MSI: Best and Worst Laptop Brands

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MSI's lineup of mostly gaming laptops is packed with new and intriguing features, such as mechanical keyboards and eye-tracking sensors. We love the performance, design and innovation of the company's products. The brand places fifth  — but that's not because of any flaw in its laptops but rather the company's mediocre tech support, weak warranty and very limited selection.

Design (11/15)

MSI takes risks, and they usually pay off. Case in point: the GT72S Dominator Pro Dragon Edition and its bright-red aluminum lid, complete with a dragon imprint. But if you prefer your mammoth gaming system to be a bit more subdued, there's the regular GT72 2QE Dominator Pro. And the GT80 Titan SLI is the only gaming laptop with a mechanical keyboard.

The company isn't all play, though, delivering slim, stately, aluminum workstations like the WS60 that offer customizable backlighting. The PE60 Prestige is the unfortunate exception to the rule, with a chintzy plastic chassis that's thick around the edges.

Reviews (26/30)

MSI-GT72-Dominator-inline

MSI doesn't have the most diverse portfolio of laptops, but they are quality machines. Out of the five MSI laptops we reviewed, the lowest score was 3.5. The 4.5-star MSI GT72 Dominator Pro Dragon Edition was also a real standout in the increasingly competitive gaming category, featuring a brilliant mechanical keyboard, a gorgeous red-and-black paint job and sky-high graphics performance from its desktop-level Nvidia 980 GPU. MSI exemplifies the principle of staying focused on your strengths.

Tech Support (15/20)

MSI's phone support is limited to 12 hours daily (9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET), and the company ranked dead last in the most recent Tech Support Showdown. Some of our calls went unanswered, and a lack of live chat or online database built for power users limits the usefulness of MSI's support. When we finally connected with customer-support reps over the phone, however, our calls were concise and valuable.

MORE: MSI Tech Support Rating

Warranty (3/5)

The company provides a two-year limited warranty on its laptops,  which is longer than most of its competitors offer. However, you must pay for your own shipping costs. You can upgrade the RAM or storage without voiding the warranty, provided that you don't damage your computer.

Software (3/5)

Last year, many of MSI's gaming laptops, including the GT72 Dominator Pro Dragon Edition, included the Dragon Gaming Center (pictured below), a hub for your settings and other features to customize and elevate your gaming setup. Many of the company's laptops also included System Monitor, which keeps tabs on your CPU and GPU temperatures, network connection and fan speed. They also have the SteelSeries Engine, GeForce Experience and XSplit Gamecaster built in.

MSI-GT72-Dominator-screenshot_inline
Unfortunately, the focus hasn't been entirely on gaming. There's been plenty of bloatware on Titan and Dominator models, including Flipboard, Music Maker Jam, So Cookbook, Evernote Touch and Norton Studio. The nongaming WS60 came preloaded with trials of Microsoft Office, Symantec’s security suite, and WinZip, along with MSI's own Battery Calibration program.

Innovation (10/10)

If there's a high-end gaming feature, MSI will usually be the first to implement it. In 2015, the company was the first major manufacturer to use a mechanical keyboard on a gaming laptop and among the first to offer Nvidia's G-Sync anti-tearing technology. In 2016, MSI unveiled the GT72 Dominator Pro, which uses a desktop-class graphics card to provide high enough performance for virtual-reality gaming, and the GT72 G Tobii, the first gaming laptop with built-in eye-tracking technology.

Value and Selection (7/15)

Almost all of the laptops MSI releases in the U.S. are high-end gaming rigs, from the $950 PE60 Prestige to the $3,400 GT80 Titan SLI, with a handful of models in between. The WS60 workstation was the only MSI nongaming system we reviewed in the past year. If you're looking for serious mobile gaming hardware, MSI has more than its fair share of pricey options, but forget about budget laptops or mainstream consumer products.

MORE: Best MSI Laptops

How MSI Can Improve

MSI's products are top-notch, but its warranty and support don't match up. The company should offer 24-hour phone support, improve its online resources and pay for return shipping on defective laptops.

Best & Worst Laptop Brands

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17 comments
  • bo jørgensen Says:

    Stay away from MCI laptops. My son had one and by accident broke the cover. The computer was just over one year, but MCI can nut supply spare parts. Stay away from a company that dont have spere part for atleast 2-3 years. Waste of money

  • Gheorghe Adrian Says:

    In my case the Collected for free the device ,they send me ups label and was Collected by ups after I arange the collection with ups and they send me label for 2kg loptop and the laptop have around 4kg

  • Gheorghe Adrian Says:

    Hi, I brought a msi notebook gt72s 6qe dominator pro G 32gb ram NVIDIA GeForce 980M cpu i76820K 2.7GHz with turbo bust to 3.6GHz ,price $3500,and get broken down after I delete all drivers (factory reset ) ,Screen it's dark no beeping when I start the unit ,one off the part it's gone in only 3 weeks ,I'm very, very disappointed

  • trojan Says:

    i'd urge everyone here to take both negative AND positive reviews with a pinch of salt.

