Let’s face it: Gaming laptops are pricey, especially the ones that have stellar performance.
If you’re looking for the best gaming laptops in the market, then there’s only one choice: MSI―one of the top laptop brands of 2020 and the world’s leading PC and laptop manufacturer in high-end gaming.
That being said, how good is MSI overall? Find out as we break the brand down in this full laptop review.
Table of Contents
- What Does MSI Stand For?
- Are MSI Gaming Laptops Good?
- Key Components
- How Reliable Are MSI Laptops?
- The 5 BEST MSI Gaming Laptops to Level Up With
- The Problem with MSI Laptops
- The Final Verdict
What Does MSI Stand For?
Micro-Star International (MSI) is a Taiwanese multinational tech giant that produces, develops, and creates the following:
- Computer hardware
- Graphics card
- Gaming systems
The company was established in 1986 and slowly built its reputation to what it is today: a big name brand in the industry.
Are MSI Gaming Laptops Good?
MSI always stays at the top of its game by bringing something new to the table.
MSI laptops are innovative and use only the latest cutting-edge technologies, making them a GREAT choice for any laptop use.
BUT that’s not what makes it stand out.
If you’re a huge fan of e-sports like we are―guilty as charged―then you’ve probably come across the brand already.
A quick Google search will likely tell you that MSI produces the best laptops meant for gaming. And Google does NOT lie.
MSI’s specialty rests on developing high-end gaming laptops.
its gaming performance is SPECTACULAR because it combines powerful processors and game-enhancing features such as:
- Backlit keyboard
- Optimized cooling system
Indeed, MSI’s gaming laptops are top-notch.
MSI Core Strengths
- Solid build
- High-end graphics card for hardcore gaming and video editing
- Sleek and compact gaming laptop designs
- Good battery longevity
MSI Core Weaknesses
- Lack of Variety in Selection for budget and working laptops
- Lack of Technical Support
You don’t have to be a tech junkie to know that a laptop’s central processing unit (CPU) is the main chip responsible for running the show. As such, CPUs play a HUGE role.
For any laptop, its performance is tied to how advanced its CPU or internal processor is. MSI consists of 4 different types:
- Intel Core i5
- Intel Core i7
- Intel Core i9
- Intel Core i11
If you don’t want your device to slow down while playing, you’d have to choose the higher numbers.
Although most budget laptops use the Core i3 option, MSI knows that the i3 doesn’t have enough power to run high-end games
More often than not, all of the company’s latest laptop models use only Core i5 and higher. MSI doesn’t cut any corners at all!
A Core i5 CPU is an entry-level chip that’s more than capable enough to handle most games but won’t last as long as the Core i11, the most advanced and premium alternative in the menu.
On the other hand, a Core i7 processor from MSI is the happy medium: enough processing power for the latest games without breaking the bank.
As game enthusiasts, one of the most useful hacks that we’ve learned along the way is choosing a laptop with a good GPU.
Because computer game software relies heavily on graphics, the graphics card is equally as vital as the CPU regarding your gaming experience.
MSI’s models are considered a powerful laptop for gaming because it is equipped with either an NVIDIA GTX or RTX chips.
Both graphics cards are designed specifically for e-sports and can handle even the most demanding software. HD VR and high-ultra AAA gaming and games with heavy simulations…you name it!
And to add, it uses a Discrete GPU Mode Switch Technology. With this feature, users can solve software compatibility issues and increase gaming performance.
When it comes to quick data access, a larger RAM is always better. As games get more demanding, the bigger the RAM you’ll need.
Most software requires at least 4GB RAM for a good gaming experience, but MSI goes beyond that. Sensible as ever, the brand starts its range from 8GB going all the way up to 32GB for its top-tier models.
Even better? You can easily upgrade the component and its storage without a hitch.
Great power comes with great responsibility, Uncle Ben would say. And this couldn’t be more accurate when it comes to choosing the best laptop brands for gaming.
Because powerful laptops pack a mean punch, they also need a good cooling system to match their powerful processor, which is why most MSI laptops have about:
- 11 heat pipes
- 4 fans
The combination gives gamers twice the cooling effect that goes a long way for all those long hours of grinding in Valorant, League of Legends, or Fortnite.
As for the brand’s Thin and Leopard Series, the laptops feature a thermal cooling system made of:
- 6 heat pipes
- multiple fans
The features are good enough for its lightweight laptops or its entry-level gaming laptops.
What’s more, many of MSI’s units are coated with CNC Polished Copper Blocks and Aluminum die-casting alloy plates for optimized cooling and greater durability.
In terms of screen specs, MSI doesn’t miss out.
You can choose between 15.6″ to 17.3″ inch display screens, available either at full high definition (FHD) of 1080p or at an astounding 2k to 4k resolutions.
However, bigger doesn’t always mean better. Newbies make the mistake of thinking that a 4k display screen is better than a 1080p gaming laptop. WRONG!
The pros know the real deal: a 1080p FHD has smoother gameplay and longer battery life. That’s why MSI’s Titan Series, one of the brand’s higher-end models, only comes with 1080 FHD displays.
What If You’re a Serious Gamer?
