Taiwanese gaming brand MSI is working to capture all sides of the gaming market with their budget model, GF63, which will set you back $1,999.
Like many of MSI’s notebooks, the GF63 eschews the usual trappings of a gaming laptop and opts instead for a nice black brushed aluminium shell with subtle red backlighting.
Measuring just 22mm thick and a mere 1.86kg, it is not only thin enough to slip into a backpack or laptop bag but light enough to carry around all day with little exertion.
If portability is a major factor in your choice of a gaming laptop, you’ll be hardpressed to find one of the same price and weight as the MSI GF63.
The notebook features extremely narrow bezels surrounding its LCD panel, for incredibly enjoyable and immersive gaming experiences, Netflix binges, and regular internet browsing.
Its audio is loud and clear and while the screen offers fantastic graphics, the brightness is a little lacklustre.
However, in my opinion, this is brilliant for gameplay as it lets the graphics shine without getting distracted by my own reflection in a shootout.
The model spurns the RGB lighting of its gaming brethren for a more muted red-only keyboard backlighting that has a modest brightness capability.
The keys are well spaced, offered easy typing on flat keys. Ideal for everyday typing.
I wasn’t a big fan of the mouse trackpad, especially during gameplay for locking on a target to shoot. Instead of grabbing a separate mouse, I just remapped controls.
For general use, the trackpad posed no difficulties, mostly just while gaming. But there are compromises gamers can make, like remapping as I did or using a separate mouse.
Concerning software, the model includes MSI’s ‘Dragon Centre 2.0’.
The Dragon Centre acts as a kind of information hub that allows users to check disk space, CPU usage, memory etc. as well as update PC settings and more.
The MSI GF63 offers 2.2GHz Core i7-8750H CPU (8th generation) and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti GPU — which MSI claim improve performance 40% over its previous models.
There are three USB ports, a USB-C port and a full-size Ethernet port, no HDMI output or SD card reader.
It offers plenty of memory capacity with 16GM RAM and 1TB hard drive.
Most importantly, there is no SSD installed which slows i/o considerably resulting in a near minute boot time.
Even with the impressive GPU and CPU stats, it took nearly ten minutes to get to Tomb Raider: Rise of The Tomb Raider game menu. A game whose specs requirement is far exceeded by the MSI machine.
If you have a heavy input/output needs, perhaps consider a model with an included SSD.
Additionally, while very light, its battery life reduces its portability.
Although MSI claims up to 7+ hours of battery life, I got around 6-7 hours and heavy usage made it plummet to less than four hours.
With its NVIDIA graphics card and powerful GPU, it’s not surprising that the battery life drains fast.
This isn’t a complete dealbreaker, as you can always just plug it in for longer gaming sessions, but for travelling it isn’t ideal as it hinders the laptop’s biggest selling point: its portability.
One major issue I had with the laptop, besides the long boot times, was overheating.
Multiple ventilation ports can be found on the rear and on the left side, however, I found that the model I tried out tended to get overheated without too much exertion – even with all the vents.
Not fifteen minutes into a game — including boot time — the laptop began to overheat.
To be fair, it could just be the particular model I was using.
The laptop is an absolute stunner, in my opinion. The svelte frame and thin bezels make for a great gaming and content streaming experience.
The MSI’s slim design and lightweight build are easily its best features, and gamers with a greater need for portability will want to consider the laptop, despite some issues with performance, driven by its slow, traditional hard drive.
However, for students on the move who love gaming and design, this could be a good option.
MSI’s GF63 is available now from MSI’s website and select retailers, including JB Hi-Fi for $1,999.