MSI: 2018 Brand Report Card

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It was a tough year for MSI, falling to a tie for last place. While we love a lot of the company's gaming notebooks and workstations, few of them earned Editors' Choice awards.

The company's selection is limited compared to those of competitors, its innovation scores were middling, and it has the worst tech support we saw this year. So, even though we liked the laptops, those are hurdles that MSI couldn't overcome.


MSI's Strengths

  • Solid computers: When you get something from MSI, you're probably getting something good. We didn't give one notebook less than 3.5 out of 5 stars.
  • Accidental-damage protection: Of all the vendors whose laptops we reviewed this year, only MSI offers free accidental-damage protection when you register your laptop.

MSI's Main Weaknesses

  • Recycled design: MSI likes its designs so much that it will often use the same chassis for both gaming notebooks and workstations.
  • Bad website: MSI got a poor score in our tech support showdown, largely because the company's mess of a website makes it hard to find help.
  • Needs more innovation: MSI is catching up to the party in terms of customizable lighting on gaming notebooks. We'd love to see the company do something truly new.

Top-Rated MSI Laptops

Best High-End Gaming: MSI GT75VR Titan Pro
Best Workstation: MSI WE72 7RJ
Best Value: MSI GP72VR 7RFX


Reviews (31/40)

You really can't go wrong with an MSI laptop. Every one of the seven notebooks we tested was good enough to earn 3.5 or 4 stars. However, the company faces very stiff competition in the two niches it covers: premium gaming laptops and mobile workstations.

While the GT75VR Titan Pro is a performance leader that won an Editors' Choice award, the GP72VR 7RFX Leopard Pro earned a 3.5 because of its very short battery life and high cost.

Design (11/15)

Like other gaming laptop brands out there, MSI loves its black-and-red color palette. But where MSI continues to stand out is often in its designs' simplicity. Laptops such as the GL62M 7REX and the GS63VR Stealth Pro are relatively slim and elegant, and aside from the red dragon sigil they both sport, they would look great in a boardroom. But MSI isn't afraid to show off with massive gaming rigs like the GT75VR Titan Pro, whose 10.1-pound, 16.9 x 12.4 x 1.2~2.2-inch frame is both imposing and awesome. The company is also unafraid to split the difference, as with the GE73VR 7RF Raider Pro, which isn't nearly as big as the Titan Pro but has a few more eye-catching accents than the Stealth Pro.

The company is so comfortable with its chassis choices that you'll often see MSI recycle them with its nongaming laptops, including the WS63VR 7RL and the WE72 7RJ.

However, MSI's workstations have a more stripped-down appearance to make them office friendly. MSI's laptops are typically pretty good-looking machines, but there's always an outlier for any brand. And in MSI's case, its the PE60 Prestige, with its plain-Jane silver lid. This laptop is made of aluminum, but it doesn't feel as premium as other systems in MSI's lineup.

Support and Warranty (11/15)

MSI offers excellent telephone-based tech support that provides effective and efficient solutions. Unfortunately, due to reliability issues and a poor design, the MSI support site wasn't helpful.

With MSI's warranty program, you have to take the bad with the good. Sure, we wish the company would cover shipping in both directions when you send them a unit to be serviced, but MSI does include free accidental-damage protection upon registration. Nobody else does that. Repairing your $2,000 laptop when you drop it will save you a lot more money in the long run than avoiding that second round of shipping costs.

Innovation (6/10)

MSI's innovation in 2017 was, pardon the pun, really cool. The most noteworthy innovation came in the 15 heat pipes in the GT83VR Titan SLI. The upcoming lineup includes the Raider RGB Edition, which will be covered in customizable lights, though that’s an example of MSI catching up to the likes of Alienware and Razer. We're also expecting an update to Dragon Center, but that won't come until later this year.

Value and Selection (8/15)

MSI's big focus is on gaming machines, but the company also takes some of the power from those machines and offers it in workstations.

MORE: The Best MSI Laptops

On the gaming front, you get slim notebooks like the Stealth Pro and giants like the Titan Pro with mechanical keyboard, as well as more-standard designs like the Raider. The Leopard Pro was the cheapest we saw, starting at $1,300. This year, about half of the offerings we reviewed were workstations, including the $1,800 WE72 7RJ with customizable RGB keyboard and the $4,600 VR-focused WT73VR 7RM.

Add a comment
  • Linda Graham Says:

    Great, MSI likes its designs so much that it will often use the same chassis for both gaming notebooks and workstations.

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  • Steve Says:

    Purchased the GS63 stealth back in august, after about a month I noticed that the frame around the ports and track pad had become warped and bulged outward, took it in and found it had a swollen battery and they gave me a free replacement. Now round 2 its happening all over again. Anybody else having battery issues with these computers?

  • Bhooshan Says:

    Its the most expensive laptop I have ever owned and the worst experience I have ever got. I will never recommend this brand to anyone. Neither the laptop has convenience or performance not their support portal works. Never ever I will recommend this brand to anyone.

