MSI’s GS66 Stealth almost has what it takes to beat Razer
For years, Razer has set the usual for making gaming laptops which are compact, slim, and really feel nice to make use of. MSI needs to finish that streak, and its new GS66 Stealth is definitely a viable various, at the very least by way of efficiency. It nonetheless has somewhat work to do on nailing the small design particulars.
The GS66 Stealth doesn’t fairly nail the match and end to tackle one of the best, however touchdown in need of that also will get you a refined laptop computer that’s full of highly effective parts and different options that usually include a $2,349 gaming laptop computer (as configured; this mannequin begins at $1,499 and goes as much as $2,999). It has a Thunderbolt three port for quick knowledge switch, and its show has a 300Hz refresh price that takes full benefit of the Nvidia RTX 2070 Tremendous Max-Q graphics to indicate off your video games in quick, fluid constancy.
It’s a skinny, smooth machine from each angle, whether or not it’s closed or opened up. It has one of the generously sized trackpads I’ve ever used on a Home windows laptop computer, much like the one on MSI’s creator-focused Prestige 14. In comparison with the GS65 Stealth Thin, this one ditches the copper detailing and has a less complicated, extra assured look typically. MSI isn’t fooling anybody with the outcomes. It’s all-black design with slim bezels across the show is much like Razer’s styling, however the similarities finish as soon as we get to MSI’s clumsy keyboard format that makes executing capabilities tough and the underside of its aluminum chassis that flexes with just a bit strain.
One of many extra disappointing issues concerning the GS66 Stealth is that, after utilizing it for per week, going again to my DIY-built desktop made me notice that it’s due for some upgrades. This laptop computer churned by means of No Man’s Sky, sustaining over 120 frames per second on its highest graphical settings. This isn’t probably the most demanding title ever made, however it’s always straining the CPU, GPU, and storage because it shortly hundreds in belongings when the participant goes from planet to planet or when hopping between galaxies. It’s widespread to see some big dips in efficiency with this recreation, however it was an excellent expertise right here.
The RTX 2070 Tremendous Max-Q, Intel’s Core i7-10875H, and the 32GB of RAM proves to be a potent mixture of specs for ripping by means of video games, which is what you need whenever you purchase a $2,349 laptop computer. Moreover, its energy makes good use of the 300Hz refresh price TFT LCD panel. You gained’t see upward of 300 frames per second efficiency in most fashionable video games, however the help for it’s there. You’ll be able to count on most video games to run effectively above 60 frames per second at their highest settings — usually instances effectively above 100 frames per second, and typically 200 frames per second if I used to be enjoying a much less demanding recreation, like Tetris Impact or Rocket League. Viewing angles take a success, so watching content material from off to the facet gained’t look pretty much as good as viewing it head-on, however the colours pop and enjoying video games at a quick body price is at all times pleasurable.
The audio system are situated on the left and proper sides of the palm relaxation. Their efficiency isn’t noteworthy.
What a giant, beautiful trackpad. MSI wanted to make room for followers close to the hinge of the machine, else it in all probability wouldn’t have been so squished.
The left facet’s ports embrace a barrel charging port, Thunderbolt three, HDMI, and USB Kind-A three.12 Gen 2 port.
On the precise, there’s a headphone and microphone combo three.5mm port, USB-C three.2 port, two USB Kind-A three.2 Gen 2 ports, and Ethernet.
Notice the Fn key wedged between backslash and management. For me, this location made executing capabilities cumbersome and error-prone.
MSI managed to slot in a 720p digital camera, IR sensors and microphones into the lid. The digital camera high quality isn’t nice, however it will get the job accomplished.
A take a look at one of many fan outtakes. MSI ditched the edgy copper highlights from the GS65 Stealth in favor of one thing easier.