You should be more concerned about the screen’s refresh rate rather than its size and resolution.
Typically, budget notebooks and consumer laptops have a refresh rate of 60Hz, which suits daily office work. But for gaming laptops, a higher refresh rate is necessary.
An ordinary gaming laptop requires at least 120 Hz, a decent enough speed but will still be a bother when you’re in the moment.
In contrast, the latest state-of-the-art gaming laptops have 300 Hz and 240 Hz between them.
In this area, MSI has a big advantage over its competitors with its Stealth Series at 360 Hz, making it the FASTEST gaming laptop from the company.
It’s the little details that make all the difference. One of the coolest things about MSI that sets the brand apart is the extra laptop features that it comes with.
For one, it has a backlit keyboard. Its GS76 Stealth and newer models are equipped with a special light feature meant to light up and spread into the chassis whenever you press a key.
Red, blue, pink, green, yellow… You can choose from ALL the colors of the rainbow―and about 16.8 million others.
Depending on your mood, you can switch it up by customizing the settings and even making it dance to Resident Evil’s soundtrack or whatever tune you have in mind.
We won’t judge you if you listen to Cardi B’s WAP or Red Velvet’s Psycho on full blast!
Another thing is the Shift Feature that lets gamers select multiple profiles. The feature allows you to choose between two options: to push your laptop to its limits or save battery.
And, lastly, many may not know of this, but you can also run Android applications on your Windows laptop using the MSI App Player. Innovation never stops at MSI!
Gaming laptops don’t have the best reputation for their batteries. That said, MSI’s is decent enough and does better than its direct rival, Asus.
For instance, the MSI GS65 Stealth lasts nearly 5 hours per charge―not bad for a gaming laptop, despite falling short of its promised 8 hours.
If you want your laptop to look futuristic yet elegant, then the company’s designs are a good match.
The laptops are made out of high-quality aluminum and alloy materials.
The combination is perfect because it has a solid feel to it while still being light and compact enough to carry around with you anywhere.
This is especially true for its Stealth series, which features some of the smallest gaming laptops produced by MSI with its gold accents and RGB lighting.
Tech Support & Warranty
When you run into laptop trouble, don’t expect 24/7 customer support and tech support from MSI.
Many MSI laptop users complain that it takes days and weeks for the company to reply when you try to reach them over social media. Contacting them via e-mail or website isn’t any better.
The only bright side to it is the 1-year warranty and the incidental damage protection MSI offers.
The company will shoulder all replacement and repairs… if you manage to get a hold of its tech support team.
Value for Money
MSI uses only the best grade materials and processors for its laptops… But of course, these come with a nice price tag.
Its top-of-the-line models for professional gamers are at least $3,500, while its mid-ranged laptops cost about $1,000.
For those who don’t want to spend big, MSI offers budget-friendly laptop options starting at $700.
- Budget-Friendly ($1,000 below): MSI GF63, GL63, GP62 Leopard, MSI GV62
- Mid-Range ($1,000 to $2,000): MSI GS66 Stealth, GS63 Leopard, GL63, GL62M, GF75 Thin, GE63, GF65
- Premium ($3,500 to $4,500): GT75 Titan, GE75 Raider, GS75 Stealth Ultra Thin Laptop
So, MSI is a brand that’s your money’s worth? If we’re talking about gaming laptops, then yes. It has a wide selection that’s sure to fit your budget and whose performance is guaranteed.
However, MSI’s business laptops are a bit lacking. At current, the brand only has limited models for it, namely:
All are priced highly.
How Reliable Are MSI Laptops?
The company’s record surpassed that even of Apple’s MacBook Pro and Microsoft, making it the better brand in this category.
The 5 BEST MSI Gaming Laptops to Level Up With
Ready to play? Here are the top-rated MSI laptops for both entry-level and expert gamers:
- Best Laptop for Light Gaming: MSI GS66 Stealth
- Best Compact Gaming Machine: MS GS75 Stealth
- Best Option with Cooling System: MSI GE66 Raider
- Best Laptop with Incredible Speakers: MSI GE75
The Problem with MSI Laptops
No laptop is ever exempted from overheating, crashing, and all sorts of system issues. Even the best of the best still have problems.
In the 4 to 5 years lifespan of an MSI laptop, you’ll encounter these common problems along the way:
- Hinge issues
- Touchpad gets folds into a permanent “clicked” state if pushed too hard
- High temperatures over extended gaming load
- Login delays
- Chrome freezing
- Mild chassis rattle
- Poor tech support
BUT, the thing is, MSI makes great laptops. It’s a good balance between price, performance, and build. The support isn’t stellar, but you get what you pay for.
The Final Verdict
So, are the brand’s laptops any good? Is buying an MSI laptop still worth it in 2021? 100% YES.
MSI is a reputable brand with a lot going for it in its lineup of gaming laptops.
If you’re a gamer who’s in it for a good time, you’re sure to love all the bits and pieces that are sure to enhance the gaming experience.
However, if you’re in the search for non-gaming laptops, then MSI is NOT it.
Although the brand has its own consumer laptop, it is EXPENSIVE. There are better brands that offer better performance at a cheaper price.