  • Cassie Griffin Says:

    It is true that the demand for a laptop has been increasing for a few years. We should aware to buy a good laptop. The branded company are maintaining their status and want to give the best service to the users. I have found a problem regarding touchpad in a few branded laptop. Check for more info

  • Denise Horstman Says:

    I wih I had read thiss article before buying. Notice anything about the s key? This i the second laptop. The first one had 2/4 non-working USB ports. I wa in a hurry to replace a 7-year-old Tohiba that had troubles and so I did a replacement the following day for the identical model--MS16K2. It i less that a month old and the s key is falling off. Criticism of the web ite is completely apt. I have tried "registering" twice and been told on finally "ubmitting" that the site was down. Wih me luck.

  • Jay Jackson Says:

    I bought an MSI PX60 2QD Prestige laptop in 2015. The motherboard failed in 2018. MSI support informed me that they no longer provide support or parts for this 3 year old model. I will NOT EVER buy another msi product. Lenovo Thinkpad p50 and p70 series laptops or any of Lenovo future workstation class laptops will be my ONLY options from now on. Lenovo has 5 year warranties available.

  • Martí Obiols (Barcelona) Says:

    Don't buy MSI never. Lots of hardware problems. Non stop. After a few months of having it, stard a DVD and HDD problems. they change it. And after 1 month of have it back, I should it it againg because a new problem caused by them. I will never buy it again.

  • Peter Cholakis Says:

    Don't buy MSI. I have had major problems with mine. First one failed in 15 days and they wouldn't replace it... wanted me to send it back for repair. Luckily Best Buy replaced it. New one is also now having issues.

  • Mohsen Says:

    Highly not recommended brand.The hinge of the GT72S broke twice and has been repaired twice. The second time the repair tech told me that the original design was flawed and it needs the addition of a "bracket" to support the hinge which is a piece of metal that's worth no more that 10 cents. MSI sells it for $100. The hinge broke for the third time and my $2000 laptop is now resting in peace in the garbage were it belongs. I got a new ASUS, with a better processor and video card for $400 less than the MSI plastic junk.

  • Steve Thomassin Says:

    I bought an MSI GT72S in January of 2016. The computer has great power and I custom fitted it with superb storage. The huge problem has been the keyboard. I actually gravitated toward the MSI because of the multi-colored keyboard, but it has been a disaster. First of all, the white letters on ten or so keys began to smudge off--so much so that they could not be identified. I ordered another keyboard and it seemed identical to the original. This time, I began typing with gloves so as to not smudge the keys. Then the several keys in the lower left corner began to not function at all. Press them, and nothing happened. And, the beautiful colored keyboard stopped showing colors at all. This was after a $300 keyboard replacement bill, which had to be done through the back of the computer because the design is so stupid as not to allow a simple keyboard repair from the front. I would never buy MSI again, and never recommend it, simply because of the awful keyboard situation.

  • Bobby Says:

    I have the Gt70 2pc Dominator. Bought it brand new in 2014. Its been a very good computer. Startup was a bit slow but considering all the start up programs that it has I don't blame it for taking a little bit of time. That all can be changed in Bios with the startup so that is not a big deal. I upgraded to 24gb ram even though its not needed after 8gb. No problems with games or with the computer by itself. Although I was pretty bummed out with the Matrix display. It does work very well but for the Span Surround view I can only use 2 monitors on the Dedicated GTX 870m Card. I have had 4 monitors hooked up with a total of 5 including the laptop screen itself and it worked flawlessly. I play RPG, simulation games, movies and do design work on it and its been a champ upgraded to a paid version of Windows 10 Home 64bit as well. A lot of people that have had issues with these computers need to understand a few things. Yes some computers are durable and can handle a lot of abuse more than others. That being the case that is not the Msi computers fault if something breaks out of nowhere. Usually its a mishandling issue or a software installation problem. Programs don't always agree with one another because when you have one program taking control of your operating system a lot changes with that. If you bang on the computer because you got frustrated with it you're going to break something. If you toss it around like you're car keys, you're going to break something. If you want to treat the computer like trash then buy yourself a Tough Book. Over all I have dealt with computers and I can say Msi has packed a lot more work into their computers then most companies. If you saw my Msi laptop now being 3 years old it still looks and performs like brand new. Including the touch pad.

  • Barbara Says:

    Enjoyed my heavy big MSI laptop, but now Nain fan doesn't work and front and back are getting. Took it to original seller of new laptop and he contacted support at MSI who said doesn't have fan in Stock and won't get one as 2yr old computer is not supported anymore. What to do now? I really had expected it to last 6 years (not gaming) . Anyone want to sell me one for fan parts.? Crap

  • peterdaniel Says:

    Great information.Thank you for sharing this nice article.

  • 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:
    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 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.

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