MSI boasts new Creator Z17 is the world's thinnest and most powerful Intel HX laptop

MSI Creator Z17 HX Studio
(Image credit: MSI)

CES 2023 is underway and we're seeing dozens of laptops across every category, but for content creators, the latest pair of MSI Creator Z Series laptops may steal all of your attention.

The Creator Z17 HX Studio and Z16 HX Studio deliver top-end performance with the latest Intel 13th Gen HX CPUs and Nvidia RTX 40-Series GPUs with a stylish look and premium feel that will look to win over converts from the MacBook Pro and other creator-focused laptops. 

The new laptops are slated to arrive in February, but for now here's a closer look at each model.

MSI Creator Z17 HX Studio 

If you are looking for the absolute top-of-the-line the Creator Z17 HX Studio is it with up to an Intel 13th Gen Core i9-13980HX that reportedly delivers a 185% boost in Cinebench R23 benchmarking over the i9-12900HK. The Nvidia RTX 4070 GPU in turn offers a 30% jump over the previous generation.

Rounding out the performance specs you have support for up to 64GB of DDR5-5600 RAM and up to 2TB of M.2 2280 SSD NVMe Gen5x4 storage. The latter results in blistering fast transfer speeds.

The 16-inch 16:10 QHD+ display features a 165Hz refresh rate, but more critically for creators the True Pixel display offers 100% DCI-P3 color gamut and a sub-0.2 Delta-E color accuracy score according to MSI. We'll naturally be testing these results ourselves when we get the laptop in for review, but MSI is saying all the right things.

If you like using a stylus the Z17 HX supports the MSI Pen 2 with Microsoft's new MPP2.6 technology. The pen gives you 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity, and swappable tips with a new graphite tip option. A 5-minute charge will get you up to 10 additional hours of battery life on the pen, so you don't have to worry about downtime.

When you aren't using the touchscreen you'll appreciate the 50% larger 16:10 touchpad. Right above that is the full keyboard with number-pad with solid 1.5mm key travel, and customizable per-key RGB backlighting.

The audio experience should be top-notch as well with four 2W speakers onboard and support for DTS and Hi-Res audio. The built-in IR 1080p webcam is a welcome upgrade with support for facial recognition if you prefer that over the fingerprint sensor.

MSI isn't making any specific battery life claims yet, but the 90W battery looks good on paper and the 240W charger should deliver fast charging speeds. However, we'll get to the bottom of the battery life in our testing.

Turning to build quality you have MIL-STD-810G certification to give you peace of mind that the unibody CNC-milled aluminum chassis will hold up to the rigors of your work, play, and travel. At 0.74 inches thick and 5.49 pounds, it's also slim and light for a laptop packing all of this power. Despite that it also boasts a wide array of ports with two Thunderbolt 4, one USB 3.2 Gen 2 type-A, an HDMI 2.1 port, an Express SD card slot, and a headphone/mic combo jack.

MSI Creator Z16 HX Studio

(Image credit: MSI)

MSI Creator Z16 HX Studio

Moving to the Creator Z16 HX Studio, we're going to focus on the differences, as the overall experience is going to be quite similar.

You once again have a 16-inch QHD+ 16:10 display with the same tuning, but it drops to a 120Hz refresh rate and it offers touch support, but not the MSI Pen 2.

The CPU on the Z16 maxes out at the Intel Core i9-13950HX, which is still a 156% boost over the i9-12900H on the Cinebench R20 benchmark.

You also drop to one Thunderbolt 4 port, but you keep the rest with USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, an HDMI 2.1, Express SD card slot, and a headphone/mic combo jack.

You also benefit from some of those changes with a slimmer 0.72 inch frame and a lighter 5.18-pound weight.

Both of these laptops should be arriving next month and our resident creators can't wait to get their hands on them, so stay tuned for those reviews.

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.