“The MSI GS66 Stealth brings glorious gaming efficiency and a glossy profile, all at a low value.”

  • Nice gaming efficiency
  • Ultrafast 300Hz refresh charge
  • Good keyboard and touchpad
  • Snug floor temperatures
  • Display is a bit dim
  • Questionable construct high quality

The Razer Blade has all the time had one critical competitor. It’s not Alienware, Predator, and even ROG. These manufacturers all make nice gaming laptops in their very own proper, however none that search to do precisely what the Blade does.

Razer’s most direct rival is from a smaller firm (at the very least right here within the states). I’m speaking concerning the MSI GS66 Stealth. It’s an identical dimension, has almost equivalent specs, and — most significantly — shares the identical minimalist design rules. No jutting angles or stereotypical gamer clichés to be discovered right here.

MSI has developed its strategy to overcoming the Razer Blade, and its most up-to-date mannequin, the GS66 Stealth, appears to test all of the containers. Has it beat the Razer Blade at its personal sport?

Design

MSI GS66 Stealth review

There’s a tremendous line between easy and bland. Manufacturers like Razer or Apple are capable of play up their look with some class. The MSI GS66 Stealth struggles to drag off the identical refined trick. It avoids the bombastic type of different gaming laptops, however isn’t fairly as refined as laptops just like the Razer Blade. Even some ROG Zephyrus laptops have a extra constant look.

It’s not a bad-looking laptop computer. It’s only a bit uninteresting.

MSI has even reeled the design again from final yr’s GS65 Stealth, eradicating the gold highlights that performed up the racing stripe theme. It’s now colorless, exterior of the RGB keyboard, preserving to the usual aluminum chassis, painted black. Sadly, there are nonetheless vents alongside the perimeters and throughout the highest of the keyboard deck, stickers throughout the palm rests, and enormous hinges. It’s not a bad-looking laptop computer. It’s only a bit uninteresting.

Luckily, MSI has mounted some points with construct high quality. Earlier fashions had been equally skinny and light-weight, however felt versatile and low-cost. It’s not a flexible piece of plastic, although the lid nonetheless feels a bit wobbly. Even when closed, my unit’s lid may shut flat resulting from its curve.

For a laptop computer that’s simply 4.6 kilos and 0.71 inches thick, that’s necessary. It’s nonetheless not as well-constructed because the equally sized Razer Blade, although, which stays the king on this division.

Keyboard and touchpad

MSI GS66 Stealth review

The keyboard and touchpad match that theme. It’s a big, snug keyboard with a set of springy keys which are pretty much as good for typing as they’re for gaming.

There are quirks within the keyboard structure, nonetheless. The perform key’s solely situated on the best facet, in all probability for shut proximity to the full-sized arrow keys, which additionally double as quantity and display brightness controls. Weirdly, although, it’s solely half the scale of a traditional key. That’s a foul resolution for a key that’s generally used.

I used to be genuinely stunned by the standard of the touchpad.

The keyboard does function RGB backlighting, which is requirement for gaming laptops as of late. You’ve gotten per-key customization, resulting in enjoyable designs, all courtesy of Steelseries. The backlighting isn’t as shiny and constant because the Razer Blade’s, nonetheless.

The touchpad is wider than in earlier fashions. In contrast to the bigger MSI GS75 Stealth, this one doesn’t get in the best way of your palms whereas typing. It’s shorter than what I’m accustomed to, although, due to the big vents above the keyboard. The excellent news is the touchpad tracks properly, and the press mechanism is quiet and exact. I used to be stunned by the standard.

The MSI GS66 Stealth features a 720p webcam above the show, in addition to an IR digital camera for Home windows Hi there facial recognition.

Ports

MSI GS66 Stealth review

The MSI GS66 Stealth presents loads of choices for port connections. On the left, you get USB-A, HDMI, Thunderbolt 3, and a barrel plug energy port.

