MSI: 2017 Brand Report Card
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.
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
- MSI GT83VR Titan SLI: Dual Nvidia GTX 1080 GPUs in SLI, Cherry MX Speed switches
- MSI WT72 QN: VR-ready workstation, 4K display
- MSI GS63VR 6RF Stealth Pro: 4.2 pounds, Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU
MORE: The Best MSI Laptops
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.