. Full HD IPS here, folks, no budget panels on this 1.5K+ laptop!!
To sum this review up, I am including a Question and Answer section that I hope will address some common concerns:
Q: Is the power button’s weird placement going to make me put it into sleep mode all of the time if I bump into it?
A: No. There is a simple setting tweak in Windows Power Options where you can turn the 1-click sleep mode off. I can click and bump the button all day and it will not go to sleep. If I want to put it to sleep, I just select it from the menu or press FN+F12 as MSI seemed to have the foresight to program this into their FN selection (even though they didn’t have the foresight to move the button from such a dumb location).
Q: Does this get covered in fingerprints?
A: Kind of, it is less oleophilic than the finish of the Razer Blade 14, but fingerprints can accumulate over time. Just keep it wiped off and the appearance will be maintained.
Q: Are the fans loud and whiny?
A: Only when gaming. Basic physics tells us that smaller objects traveling at high speed will emit higher pitched sound than larger objects traveling at the same speeds. This is a small laptop with small fans, as such it will be loud and whiny when under load, but consider this a blessing from the thermodynamic gods at MSI since it keeps your PC from overheating. What is great though, is that the Dragon Center app allows you to customize the fan speed and fan curve as needed. Moreover, the GPU and CPU each have their own dedicated fan systems, 2 fans and 1 fan respectively, so that there will only be as many fans turned on as is necessary. The fan speed control option is great too as it allows you to select a mode called Cooler Boost in which both sets of fans run at max speed to keep your system as cool as possible. This is an awesome feature for those extended gaming sessions. Conversely, you can turn down the fans or flat out turn them off if you wish to be as stealthy as the laptops name implies; just don’t burn up your CPU or GPU for the sake of quietude.
Q: Does the MSI Stealth get hot?
A: The answer to this has to do with the answer above, the fans do an excellent job of keeping the temperatures down and the Dragon Center app monitors exact temps for both the CPU and the GPU in real time. As such, I have never encountered temperature readings over 72C when doing heavy gaming and it usually idles between 29 and 40 degrees celsius. Under normal web browsing and school uses I get between 30C and 50C temperatures depending on what I am doing. Your experience may vary, though. The felt covering on the bottom of the laptop also does an excellent job of keeping the heat off of your tender parts when doing video editing or gaming from a “laptop” position. 😀
Q: Are the Power cord/ port positions on the right side annoying?
A: Personally, not very, but I can see how they could be. If you for some reason had thunderbolt, power, mini display port, HDMI, and USB running all at once or in a lower number combination thereof, you could say goodbye to comfortably using a mouse. But as that situation likely indicates you will be using external monitors, I hope that you will find some creative way to plug your mouse in as needed.
Q: Is the sound quality good?
A: Sadly, no. The sound on this laptop honestly just sucks in my subjective opinion. This opinion may stem from my being a musician on the side and I have pretty high expectations for sound quality. For a laptop this amazing in every other aspect, though, I am willing to make concessions. If you are gaming in public, you while likely be using headphones and if you are plugged in at home, Bluetooth and external speakers will solve this issue. This is not too big of a deal for me, especially since you get the trade off of having the awesome HiFi audio port. For a laptop this small and this light, there had to be compromises in some areas, and I think the speakers drew the short straw.
Q: Does the panel on this laptop suck?
A: No, that is the 001 from Best Buy that most people complain about. This has a quality full HD IPS panel that is not lacking in performance.
Q: How is the battery life?
A: In a word: Good! The battery in this laptop actually does a remarkable job of sipping rather than gulping the energy when you place it on eco mode with the Dragon Center app, power saver mode in Windows Power Management, and dim the screen down about halfway. On a average day of studying with near constant web browsing and lecture video viewing, I get about 4 to 5-1/2 hours of battery. During a heavy gaming session on battery alone, perhaps an hour and a half. There are million ways you can tune the power management on this laptop to suit your individual needs, so I wouldn’t be stressed about it unless you are looking for ultrabook-like battery life-in which case, you are shopping in the wrong category of laptops.
That is all I can think of for the moment, please feel free to comment at will and I will be happy to reply! Take care and good luck with your purchase!
Have not had any problems with it. It’s much faster than i expected. Will probably keep it for a while.
Very lucky to have this one I have no problem
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|Release Date:||November 21, 2016|
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