On the best facet, the GS66 Stealth presents two extra USB-A ports, a further USB-C port, an Ethernet jack, and a headphone jack. That’s all the pieces it’s worthwhile to hook up a number of equipment, output to an exterior monitor, and even hardwire your web connection.

The shortage of a full-sized SD card slot is a miss for creatives who might wish to use this laptop computer as a photo- or video-editing machine. The slot has made a comeback on the brand new Razer Blade and Dell XPS 15. With the MSI GS66 Stealth, you’ll must resort to a dongle.

The positioning of those ports is just a little annoying. Due to the air vents alongside the facet, the ports have been pushed down towards the palm rests. Because it seems, that’s proper the place your mouse often is.

The MSI GS66 Stealth helps the most recent Wi-Fi 6 connectivity by means of Intel, in addition to Bluetooth 5.1.

Gaming efficiency

MSI GS66 Stealth review

Just like the Predator Triton 500 or Razer Blade, the MSI GS66 Stealth options not solely an Nvidia RTX 2080 Tremendous Max-Q graphics card, but in addition a 300Hz refresh charge display. The mix of the 2 means robust GPU efficiency and a display that by no means limits the quantity of frames per second you possibly can see. The MSI mannequin additionally presents screens at 240Hz or 144Hz refresh charges when matched up with slower GPUs just like the RTX 2070 Tremendous or RTX 2060.

My decked-out assessment unit, although, was a prime performer. Take Battlefield V, for instance. The MSI GS66 Stealth handles the sport at 97 frames per second (FPS) with settings at Extremely, and 133 fps at Medium. It’s neck-and-neck with the Razer Blade right here, and even surpasses it on the Medium settings by 11 fps.

The GS66 Stealth performs Fortnite splendidly clean, making nice use of its 300Hz display.

The Razer Blade, Predator Triton 500, and MSI GS66 Stealth had been additionally in a lifeless warmth in Murderer’s Creed Odyssey. The MSI GS66 Stealth performed at 56 fps, only some frames behind its two rivals.

Buying and selling blows once more, the GS66 Stealth performs Fortnite splendidly clean, making higher use of its 300Hz display. It hit a whopping 121 fps with settings at Epic, once more forward of the Razer Blade by 11 fps.

And in case you’re questioning, there are some titles that may truly use the additional body charge headroom that the 300Hz display supplies. Rocket League, for instance, can simply play as much as its most of 250 fps.

All these video games had been performed on the system’s native 1080p decision, although you’ll doubtless get first rate body charges whereas plugged into an exterior 1440p gaming monitor as properly.

Content material creation efficiency

As with the Razer Blade, many individuals might be tempted to make use of the MSI GS66 Stealth for extra than simply gaming — due to its portability and nondescript design.

MSI presents processor choices as much as the Intel Core i9-10980HK, however my unit got here with the Core i7-10875H. This has turn out to be the go-to possibility for high-end gaming laptops, that includes eight cores and 16 threads. That makes it a robust content-creation laptop computer as properly, particularly in functions that may use the highly effective discrete GPU.

MSI GS66 Stealth review

The GS66 Stealth scores higher than the Razer Blade in Geekbench 5, however in real-life professor efficiency, they’re equally matched. For CPU-bound functions like Handbrake, it ties the Razer Blade and loses to the Dell XPS 15. After all, laptops just like the AMD Ryzen 4000-powered Dell G5 SE or Dell XPS 17 blow it out of the water.

A greater instance is the favored video-editing software Adobe Premiere Professional. The MSI GS66 Stealth completed a render of a 4K two-minute clip to ProRes 422 in simply seven minutes and 20 seconds. Once more, that’s virtually equivalent efficiency to the Razer Blade. Because of their extra highly effective GPUs, each of those laptops beat the Dell XPS 15 by about 16%. None of those evaluate to the highly effective Dell XPS 17, although.

MSI pumps up all of its RTX Tremendous fashions with 32GB of RAM and at the very least a 512GB SSD. You may as well go for a downgraded 16GB of RAM, RTX 2060, and a six-core Core i7-10750H.

