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REVIEW: MSI GS65 Stealth Thin – Pretty, Powerful & Pricey

Taiwanese PC manufacturer, msi, has sought to capitalise on the growth of the female gamer, debuting a stylish, gold accented laptop with robust gaming capabilities – the pricey and aptly named GS65 Stealth Thin (A$3,399).

Claimed to herald in a ‘new era’ of gaming, the aesthetically pleasing GS65 Stealth Thin is a stark deviation the former chunky, black laptops of old.

msi claims the GS65 Stealth Thin is the world’s first gaming laptop to feature a 144Hz display with 4.9mm thin bezels, producing a striking 82% screen-to-body ratio.

For portability, the device is a comparatively lightweight 1.8kg, which my petite arms especially appreciate. As an added plus, the new ‘slim adapter’ claims to be 28% smaller than the former model.

The laptop’s minimalist design renders its appropriate for professional settings, adding versatility for the adult gamer who craves a device which is suitable for both ‘work and play’.

With “diamond-cutting” gold-toned trim, the GS65 Stealth Thin claims to break “every gaming laptop stereotype”, making way for gamers who want robust power in a stylish frame.

All in all, it’s a sophisticated design which doesn’t scream ‘gaming laptop’.

The laptop’s screen is flexible enough to swivel 180-degrees, but there’s something about the hinge which feels fragile at the seam.

Potentially an irrational worry, the device remained in good nick, and it’s probably a by-product of its lightweight design.

Adding further versatility, the laptop features an assortment of ports – from Ethernet to HDMI, mic in and audio out jacks, to USB-C and mini DisplayPort.

 

[GS65 Stealth Thin]

Performance

Despite its ‘pretty’ allure, the GS65 Stealth Thin packs some serious punch (specifications above).

Equipped with Nvidia’s Max-Q tech and Intel’s latest eighth-gen Coffee Lake processor, the 15.6-inch device delivers a 7ms response time and 144Hz refresh rate – a claim I’ll say is largely substantied.

You immediately notice a difference compared to less advanced gaming laptops, and truthfully it’s hard to go back – we can thank the GEFORCE® GTX 10 series graphics for that.

The level of colour depth, clarity and tone deliver the HD video quality I believe today’s gamer craves (1,920 x 1,080 HD resolution).

As a credit to the device’s design, I found its significantly reduced bezels certainly did enhance gameplay.

I can’t comment further than simply saying, the larger screen-to-body ratio provided a notably immersive gaming experience.

In terms of loading and set-up, the 512GB SSD/16GB RAM helps to produce quick boot times.

The accompanying SteelSeries keyboard is fine. There’s nothing wrong with the keys, however, they do feel a bit ‘loose’ – but that’s just my personal taste.

They’re also quite large keys, which took a slight bit of adjusting for my petite hands.

The size of the keyboard letter font is also somewhat large, which for someone with my horrendous sight was actually appreciated, without impacting overall aesthetics.

Concerning RGB lighting – almost a staple for today’s gaming equipment – the GS Stealth Thin provides a realm of possibilities.

Despite its sophisticated outwardly design, there’s ample room for flashy-lights the teenage gamer within us all desires.

Each key features RGB back-lighting, which is easily customisable via included software. Changing colour tones and visual effects is not hard, easily catering to your mood with  ‘16.8 million colours’ animated effects.

As mentioned, the GS65 Stealth Thin’s display quality is truly striking, however, unfortunately audio pales in comparison.

Audio is not terrible by any standard – it’s high res up to 24bit/192 kHz – but lacks some depth when pushed to max volume.

Again, not awful, but the laptop’s display qualities far exceed its sound arsenal.

msi claims the product features “immersive 7.1 virtual surround sound” – i.e. 3D surround sound – for gaming, music and conference calls.

There is definitely a surround effect – and I appreciate the versatility it caters for outside gaming – but compared to your standard high-res audio players [such as from Sonos], the laptop falls slightly short.

Despite this, users can amend their laptop’s settings to increase VOIP volume, balancing your sound against gameplay audio, on platforms such as Skype. I found this a handy feature.

Concerning software, msi’s ‘Dragon Centre 2.0’ provides a hub of information e.g. control panel settings and general PC maintenance.

Users can check CPU, memory, disk space etc, change interface, colour contrast, fan settings and more.

I’m not too precious, so PC maintenance and monitoring settings were the most useful to me. However, I imagine some gamers may particularly enjoy the level of customisation available.

The GS65 Stealth Thin features a nifty ‘Gaming Mode’, which automatically boosts computer settings to suit a particular game, delivering optimal visuals and the fastest frame rate.

The list of compatible games is continually growing, however, includes some age-old goodies such as World of Warcraft and Dota 2.

msi claims the new GS65 Stealth Thin features a 40% performance enhancement over the previous generation.

Be it gaming, or other high-intensity tasks (e.g. video editing) the GS65 Stealth Thin was superbly reliable, and rarely [if ever] significantly struggled.

Personally, the hardware grunt of the GS65 Stealth Thin is among its hero features – this device is not playing around.

Despite its sleek and refined exterior, there’s a lot of grunt under the hood.

Like many other gaming laptops, battery life leaves many users’ wanting more. msi states the laptop delivers up to 8 hours battery life, however, personally I found it averaged around 7 hours. Heavy usage brought it down to around 5.

msi claims the GS65 Stealth Thin features a new advanced cooling system (’Cooler Boost Trinity’ with three fans) which ensures gamers remain “calm” and “sharp”.

During my testing, the top of the laptop did not get exceedingly heat, even after several hours usage.

Despite this, the undercarriage did heat up somewhat, but you couldn’t feel it near your fingers.

Like other gaming laptops there was notable sound from the fans – nothing awful, but not silent.

I did appreciate that you can turn off the laptop’s trackpad when using a mouse, making for easier gameplay.

Speaking of the trackpad, it’s nicely built, but sometimes felt a touch tight when clicking. Nothing major, but something to note.

Speaking with some of my pro-gamer friends, one the GS65 Stealth Thin’s major subtractions is its lack of G-Sync.

For webcam users, the device features a 720p front camera, which isn’t bad. I can imagine a 1080p webcam would bump up the price of the device even more, however, it seems an appropriate trade-off to maintain a marketable price.

Overall

msi’s GS65 Stealth Thin is undoubtedly one of the most beautifully designed ‘gaming laptops’ I’ve seen.

The Taiwanese company has recognised that female gamers are the way of the future, and has delivered a product that looks aesthetically pleasing, without compromising processing power.

Whilst pricey, I’ll summarise by saying that the GS65 Stealth Thin is one of the most versatile laptops on the market.

Consumers can be comfortable taking the laptop to work, business meetings, and then back to home for some relaxing gaming.

The GS65 Stealth Thin is an all-rounder laptop in a beautiful package, with plenty of grunt and reliable hardware that largely performs as it claims.

For the teenage gamer within all adults, there’s also a highly customisable RGB light system.

Whilst there’s a few things that could be improved – e.g. battery life, audio and hinge build – msi has paved the way for a new era of gaming laptops, which are both stylish and internally strong.

I truly appreciate the device’s lightweight build and its emphasis on versatile portability, coupled with its striking screen-to-body ratio for immersive gameplay.

msi’s GS65 Stealth Thin is available to purchase in Australia from several authorised retailers including JB Hi-Fi here. (Further specifications are available on msi’s website here).

Overall – 8.6/10

Performance – 8.8/10

Design – 8.9/10

Value – 8.2/10

 

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