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MSI GS65 Stealth 8RE Review

Rating: 8.0.

MSI GS65 is a thin and light laptop that is powered by a combination of Intel 8th Gen. CPU and Nvidia GTX graphics, but we know that’s not going to be the focus of your attention. For one thing MSI has adopted a black and gold colour scheme, rather than the usual black and red, and for another, just look at that screen. It measures 15.6-inches on the diagonal but looks much smaller as it has a tiny bezel – around 5mm in thickness. When the laptop is running you will also appreciate the way the 144Hz refresh rate almost breaks new ground. We say ‘almost’ because we saw the same refresh-rate with the Gigabyte Aero 15X so yes, we’re excited by GS65 but you need to know we have seen some of these features before.

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Specification:
Screen Size: 15.6-inch
Screen Type: FHD 1,920×1,080, 144Hz, 7ms, Narrow Bezel, IPS-Level
Backlight: LED
Processor: Intel Core i7-8750H Processor 2.2 GHz-4.1GHz, 9MB Cache
Memory: 16GB DDR4-2666MHz, dual channel
Graphics: GTX 1060, 6GB GDDR5
Storage: 256GB Samsung NVMe SSD
Wireless: Intel Wireless-AC 9560 and Bluetooth 5
USB Ports: 3x Type-A USB 3.1 Gen2, 1x Type-C USB 3.1 Gen2
Display outputs: 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x Mini Display Port.
Dimensions: 357.7mm x 247.7mm x 17.7mm
Weight: 1.8kg
Operating System: Windows 10 Home

We had a solid plan to review the MSI GS65 Stealth 8RF with GTX 1070 Max-Q, however that plan came off the rails. First we ran a preview of the MSI GS65 and then we waited for MSI us sent us a full retail version of the laptop for our review. In the meantime we reviewed the Gigabyte Aero 15X which shares a large number of features with the GS65. When we finally got to benchmark the GS65 8RF we were slightly disappointed as the results were consistently below those of the Aero 15X.

We had some back and forth with MSI and they decided the smart move was to send us the GS65 8RE with GTX 1060 graphics which caused a certain amount of delay as we had to wait for stock to arrive. It also meant that your man Waldock had to test a second laptop ,but on the plus side of the ledger KitGuru has been able to test two SKUs of GS65 along with the Aero 15X. Has anyone else managed that? We don’t think so.

The main impression you get when you sit in front of the GS65 is that the huge bright screen fills the lid from edge to edge. In fact the screen is mid-sized, however the tiny bezel is a real winner, the ‘IPS-level’ technology looks good and the high 144Hz refresh rate means there is no chance of judder or blur at any time. In addition the chassis is thin and light, which is always desirable, however it feels a bit slab-like and doesn’t exude the feeling you get when a chassis has been milled from a billet of aluminium. The vented cover behind the keyboard flexes to an alarming extent and when you flip the laptop over you can clearly see the bottom cover is screwed in place.

The ports and connectors are arranged on the left and right hand sides where everything is within easy reach, although you don’t get an SD card slot. Added to that, the laptop feels good to type on although it has to be said the keys have very little travel. The SteelSeries keyboard is a decent size (MSI has chosen to ditch the NUM pad) and the touchpad is located centrally just where you would hope to find it. While the RGB keyboard is pleasant enough when you set it to a single static colour, the moving Rainbow pattern won’t be for everyone.

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