MSI CS65 Stealth Thin Review
With the MSI GS65 Stealth (2018), MSI has finally taken its top line of laptops to the next level by using the latest technology in the best way possible. The result is a sleek, portable 15-inch laptop on a 14-inch device that can handle both high-end games and heavy business work without breaking the bank. Our prized Editor’s Choice award goes to the MSI GS65 Stealth (2018) game laptop, which has more power than ever before in a sleek, understated package. But we like it so much that we’ve also called it the best MSI gaming laptop of 2020.
MSI GS65 Stealth Specs
- Elegant and understated style
- Exciting, Stunning Performance
- Exceptional work
- Efficient control of temperature
- The bottom gets really hot
- Soon-to-Come Biometric Sign-In
|CPU||3.9GHz Intel Core i7-8750H|
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070|
|Connectivity||Killer N1550 Combo 802.11ac Wi-Fi|
|Camera||720p HD webcam|
|Size||14.08 x 9.75 x 0.69 inches|
Price and what’s available
MSI’s GS65 Stealth will start at $1,799 (about £1,289 or AU$2,349) when it comes out at the end of this year. Everything on the right is included in that price, except for a lower-end GTX 1060 and half as much solid-state storage (SSD) in the NVMe format. For the full setup on the right, you’ll have to pay $1,999 (about £1,429, or AU$2,609).
The most expensive model costs $2,999 (about £2,139, or AU$3,919) and just ups the memory to 32GB and storage to two 512GB NVMe SSDs. This puts the GS65 Stealth close to its main rivals, like the Gigabyte Aero 15X and the Asus ROG GX501 Zephyrus.
When not on sale, Asus’s laptop costs $2,299 (about £1,639 or AU$3,000). It has similar hardware inside, but its 120Hz 1080p Nvidia G-Sync panel display is a bit slower. It also has half as much storage and doesn’t have the new H-series engine from Intel.
MSI’s top-of-the-line thin-and-light gaming laptop has a new look and feel, which is a good thing. The company has focused on making a device that will appeal to a much wider audience. This laptop doesn’t have sharp corners or red LEDs everywhere. Instead, it’s a sleek, all-black device with small gold details on its lid, on its dual hinges, and around its touchpad. These gold details can also be seen around the heat vents on the laptop, but not anywhere else on the black aluminium frame that has been brushed.
The result is one of the most understated gaming computers we’ve seen so far, one that we wouldn’t be embarrassed to pull out in a coffee shop, let alone at an eSports event. The GS65 Stealth feels light and thin because it only weighs 4.14 pounds (1.88 kg) and is only 0.69 inches (17.53 mm) thick. The laptop fits well in our bag and doesn’t make us feel heavy, which is surprising since MSI told us it could have made it even smaller and lighter but chose an Ethernet port and an eight-hour battery life instead.
On the other hand, we don’t have much to say about the amazing display that MSI put on the lid of this laptop. It has almost no borders around it. With borders that are only 4.9mm wide, the display fits a 15.6-inch screen into a 14-inch frame, giving it an 82% screen-to-body ratio. Even so, MSI kept the webcam in a normal place and gave it a good 720p quality, but let’s get back to that screen.
The webcam doesn’t have Windows Hello face recognition technology built in, which is a shame. However, there is a fingerprint reader built into the power button, and MSI says it will be opened in a future update. This screen’s 144Hz refresh rate, 7 ms response time, and in-plane switching (IPS) make games like Warhammer: Vermintide 2 look amazing, with almost no screen tearing when moving quickly around corners. The screen is also very bright. Even at 50% brightness, it is easy to see what’s in dark passageways in games. Plus, MSI’s True Colour 2.0 makes colour gamuts that meet 100% of Adobe RGB and close to 100% of sRGB standards. It also supports game-specific colour modes and anti-blue light modes. When the screen is bent 180 degrees, it’s also cool that the information on the screen can be turned upside down.
One of the first game computers to come out with Intel’s new 8th Gen Coffee Lake processor is the Stealth Thin. One of the biggest changes is that these new chips have six cores instead of four, which makes them faster than the last ones. All of that new power was clear as I watched an episode of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” on Netflix while running Windows Defender and Google Chrome with 25 tabs open.
The Stealth’s 16GB of RAM and 3.9-GHz Intel Core i7-8750H processor breezed through the job without any lag. The laptop also did well in our simulated tests. It scored 17,184 on Geekbench 4, which is a lot higher than the 15,942 average for expensive game laptops. The Core i7-8750H CPU in the Zephyrus gave it a great score of 20,590, while the Core i7-7820HK CPU in the Alienware 15 and the Core i7-7700HQ CPU in the 1510 gave it a score of 14,223. During the Handbrake test, it took the Stealth 12 minutes and 1 second to convert a 4K movie to 1080p. That’s faster than the average of 14:10 for the group and 14:00 for the 1510. Still, it couldn’t beat the Zephyrus, which won the race in 9:43.
Most of the time, you have to choose between power and battery life on a gaming machine. The stealth is different. The system lasted an amazing 5 hours and 40 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which consists of continuously browsing the web over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. This is much longer than the average expensive game laptop, which lasts only 3:49. After 2:47, the Zephyrus ran out of fuel.