The system does a stable job preserving the floor temperatures cool, even whereas gaming. That’s an issue I had with the Razer Blade, which tends to remain heat, even in mild internet searching. The cooling is better-controlled right here, which ends up in extra snug floor temperatures. The trade-off, in fact, is the extra vents and fan noise. Even at idle, the followers are all the time spinning.

Show

MSI GS66 Stealth review

The matte 1080p display is unbelievable for gaming, due to its Three millisecond response time and 300Hz refresh charge. Gaming is quick and fluid.

For different actions, it’s solely serviceable. The display maxes out at solely 262 nits, for starters. That’s 15% dimmer than the Razer Blade, and below the 300-nit degree I anticipate from premium laptops. The matte end helps mood reflections, however I might have appreciated to see a brighter display right here.

Luckily, it’s a well-calibrated display with correct colours. The colour gamut isn’t as large as many creatives will need, but it surely matches the 1080p Razer Blade on this regard. MSI does supply a 4K panel, which can be extra enticing for duties exterior of gaming.

The audio system are disappointing. They’re pointed upward, although MSI determined to once more place them on the palm rests, which stays an odd alternative. Both approach, they’re muddled, and lack any bass in anyway.

Battery life

MSI GS66 Stealth review

The MSI GS66 Stealth is in step however not forward of lots of its rivals in a number of areas. One exception to that rule is battery life, the place it pulls forward. I don’t imply that it might probably compete with nongaming laptops, although.

It nonetheless solely manages round 5 and 40 minutes on a single cost — and that’s on a light-weight internet searching load. You may’t work away from the wall for too lengthy with out worrying about battery life. The Dell XPS 15, even with its 4K show, lasts a pair hours longer on a single cost on this similar take a look at.

Nonetheless, the MSI GS66 Stealth lasts 40 minutes longer than the Razer Blade, and hours longer than G-Sync laptops just like the Predator Triton 500. Its 99-watt hour battery is to thank — it’s a step up from the Razer Blade’s 80-watt hour dimension.

The Razer Blade did beat the MSI on our very lightest battery take a look at, which loops a neighborhood video clip till the laptop computer dies. The Blade lasted seven hours and 22 minutes, an hour longer than the MSI GS66 Stealth.

There may be some rising competitors in gaming laptop computer battery life, nonetheless, and that’s the brand new crop of AMD Ryzen 4000 gaming laptops. Its GPU isn’t as highly effective, however the ROG Zephyrus G14 inches previous the MSI GS66 Stealth in internet searching, and lasted a whopping 10 hours in video looping.

Our take

The MSI GS66 Stealth faces an uphill battle. It lacks the refinements of the Razer Blade, and isn’t as inexpensive because the Acer Predator Triton 500. Its benefits don’t go unnoticed, although. The cooling is spectacular, and the gaming efficiency is unbelievable.

It doesn’t double in addition to the Razer Blade does for work, however as an ultra-portable gaming laptop computer, the MSI GS66 Stealth makes a case for itself.

Are there any alternate options?

The Razer Blade has superior construct high quality, a greater show, and a classier look. It’s a number of hundred {dollars} costlier, nonetheless.

The Predator Triton 500 isn’t as glossy because the MSI GS66 Stealth, but it surely’s a bit cheaper, and even features a G-Sync display.

For those who’re contemplating the cheaper Nvidia RTX 2060 model of the MSI GS66 Stealth, the ROG Zephyrus G14 is a robust various.

How lengthy will it final?

The MSI GS66 Stealth ought to final 4 to 5 years, so long as you deal with it. The construct high quality could be a little delicate in locations, so watch out with the way you deal with the lid.

MSI presents a customary one-year guarantee for all laptops.

Do you have to purchase it?

Sure. If the Razer Blade is a bit too costly, and when you nonetheless need a glossy gaming laptop computer, the MSI GS66 Stealth is an effective possibility.

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