MSI: 2017 Brand Report Card

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MSI’s lineup consists almost exclusively of gaming laptops and workstations. The company is often on the forefront of innovation; it was first to add programmable mechanical keyboards and Tobii eye tracking to its notebooks. MSI earned largely positive reviews, but half-baked tech support left it in the middle of the pack this year, in seventh place.

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MSI’s Key Strengths

  • Gaming innovation: MSI’s GT72S G was the first gaming laptop we reviewed with integrated Tobii eye tracking, while the GT83VR Titan SLI used Cherry MX Speed switches on its programmable RGB keyboard.
  • Free damage protection: If you register your laptop within 30 days of purchase, you get free accidental-damage coverage, something no other manufacturer provides across the board.
  • Varied lineup: MSI also offers workstations like the PE60 Prestige and WT72 6QN, as well as a sleek portable gaming system, the 14-inch Stealth Pro.

MSI’s Main Weaknesses

  • Tech support: When we called MSI for our Tech Support Showdown, representatives didn’t know their own software, and we never heard back when we asked questions on Facebook.
  • Needs more color: Most MSI laptops come in some variation of the color black (the gaming models add red stripes for flair), except for the silver PE60 Prestige.

Top-Rated MSI Laptops

MORE: The Best MSI Laptops

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Reviews (30/35)

Gaming and workstation expert MSI makes some fantastic laptops. Of the seven MSI laptops we reviewed, four of them earned Editors’ Choice awards. We rewarded MSI for making systems with ridiculous amounts of gaming power, like the GT83VR Titan SLI, which has two Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPUs (and a mechanical keyboard), and providing vivid displays like the G-Sync screen on the GT62 Dominator Pro.

Design (10/15)

Whether it's svelte and portable or big and imposing, MSI knows how to make an impressive-looking and somewhat derivative laptop. Weighing a mere 4.2 pounds, the GS63VR Stealth Pro is one of the lightest 15-inch gaming notebooks available and, with a silky brushed-aluminum finish, it's a real looker. At the other end of the spectrum is the massive GT83VR Titan SLI, which is just as pretty at 13.1 pounds; it recently added a lovely RGB keyboard with a slew of captivating effects.

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If MSI's gamer-centric red accents are too flashy for you, there's the WT72 6QN workstation, which sports an unassuming all-black frame. And while black is an attractive shade, we'd like to see more colors from MSI, like the bold red frames from previous years. To date, if you want a nonblack MSI notebook, you'll have to take solace in the PE60 Prestige with its boring silver brushed-aluminum lid.

Support (13/20)

MSI's phone support agents gave us incorrect or incomplete answers, which showed that they didn't know about the company's own preloaded software. The company's web-support form has grammar problems and asks for highly technical information that most people wouldn't have, like the laptop's BIOS version.

Innovation (8/10)

Taking gaming to the next level, MSI’s GT72S G was first out of the gate with a gaming laptop with integrated eye tracking from Tobii. It adds a new level of immersion to a growing number of games. MSI also upped the ante with the GT83VR Titan SLI, which is the first to use Cherry MX Speed switches on its mechanical keyboard; plus, the RGB keyboard is fully programmable.

Value and Selection (11/15)

While MSI is known for building souped-up gaming machines, it actually has a pretty extensive lineup that includes pro-grade graphics workstations, a number of thin-and-light systems and even a convertible.

Within its gaming lineup, MSI offers an extremely wide variety of choices, from 14-inch notebooks that pack a punch to 18-inch behemoths with mechanical keyboards. While we would like to see more ultraportables and systems priced under $1,000, MSI has more systems and configs than you might think.

Warranty (4/5)

Unique among laptop vendors, MSI offers free accidental-damage protection for all of its laptops as long as you register within 30 days of purchase. That kind of guarantee is especially compelling when you're balancing a $2,000 gaming rig on your lap and worrying about what happens if it falls on the floor.

MSI provides one-year limited warranties on most of its laptops, though some of its mobile workstations come with two- or three-year warranties. Customers can purchase extended warranties from authorized resellers or by contacting MSI customer service directly.

This is a company that makes laptops with room for multiple storage drives and tons of RAM, so as you might expect, MSI will not void your warranty because you upgrade your components. Annoyingly, MSI makes you pay for your own shipping when you send in any of the company's laptops for service, but the free damage protection more than makes up for that inconvenience.

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34 comments
  • Ambrosia Says:

    First and last time buying a laptop from this brand - not only did the plastic hinge explode after just a year, the fan started making a horrible rattling noise too.

  • Shkodran Says:

    I purchased a MSI laptop a couple months ago. I bought it with an extra 8gb ram option to have 16gb ram. The first days of using the laptop, there were random blue screens of death with code error 'memory management'. Happened at least 7-8 a day like when I was web surfing or watching videos on youtube. I figured something was wrong with the ram so I started researching on the internet about this issue. I found out that i can run a windows memory diagnostic to see if there are any problems. I start the diagnostic, test detects hardware problem within first 30 seconds (5% progression). I then phoned the service center about this and decided to pay a visit with the laptop. When they ran the ram test with their own stuff, it showed that nothing was wrong with the ram. Did it 5 times and nothing wrong. Then they told me to leave the laptop here so that they can reformat it and check it on their own if the same problems that I experienced occur. Next day they gave me a call to come collect the laptop. They told me that checking the ram with their own software showed no problems. However, I had told them about the windows memory diagnostic beforehand and they decided to run it as well and the problems showed up. (They told me they had no idea that such a test like the windows memory diagnostic existed in windows... and these people are supposed to be knowledgeable helping us LMAO...) They ran the ram tests separately afterwards and found that the optional extra 8gb ram stick was faulty and replaced it. If I hadn't told them about the memory diagnostic, I would have had the exact same problems had I taken it back home and it would have been a waste of time and made me very angry. But product is very satisfying and I like it for its money's worth. I want to try out different brands so I will go for an Asus laptop or a Dell Alienware next time I have to buy a new one, which would be in 4-5 years.

