• Great system running good components across the board. Capable of running all modern games on high graphics settings.
• Strong value for money; will perform like a $2000+ computer.
• Keyboard is a huge standout – best integrated laptop keyboard I've ever used.
• Strongly recommend, although you may want to buy an external drive if you don't already have one.
• NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop): The mobile GTX 1060 is based on the GP106 chip. Compared to the identically named desktop version it features a slightly lower clock rate. Contemporary games in Full HD and maximum details should run fluently on the card. In my use of the laptop, high-demand gaming with settings on high ran very smoothly with no noticeable stutter, screen tear, or input lag. I ran Forza at ultra-high settings with anti-aliasing turned on and experienced an average framerate of 65 FPS, which is better than I had expected.
• Intel Core i5: The Intel Core i5 for laptops is based on the LG1156 Core i5/i7 CPU for desktops. This is widely considered to be the second-best chipset on the market behind the Core i7. Most users won't feel the difference, but power-users such as video editors may want to consider a spec that includes the i7.
• 256GB SSD internal storage: This is a healthy size for a laptop SSD, but in the modern age, represents a fairly small amount of PC storage. You will likely need an external drive if you want to play multiple games easily.
• 8GB RAM included: This is a good amount of RAM for a multi-tasking device; with multiple browser tabs open and 2 large games running, the RAM was at roughly 80% utilization, leaving some room for additional processes. The board supports up to 32GB RAM if you feel the need to expand using aftermarket parts.
Form Factor: 4/5
• 2.1KG weight: This laptop is easily portable. No issues here.
• 15.6” Screen: This is a relatively good panel, especially for the price point. The screen is listed as a 120hz, 3ms refresh rate. Viewing angles are pretty standard for the high-end laptop market. The anti-glare coating is effective, with minimal reflection of a smartphone flashlight pointed directly at the screen. Overall, this is a great spec for this price, but the ultra-high end competitors on the market are putting out 144hz, 1ms screens. Those devices are close to 2 times the cost of this MSI though, so keep that in mind. For all gaming applications other than e-sports/competitive gaming, this doesn't matter at all. If you have aspirations of being the next great Overwatch star, I'd recommend just running an external monitor (which you are likely already doing).
• Body: This is where the MSI loses that point in my rating. The body is high quality black plastic, with a great matte-black finish with minimal fingerprinting issues. That said, it's still mostly plastic. The lid/screen backing is a nice brushed aluminum. I'd give the body the full 5/5 points if they extended the aluminum throughout the design, but as it stands the body is only a 4/5 for me. Don't worry – it's not cheap feeling in the slightest, and it certainly won't break or crack. It's just not quite on par with the build quality of something like a top-end macbook.
• Looks: Won't say too much here as you can just look at the pictures. I personally don't like gaming computers that try to look really intense and “power gamer”. This device has some touches of that, mainly the rainbow keyboard backlight and aggressive red accents. It balances these really nicely with the conservative body and generally muted design, resulting in a computer that looks good but not over the top. This certainly doesn't have the Alienware effect of seemingly shouting “LOOK AT ME” constantly. I actually really the look and feel of the device, and felt that it conveyed it's price point and specs very well to even a casual observer.
• Keyboard: Wow! Seriously, this is a great keyboard. Just get the computer and try it, you won't regret it. I'm a huge fan of mechanical keyboards; while this one isn't mechanical, it's the closest I've ever felt an integrated laptop keyboard feel to a $300 mechanical device. Great feedback on each key press, a perfect press distance to activation, and a comfortable size profile. Best integrated keyboard I've ever used, beats anything from the major PC competitors and Apple.
• Touchpad: It's fine, it's a touchpad. If you're buying an expensive gaming computer, you'll likely be using a peripheral mouse anyways. The pad has both tap-to-click and actual buttons. Absolutely nothing wrong with it, but seriously, just get a Bluetooth mouse.
• Ports: 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type C, 2x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2, 1x Mini DisplayPort, 1x HDMI, Killer E2400 LAN Ethernet Port, Microphone in, Headphone out. SD Card reader. Not much to say here, this is a relatively standard loadout for gaming laptop. 4 USB ports is appreciated.
• Overall, I feel that this is a great device. The spec loadout is good and should continue to be relevant for a few years. The look and feel of the device, while not a standout, certainly doesn't let it down either. The keyboard is pure joy to use, especially relative to the competition. A great gift for a new or experienced PC gamer, or a great upgrade option for those of us on aging hardware. A huge value for money if compared directly to similarly-specced devices on the market.
I am writing this review as part of a contest.