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MSI Raider GE63VR 7RE 120Hz Gaming Laptop Review

So has MSI succeeded in creating a Raider that can plunder your gaming heart while it raids your wallet? Overall the answer has to be “yes”. It’s not perfect by any means, but the highlights overshadow the weaknesses enough that we would still recommend it.

On balance, the GE63VR 7RE has a decent selection of specs. The GTX 1060 video card is enough to run most recent games at nice frame rates, and it’s the baseline Nvidia card for an enjoyable VR experience. Paired with that quad-core Kaby Lake Core i7 processor, a main SSD and generous hard drive, it’ll power happily through most work or play scenarios albeit with some compromises for the latter.

While we would rather have seen a Core i5 paired with a GTX 1070 – because for 99 percent of games GPU always trumps CPU –  the former’s downgrade would not have been enough to keep the price at a similar level. Do remember that if your budget allows you can opt for this Raider’s bigger, badder sibling with exactly that card and the same Core i7, which will give you a superior gaming experience.

MSI’s choice of 120Hz TN display was a very pleasant surprise. By TN standards it’s pretty darn good; in fact, poor viewing angles aside it’s one of the better gaming laptop screens we’ve come across. It offers fantastic colour coverage and adequate accuracy for casual photo editing, contrast that’s up there amongst the best of its kind, and no artefacts or backlight bleed to distract from the gaming experience.

Speaking of gaming experience, in those titles where the 1060 could push the frames out consistently close to its native 120Hz refresh, it was an absolute joy to play on, especially since its fast pixel response meant there was virtually no ghosting or smearing. We just wish MSI had managed to implement G-Sync as this scenario is going to be pretty rare if you like running the latest 3D games at maximum detail.

Pulling you further into your entertainment experiences, the GE63VR Raider 7RE’s Giant speakers merit the terrible name and space they take up, providing not just pretty decent mids and trebles at impressive volume levels, but also that rarest of things in the laptop audio world: bass that actually has some tightly-controlled kick to it.

While it’s not mechanical, the SteelSeries RGB keyboard is a pleasure to use for gaming or typing, and its dizzying array of backlight options through apps and macro-key control makes it the most comprehensive solution we’ve yet encountered. It’s paired by a very usable touchpad, and a good selection of connectivity.

Unfortunately, there are also a few serious caveats. This laptop gets noisy under load, very noisy, and still only manages to keep its CPU within a few degrees of the throttling threshold when pushed. And battery life is on the poor side of average, so don’t expect to be able to complete any gaming marathons away from a socket.

The GE63VR Raider 7RE as reviewed (except with 8GB of RAM rather than 16GB of our review sample) is available from SaveOnLaptops for £1,497.00 here.

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Pros:

  • Good build quality with lots of real metal
  • Nvidia GTX 1060 and Core i7 combo provides adequate performance for decent gaming and VR
  • Speedy 120Hz TN display wows with excellent colours and good contrast
  • Some of the best speakers we’ve heard on any gaming laptop with bass that packs a punch
  • Gorgeous per-key RGB-backlit SteelSeries keyboard

Cons:

  • GTX 1060 is not powerful enough to consistently game at the screen’s native resolution and refresh
  • TN display still means limited viewing angles
  • Gets very noisy under load, CPU runs seriously hot when stressed
  • Battery life on the poor side of average
  • Edgy plastic feet can be uncomfortable on your lap

KitGuru says: The good definitely overshadows the bad for this member of the Raider family, packing as it does a great 120Hz display, game-worthy GPU, stunning speakers and a simply gorgeous keyboard. Just make sure you can live with the noise and poor battery life.

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Rating: 8.0.

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