Gaming laptops are nothing new in the industry and every manufacturer and their cat now has a range out on the market. I have a lot of respect for the MSI brand as I have been using their products for years now, but I have not sat down to review one of their new gaming devices yet. When I had the chance to review the GS63VR I immediately jumped at it. This gorgeous gaming laptop is basically a desktop replacement, unlike a few other laptops on the market that serve as an extra gaming device. The GS63VR is a true monster and is extremely powerful.
Before I get started with the main features of the device, below are some of the specs that you should keep in mind
- 1TB SATA HDD
- 256 SSD
- 32GB DDR5 RAM
- Core-i7 7700HQ
- GTX 1070 Max-Q 8GB VRAM
- 15.6-inch 120Hz FHD display
- 3x USB 3.0 slots
- 1x USB 2.0
- Steelseries RGB keyboard
GS63VR GTX 1070 Max-Q
What doesn't the GS63VR have in it is more like the question we should be asking. This monster packs quite the punch and considering it is a mere 0.69 inches thin it is very impressive. The laptop features a Core i7-770HQ Quad Core processor, one of the fastest on the market and its main attraction is its GTX 1070 8GB DDR5 Max-Q edition, which if you don't know is a cooler and more power efficient chipset over that of the standard GTX 1070. While this comes at the cost of a few clocks here and there, it still manages to offer a high performance in gaming while keeping things cooler and allowing MSI to create a thin device such as the GS63VR 7RG.
I, for one, prefer the slim design of the device over having a thicker one that was perhaps 10-15 percent more powerful than the Max-Q. The sheer power of the GTX 1070 in this device is more than enough to reach your expectations for portable gaming. It is powerful enough to deliver a great 120Hz experience thanks to the GS63VR's gorgeous display too, so who is complaining here. I think when it comes to gaming notebooks, the slimmer, the better, as you would want to carry them around with you.
Performance on the notebook was flawless in all aspects. Overwatch at 1080p 60FPS on ultra settings was a breeze for this device to deliver. I even got the opportunity to test out the Call of Duty: W2 beta and I have to say that it too was a dream to play on.
Pushing it to the limit
To think that all this power is packed into such a sleek device truly is an achievement in design. I then pushed the device to the limit and booted up Rise of the Tomb Raider on the highest settings and it maintained an average of 48-50 FPS throughout the starting levels. Sure, this is at 1080p still, but we don't need to get into the debate of what is better, resolution or frames, now do we?
Last, but not least, I booted up the game I love testing on review devices, GTA V. The huge open world and demanding engine is a true test for hardware and the GS63VR Stealth Pro was a beast handling that too. On high settings, it managed to keep a stable 60FPS even going above that to 65-70FPS. It is then when I realized just how powerful the device I had on my desk is.
It is also important to note that the GS63VR 7RG Stealth Pro does not have “VR” in its name for nothing. It indeed supports VR and while this sounds cool, I did not have a VR headset to test with it. Don't blame me, blame the ridiculous price of them. I am confident however that with this GTX 1070 Max-Q and the 32GB of RAM built into it, the VR experience would also be great.
Tried and tested design
I am not going to beat around the bush here, I am not a fan of MSI's overall laptop design. I feel as if they have not changed it in ages and the overall look is a bit dated. Still, the GS63VR 7RG is a super-sleek device that weight under 2Kgs, yes literally that power and that alloy chassis, all under 2Kgs, 1.8Kgs to be precise. From the moment I opened the box to the moment I had to wipe the device to give it back, it kind of brought this sexiness into my office that very few devices do.
On the top, you have the infamous MSI dragon, and on the sides, there are all the various ports such as USB 2.0, three USB 3.0 ports, Mini Display port, Ethernet, headphone jack, HDMI, and of course, a Thunderbolt 3 port. In terms of ports, there is nothing fancy here, but we live in a day where every laptop now has every port you can think of. My only gripe is with the positioning of the USBs, as most of them are on the right-hand side of the device, yes, where you would plug in your mouse. Sure, there is a port on the left-hand side too, but I would have rather wanted them to be swapped around.
The device's biggest selling point is the fact that it is basically super thin. Almost half the thickness of say the Titan range from MSI. The reason why is again due to the Max-Q chip in it that allows for a huge cut in size and of course less heat. The problem is that this comes at an increased cost, which I will touch on later.
The shell of the device is made from a sleek black alloy that shines as well as picks up every single fingerprint you place on it. It is also quite a problem to keep clean as the fingerprints leave a mark that is not easily wiped off. I had to use a damp cloth to clean it before I gave it back so people with OCD (don't judge me) beware. The back of the device has a sleek “STEALTH” logo on it and the fans are pretty sexy too, giving the device a premium feel.
One of the big moves for MSI's latest notebooks is the partnership with Steelseries in order to produce a decent gaming keyboard in the device and GS63VR 7RG Stealth Pro packs a great one. Ths RGB keyboard is high-end and looks fantastic in the dark. It also comes with all the settings you would expect from a gaming keyboard to allow for a vast array of customization options. You can change the colours, the breathing effect, even turn on gaming mode which turns off all the keys other than the leftmost side of the keyboard.
Under the device is a strange foam material that coats the bottom of it, and there is a reason why this is there. Believe it or not, the GS63VR 7RG Stealth Pro, as much as I hoped it would be able to handle it, gets very, very hot and this foam makes sure you don't burn if you have it on your lap. The device was reaching 57-60 degrees, which is not crazy when you think about PC hardware internally, but that on the body will cause some skin to stick to the device.
Sound wise the device was not as impressive as I hoped for. Sound distorted quite quickly and there was this lack of bass and quality when playing and listening to music. It does make more sense to use a headset with this, but in case you don't, the sound will not be up to scratch as much as you hoped.
Overall, the MSI GS63VR 7RG Stealth Pro does not play games when it comes to power. It is probably one of the sleekest and most powerful gaming notebooks on the market and a true premium device. Unfortunately, that does all come at a cost. NVIDIAs Max-Q tech is new and costly which all adds up to a total of R41,999. Now, considering it is indeed sleek and powerful, this price is not bad, but it is probably out many budgets.