Buy a high quality MSI gaming laptop for a fabulous gaming experience? The MSI GS65 Stealth was one of our favorite gaming laptops last year, a stylish thin-and-light premium machine at a fair price. The new GS66 Stealth (starts at $1,499; $2,699 as tested) is a sturdier build with more power, but it loses some of the sleekness and unique flair of its predecessor. Internally, the brand-new Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super (Max-Q) GPU and Intel Core i7-10750H processor power the GS66 to super-high frame rates, shown on a blazing 300Hz display. But considering the expectations raised by our test unit’s price and parts, it doesn’t quite blow away the competition—between our performance and design nitpicks, the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX502 remains our high-end gaming Editors’ Choice. We’ll wait to see other systems with these flashy new components before possibly picking a new favorite.
High-end gaming laptops have all the bells and whistles, but truth be told, you don’t need RGB keyboard lights to play or enjoy today’s games. MSI’s GL65 ($699 as tested) is a value-oriented gaming laptop that proves that in spades. This 15.6-inch rig’s hardware for the money is as good as it gets in late 2019, including a 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU, a speedy Intel Core i5 quad-core processor, and a surprisingly roomy 512GB solid-state drive. The whole package is topped off by a bright full HD (1,920-by-1,080-pixel) display, making the GL65 a stellar example of entry-level notebook gaming and our new Editors’ Choice among bargain gaming laptops.
The GE66 and its more diminutive cousin, the GS66 Stealth, are both revamped for 2020, though they’re not clean-sheet designs. The GE66 replaces last year’s GE65 Raider, bringing many external and internal changes and improvements. The most visually obvious changes include an additional measure of design restraint in the display lid, which ditches the red-striped ridges in favor of a completely smooth surface. It’s a welcome improvement for people who cringe at the gamer aesthetic. MSI also toned down the shield logo on the display lid, removing its color so it blends in with the dark silver surface. Find additional information at MSI gaming laptop.
The GL65 is hardly the only 15.6-inch gamer to retail for under a grand with a quad-core CPU and a 4GB GeForce GTX 1650, but it’s further under that mark than most. As a matter of fact, as I type this, the system I’m reviewing (model 9SC-004) is an unbeatable deal. A Lenovo Legion Y545 with comparable hardware rings up at $849 with only half the storage (256GB). The Dell G3 15 (3590) is in similar straits, costing $100 more than the MSI although that price buys you both a 128GB SSD and a 1TB hard drive. Another option is the Asus TUF Gaming FX505 series (a technology refresh of the TUF Gaming FX504G), but it’s also more expensive when outfitted with a comparable AMD Ryzen 7 3750H processor.
Now, that pricing comparison focuses only on core specs, but key hardware is what matters most in the budget gaming world. (Features like RGB lighting, for instance, don’t actually do anything for gaming performance. Blasphemy, I know.) Given that we’re down to basics in this tier, saving $100 or more is nothing to sneeze at. It can buy two or more AAA-level game titles, a gaming peripheral or two, or almost a year’s subscription to Xbox GamePass. Getting back to the GL65, its 2.4GHz Core i5-9300H processor is a quad-core, eight-thread part with a 45-watt thermal design power (TDP) rating, qualifying it as a chip worthy of a desktop-replacement notebook. Gaming laptops in the next pricing tier usually step up to the Core i7-9750H, a six-core, 12-thread chip that’s better suited to multitasking and livestreaming duties. See even more info on https://msigaminglaptop.com/.