    At the end of the day all reviews are subjective to that particular users experience.

    Apple for example are hugely popular (I don't know why) but there will always be someone that has something bad to say about them. Same with these guys I suspect.

    The specs for these computers are a lot better than most. I can't imagine them being that bad honestly.

  • Brad801 Says:

    MSI makes great maybe the best notebooks/laptops at least in my experience. The $799 GL62 6QF is a killer laptop for the money. 6th gen i5 6300HQ or i7 6700HQ, 1tb HDD 8gb DDR4 RAM, USB type-c, plus you add a M.2 PCI-E gen 3 SSD like the Samsung 950 pro because MSI left empty slot.
    That's just their mid entry level laptop it gets better all the way up imho. I also am a huge fan of their mobile workstations (I need one soon & bad) for making music in and out of studio. I've had Asus, HP, Apple, Dell and the MSIs are my personal favorite.

  • thomas f Says:

    I bought a GT72s 6QE. The best of the MSI line or close to it.... very disappointing.
    Unstable. Keyboard letters wearing after 3 months... sub par performance consiering the 32gig of ram and 8 gig of vid ram... I think the models in the $1000 to $1500 range of a good reputation.

  • Rex Lorient Says:

    I have an Apache and the OS just broke one day. Couldn't tell you how it happened but the entire laptop just went kaput. Msi DOES pay for the shipping for returns. I received a prepaid UPS so it was easy. In terms of turnaround time, it was shipped all the way to Poland to be repaired yet I had it back within 10 days. So I disagree with a lot of the criticism here based upon actual experiences.

  • Flag CL Says:

    Unfortunately for me, MSI Laptop is not my favorite. I owned The GE70. My regrets buying it is that the support is really bad; driver is not updated (I bought the Laptop few months prior to Windows 10 becomes available) so, I am sure they have plenty of opportunity to test it out. Some of the drivers are controlled through their SCM program. The latest ver. of this S/W is incompatible with Windows 10, hence, I cant use my blue tooth devices among other weird things I experienced, which I attributed to the Laptop incompatibility with Windows 10.

  • Joe DiGironimo Says:

    Worse PC I have ever owned. Two years in and nothing but small problems from day one.

  • Phone Khant Zaw Says:

    I want gaming laptop under 1000USD
    I want to play Dota2,in middle setting or high setting.msi dell asus which will be the best for me?ples advice me:-) i want more higher laptop but only $1000 is max amount for me. I am from Myanmar.

  • Leon Montroy Says:

    Completely accurate review, I honestly think you're being TOO generous with their customer service. I just spent $3,000 on a GT72s, within 3 weeks of receiving it I had a graphics card issue. I had to ship the product back to them at a persona expense of $100, and waited OVER A MONTH to get my laptop back. Any company that has a customer spend 3 grand and waits that long to get something fixed at their own expense is absurd. They've certainly lost my business, I regret ever leaving Sager.

  • Nbfanc Says:

    Forget Warrenty support from MSI. When you set up for a RMA you get the message:

    " RMA Process
    In-House Turn-Around Time (excluding shipping)
    MB / VGA 5-15 business days
    Notebook 10-25 business days
    Once your RMA package has been received, it may take up to 3 business days for it to be unpacked and scanned into our system. After this process, you will receive an email notification and you may start tracking the RMA status online at: http://service.msicomputer.com/msi_user/support/rma_status_search.aspx
    After step a., the repair/service process will begin. This will take approximately 5-25 business days depending on the product (see TAT table above).
    Once the repair is complete, it will be processed for packaging/return shipping which can take up to 3 business days. You will then receive tracking information via email which can also be viewed on the RMA status website.
    All RMA packages are returned with ground shipping which can take up to 6 business days depending on your location. For Notebook/AIO RMA, return shipping will require signature confirmation."

    In other words a warrenty repair takes from 25-40 business days (plus your shipping time, that's from 1.5 to 2 months actual time or 1/6th the warranty period.

    In other words, they do not have warranty service for anyone that actually needs their computer, and their warranty is de-facto non-existent.

    Do not buy.

  • Judy @greenhill1357@gmail.com Says:

    Do you have a review on the MSI GE series GE62 Apache Pro-001 6th Gen Intel i7 2.6 GHz, 15.6" w/ Windows. For overall laptop for teenagers for high school and then college and who also games. Thank you.

  • tristan Says:

    I do agree with one of the comments below about tech support. This is a category that is much more complex than just three calls. Not what I expected to read from Laptop Magazine.

  • m2cool Says:

    The GT72 does not have mechanical keyboard

  • Brad S Says:

    Personally, I would question the Tech Support rating. I have a 2013 laptop and it has been sent to repair once to replace the DC Jack and cover and has been sent back 3 additional times because the motherboard or some component was defective. Not to mention they removed my WLAN card and replaced with a factory card.

  • Hiru Says:

    Where is clevo.
    Is that nr 0 then?
    Value for money max points
    Design near max
    Tech support depends on store you buy it
    etc.

    Will beat MSI for sure as you should not only calculate their top line but also their medium or previous top line which were total crap

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