MSI: 2019 Brand Report Card
MSI wasn’t the worst brand in this survey, but the company scored a pretty low second-to-last-place finish. That’s mostly due to the MSI’s dismal tech support and the company’s unwillingness to break out of its tired designs.
Despite that, MSI is still pumping out great gaming laptops, and has even been working on consumer laptops. On top of that, the company has certainly stepped up its game when it comes to innovation.
MSI's Key Strengths
- Solid gaming laptops. MSI may have dropped one point in reviews from last year, but they still make excellent gaming laptops and have even thrown in a couple consumer laptops as well.
- Accidental-damage protection. Regardless of MSI’s awful tech support, it’s still the only company to offer free accidental-damage protection.
- Stepping up innovation. MSI is spearheading gaming laptops by keeping its bezels super-thin while maintaining the webcam’s sacred placement. MSI’s Ambient Link technology is also pretty awesome.
MSI's Main Weaknesses
- Tired design. Don’t get us wrong, MSI has some of the sleekest laptops around, but the company needs to expand its color palette, as well as its overall frame design.
- Awful tech support. The company’s tech support was bad last year, and this year it just plummeted five extra points. Between its poorly structured website and unreliable phone-support agents, it’s hard to be optimistic about the company improving in this regard.
Top-Rated MSI Laptops
- Best High-End Gaming: MSI GT75 Titan
- Best Thin and Light Gaming: MSI GS75 Stealth
- Best Premium Consumer Laptop: MSI PS63 Modern
Having already proved it can make some compelling gaming machines, MSI now offers traditional laptops for creators and business users. Those products received high marks, but gaming is still where MSI really shines. Of the seven gaming systems we received, five earned a 4-star rating. While MSI improved from last year, an average rating of 3.7 stars lands the Taiwanese company in the middle of the pack.
The GT75 Titan is our favorite MSI laptop of the year, and the only one to gain our Editor's Choice award. Packing tons of power thanks to a Core i9 CPU and GTX 2080 GPU, the GS75 Titan can easily double as a workstation. The GS75 Stealth is our favorite portable gaming laptop, while the PS63 is a solid if imperfect alternative to the XPS 15 and MacBook Pro.
MSI has a laptop for every budget and a design to match. Decked out with golden accents, the 5-pound, 15.6 x 10.2 x 0.7-inch MSI GS75 Stealth is one of the smallest laptops to house a 17.3-inch display. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the GT75 Titans. Both the 2018 and 2019 versions cut imposing figures across the gaming laptop field with their aluminum and magnesium bulk measuring 2.3-inches thick. And MSI didn’t forget about the creative professionals, launching the PS42 8RB Prestige with its workplace-friendly, silver-brushed aluminum chassis.
While we appreciate the many sizes and shapes of MSI, one thing the company needs to work on is the color choice and overall frame design. MSI leans heavily on the stereotypical gamer colors as seen in the GV62 8RE, the GF63 8RE and the GT63 Titan 8RG. Still, we do appreciate that MSI tries to switch things up with the GE63 Raider RGB 8RF and its customizable, technicolor lid wings.
Support and Warranty (6/20)
MSI's failures in tech support are a nearly routine aspect of our undercover tech-support showdown, and this year, things got worse. MSI's website is extremely frustrating to navigate, its social media accounts take forever to reply and its phone support agents answered only one of our three questions correctly.
MSI includes a year of tech support with options to buy up to two or more. The company includes one incident accidental damage repair (most include none), but doesn't pay for shipping your laptop to its service centers.
Kudos to MSI for continuing to innovate in gaming laptops. In the MSI GS65 Stealth Thin, the company was the first to offer a thin bezel system on all four sides of a gaming laptop while keeping the webcam where it belongs (up top).
MSI had a couple of other cool firsts, including its Ambient Link technology. This syncs gameplay with the Nanoleaf and Philips Hue lights to totally immerse gamers. And MSI's App Player lets users run Android apps on Windows laptops.
The MSI G75 Titan's thin mechanical keyboard blew us away, as did the machine's RTX graphics might.
Value and Selection (11/15)
MSI is one of the major players in the realm of gaming laptops. And while the company has plenty of premium systems, it does offer some relatively affordable gaming notebooks, like the GV62 8RD ($799), GV62 8RE ($1,049) and GE63 Raider RGB ($1,999; starting at $1,599). Some of the classics have returned as well, with the GS75 Stealth ($2,999) and the GT75 Titan ($4,199) leading the charge in the RTX refresh. Those machines both boasted ridiculously colorful displays, excellent performance and great audio.
MORE: Best MSI Laptops
The company also expanded its lineup by including premium consumer laptops such as the PS63 Modern ($1,599) and PS42 8RB Prestige ($1,299). MSI has a few workstations as well, such as the WT75 ($3,599) and the WS65 ($2,599).
While MSI has a strong selection of powerful laptops, they can still get pretty pricey.