What’s nice about this configuration is that it requires few, if any, compromises to visuals on the show’s native 1080p decision. I ran by means of a spread of different demanding titles, together with Management and Crimson Lifeless Redemption 2. Management helps ray tracing, and it was in a position to run the sport with excessive graphical settings and excessive ray tracing at round 45 frames per second. With Nvidia DLSS ticked on — which makes use of AI and reduces the render decision of this recreation to attain a quicker body price with ray tracing options enabled — I noticed a median of 75 frames per second, which is fairly nice. Crimson Lifeless Redemption 2 is one other taxing recreation, and this laptop computer might preserve a clean 55 frames per second at its extremely graphical settings (excluding the locked sliders that may actually have an effect on efficiency in most methods).
Warmth, and the noise that laptops make to handle it, is often a standard problem with gaming laptops, however the GS66 Stealth handles the stress gracefully. It manages to remain quiet relative to different machines that undoubtedly sound like they’re about to fly away, and its three fan outtakes alongside the rear and proper facet of the chassis actually transfer loads of air to maintain cool when the system is being correctly taxed. The grille close to the show hinge turns into too scorching to comfortably relaxation a hand on whereas gaming, however the machine usually retains the warmth away from the remainder of the laptop computer.
This configuration handles the purposes I depend on for work and through after hours with ease, and it’s all tremendous clean all through the expertise. Concurrently working 15 Microsoft Edge tabs, Spotify, Slack, and Affinity Picture isn’t a problem, and 32GB of RAM is nice to have if you need to have the ability to run a recreation with out exiting out of purposes. Battery life is often a laughing matter with gaming laptops, however I’m impressed with the roughly five-hour screentime the GS66 Stealth managed with all of my ordinary apps open and the show barely dimmed. It does have a 99Wh battery, which is the authorized restrict by way of capability, and it’s spectacular that it match into such a slim chassis.
In case your workload is centered round video manufacturing in Adobe Premiere Professional, the GS66 Stealth is succesful sufficient to shortly deal with some heavy work. It exported a five-minute, 33-second 4K video in three minutes, 14 seconds — far quicker than it takes to look at the video. This can be a gaming laptop computer, however based mostly on the sheer variety of preinstalled purposes centered on content material creation, MSI needs to allow you to use its energy nevertheless you need. It comes with AudioDirector, ColorDirector, Music Maker Jam, PhotoDirector 10, and PowerDirector 17 out of the field. The facility is flexible, as long as your workflow doesn’t require an SD card slot as a result of it doesn’t have one.
Regardless of its energy, its keyboard was the supply of some productiveness points for me. The keys themselves have a beneficiant quantity of journey and are satisfying to sort on, however MSI’s keyboard format suffers from a bundled association close to the arrow keys that turns executing easy capabilities, like turning up the show’s brightness or the quantity, into an error-prone process. The Fn key that must be held down is half the width of the remainder of the keys, and it’s wedged between the backslash and management buttons. I’d be simply as comfortable to have the arrow keys fall out of line to provide extra space for devoted media and performance keys — or simply do what Razer not too long ago did and make the arrow keys smaller as an alternative. Additionally, MSI constructed the wrist relaxation to be about stage with the peak of the keys, which looks as if an innocuous alternative, however its lip is true subsequent to the area bar, which additional heightens the training curve with this keyboard because it seems like a key. You may get alongside okay with it, however the lip tripped me up.
Last item with the keyboard: this keyboard’s RGB backlighting continues to be managed by means of the SteelSeries Engine three app, however upon loading it up, it mentioned it couldn’t discover a related system. It wasn’t till I redownloaded the app from MSI’s help web page that I obtained the backlighting to work as supposed.
The GS66 Stealth that we examined is a quick gaming laptop computer, and it’s priced competitively to Razer’s Blade 15 — even undercutting its most related configuration on the subject of packing in a quicker refresh price show, a bigger battery, and extra RAM. It’s not a nasty deal on the lower-end configurations both, retaining interesting options like a Thunderbolt three port and a 144Hz refresh price show in its most inexpensive $1,499 mannequin. Regardless of just a few nagging design points, the muse is extra sound and highly effective than ever. MSI’s design is the clear winner in comparison with the plentiful quantity of all-plastic gaming laptops in every configuration’s worth vary. For now, Razer continues to be the usual to beat, however MSI is getting awfully shut.
Pictures by Cameron Faulkner / The Verge
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