  • Shadox Says:

    I'd suggest to stay away from MSI laptops. Hinges on MSI laptops are notorious for breaking. Both of the hinges on my MSI laptop broke after a while, forcing me to just lean the screen against something as it couldn't stand on it's own anymore.

    After that I've been making sure to research this and apparently MSI laptops are well known for breaking hinges. Even saw some people send in their laptops for repairs only for the hinges to break within a couple days of receiving back their laptops.

    I suggest to go with another brand unless you don't intend to touch or move your laptop at all..

  • Danthrax Says:

    Bought a MSI laptop, from the start it's been a problem. First the sound keeps screwing up with hardware driven sound pops that can only be fixed by hitting the thing. USBs that have died for no reason and now the keyboard has died, 2 months after it's 2 yr warranty runs out.

    During the 2 yr warranty I tried tech support, not only were they useless and incompetent but they eventually became rude with frustration from their inability to help me even use their registration form. What a joke.

    Yeah, great specs, but there are other better companies out there. Good luck if you buy a MSI laptop. Who knows you might even get lucky. I got a lemon!

  • Mohsen Says:

    An excellent configuration encased a piece of plastic junk designed by incompetent amateurs. Hinge broke twice because it cannot support the 17 inch screen and doesn't seem to be repairable. Go figure! save your money and buy from someone who knows how to build a laptop.

  • Andrew Says:

    I have spent alot of money on this laptop and there is not a day that goes by that i dont have to youtube a fix for some stupid problem that 300 dallor laptops never seem to have and although gaming is pretty smooth and i love the exahast fans it was not at all worth the money way to much fucking around just to play

  • Tamer Says:

    to the gentleman who says "i'd urge everyone here to take both negative AND positive reviews with a pinch of salt." what is it that's subjective about plastic separation from the screen or about any hardware braking in general?

  • Tamer Says:

    I paid $2000 for this piece of junk. The back plastic cover separated from the screen, that's an additional $400 for repair. I do not recommend it to anyone, not even my worst enemy!

  • Mabel Says:

    My MSI GE70, for which I paid 1399,00 Euros end of August 2013 (so that's thirteen hundred and ninety nine), has proven to be garbage. After three years all kinds of problems arose due to lousy hardware (fan, RAM module, frequent issues with start up).
    I am NEVER again buying new trash from this manufacturer. Waste of my money, my time, my energy, my quality of life.

  • Aidas Says:

    I have MSI GS70. After 2 years died CPU cooling fan (service ask 200$ for replace). Later crash screen cable (ask 200$ also and want take for 1 month). It was the first and the last experiment with all MSI products. Not recomended

  • Gavin Says:

    My laptop wouldn't boot past the manufacturer logo about a year and a half after purchase. I contacted MSI and they sent a courier to my doorstep and paid for everything. I'm a resident of Ireland and it had to be shipped over to England for repairs. They sent my laptop back with a brand new motherboard and everything was back to normal after that.

    Just felt it was worth mentioning since I 'did' get free shipping and collection despite being in a different country and I was very pleased about that. Still using the laptop now and as far as I can tell everything is still above board.

  • Syed Bilal Afzal Ashraf Says:

    I bought GT72s 6QE dominator pro G, it is having random shutdown issue. I have RMA'd the device twice. 1st they changed the board then they changed battery. Just got my laptop back from warranty and the laptop speakers are not working. No one should waste their money on this garbage company.

  • John227 Says:

    I have an MSI CX61 2PC. The stock HDD was horrible and sluggish. Everything was laggy, despite having a good CPU and 8bg memory. I replaced the HDD with a Samsung SSD and suddenly the laptop ran quickly. Only other issue is that the track pad is way too sensitive even after tweaking with the driver.

  • Jason Says:

    Don't buy MSI. My first (dominator) had audio software issues. The identical replacement had even more issues. Obviously an expensive flashy doorstop

  • Bryan Says:

    I had 2 MSI laptops, and both of them have experienced hardware problems. The first one had flickering screen, and the second one, an MSI GE60 just suddenly won't power on. The irony was, I was not even using it for gaming anymore. I just had it for 3 years. I would definitely cross out MSI from my list of laptops to be purchased in the future.

  • steven troyer Says:

    i bought there top dog the gt83vrtitansli boasting two nivida 1080 graphic cards each with 8 gigs of ram system ran 64 gigs ram two 512 m ssds plus tera hdd 18.4 inch screen and what a piece of shit it is from the moment i started it up issues after issues not compatible with windows 10 at all trac pad synaptic disappearing completely daily recovery modes ,that took up to 5 hours to configure with specs like whats supposed to be in it this thing should scream instead its me screaming at it and my self for wasting 5500.00 on this piece of garbage .thekey boards smaller then my Mac Pro 13 inch layout you can't even type on the dam thing errors in spelling in every word the worst computer ever beware people this 100% junk you can't do shit on it with out some kinda issue one right after the other

  • Gallantree Says:

    Don't buy a msi laptop. Bad configuration. No help from support. I have to restart several times as it just keeps freezing. Will not purchase a MSI ever again.

  • 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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