Price: $2,499 (starting); $3,999 (reviewed at)
CPU: Intel Core i9-10980HK
Display: 15.6 inches, 1080p (60Hz) LED
Size: 14.2 x 9.7 x 0.7 inches
Weight: 4.6 pounds
Workstations rarely make me excited. Actually, I have a hard time getting worked up about any product that would require me to dig into my savings. There are a few exceptions, like the fabulous but flawed ThinkPad X1 Fold. And now, thanks to the MSI WS66 10TMT ($2,499 starting; tested at $3,999), there is one more. What makes this machine interesting isn't the design or an OLED display -- it's how well-rounded of a machine you get.
The tug-of-war between performance and battery life just doesn't exist in the WS66's world. You get stellar performance from a 10th Gen Core i9 CPU and 64GB of RAM and long battery life at 10+ hours. This, despite the WS66 having a relatively slim chassis, which, by the way, is tested to military-grade durability.
As with any laptop, I have a few quibbles here and there, but those don't prevent the MSI WS66 from being anything but the best workstation available.
MSI WS66 10TMT: Price and configuration options
I almost choked on my drink when I pulled up the product page of the WS66 10TMT to see a $3,999 price above the "Add to cart button." Sorry kids, Christmas is canceled.
To be fair, our 1080p touchscreen review unit is decked out with an Intel Core i9-10980HK CPU, 64GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and an Nvidia Quadro 5000 Max-Q GPU with 16GB of VRAM.
There are cheaper models. The base config costs $2,499 and comes with a 1080p touchscreen, an Intel Core i7-10875H CPU, 64GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and an Nvidia Quadro RTX 3000 GPU.
MSI WS66 10TMT: Design
Sleek, metal and unashamedly rectangular, the WS66 reminds me of a retro sports car. The image of a DeLorean (the Back to the Future car) surfaces in my mind whenever I glance at this square hunk of aluminum.
That's not to say the WS66 looks outdated; there is a subtle elegance to the simplicity of its design, and boldness to the "let's make it as rectangular as possible" approach. MSI, perhaps best known for its glitzy gaming laptops, toned down the styling on the WS66, making it more appropriate for an office setting.
On the lid is a small dragon logo, concealed in a black tone atop the metallic gray surface found throughout the chassis. Open the notebook and a few elements immediately stand out. Above the keyboard is a large vent for airflow when you're running demanding programs. Below said keyboard is an extra-wide touchpad with a fingerprint sensor on the top-left corner. Slits on the left and right side of the touchpad act as speaker grilles.
The WS66 isn't a 2-in-1 but the lid folds back 180-degrees so you can show your screen to those around you as you comfortably use it in your lap.
Measuring 14.2 x 9.7 x 0.7 inches and weighing in at 4.6 pounds, the WS66 10TMT is more portable than the HP ZBook Studio x360 G5 (14.2 x 9.7 x 0.8 inches, 4.9 pounds) but weighs a tad more than the Asus ProArt StudioBook 15 (14.2 x 9.9 x 0.8 inches, 4.4 pounds) and the previous model, the MSI WS65 9TM (14.1 x 9.8 x 0.7 inches, 4.3 pounds).
MSI WS66 10TMT: Security and durability
Designed so enterprise users can store sensitive files, the WS66 10TMT comes with several security options to keep your documents and photos safe.
On the hardware front, you have an IR camera for facial recognition, a feature that will save you from remembering your passwords and stop bad actors from lucking up and guessing. It also makes it much easier to log in to your system. Alternatively, you can use the fingerprint sensor located on the top-left of the touchpad.
I wish the surface was larger and my selfish right-handed self prefers the sensor to be located on the right palm rest. Housed within the WS66 is a TPM 2.0 chip, which ensures that all the data you transfer and receive is encrypted.
Protecting the WS66 10TMT from the elements is a military-grade chassis, capable of withstanding unpleasant environments. The WS66 can survive low and high pressures, shock, vibrations and extreme temps, among the 10 standards it passed.
MSI WS66 10TMT: Ports
There is a good variety of ports flanking the MS66 though I have a bone or two to pick with MSI.
On the right side, you'll find an RJ-45 Ethernet port, a full-sized SD card slot, a USB 3.2 Type-C port and a headphone/mic jack.
In a perfect world, the WS66 has a USB Type-A port on each side, and I'd prefer the power connector in the corner instead of centered on the right edge.
MSI WS66 10TMT: Display
Good but unexceptional, I expected more from the WS66's 15.6-inch touchscreen display.
I can overlook the lack of 4K, but the 1080p display on our model doesn't match the quality of those found on other similarly priced laptops; it's an LED screen with a 60Hz refresh rate, solid color reproduction and decent peak brightness. Again, the display is great, but if you want the best picture quality, look elsewhere.
Strands in Tom Hanks' more salt-than-pepper beard were clearly visible as they were illuminated by a campfire in a trailer for News of the World. I could even read some of the writing in a journal, revealing the setting as Castroville, Texas. The screen captured the browns and green of the Hill Country, but the few shades of color failed to stand out in this Civil War-era movie clip.
The screen covers 78% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, making it less vivid than the 4K panels on the ProArt StudioBook (121%) and the WS65 9TM (178%). It doesn't even top the 85.4% category average. The ZBook Studio x360 G5 also has a more colorful screen, spanning 135% of the sRGB color gamut compared to 110% on the WS66.
Peaking at 346 nits, the WS66 doesn't impress when it comes to brightness either. That's not a poor result, but the screens on the ZBook Studio x360 G5 (378 nits), WS65 (393 nits) and the category average (388 nits). It does outshine the ProArt StudioBook 15 (339 nits), a laptop I criticized for being a bit dim.
MSI WS66 10TMT: Keyboard and touchpad
The keyboard gets the job done and has no major faults.
What the keys lack in travel is made up for with snappy feedback; my fingers bounced from one letter to the next as I typed this section. The large, bold font is easily legible and the layout is clever for business users as the shortcut row contains keys for mute, video on/off and quick access to the MSI Creator Center (more on that later).
The keyboard isn't perfect. As I mentioned, the keys are somewhat shallow for a laptop of this size. There are also a few undersized keys (left tab, ~) and the Fn key is pushed right up against the ctrl key on the right side of the keyboard. And while oversized, I wish the arrow keys were separated from the rest of the keyboard.
This trackpad just looks downright awkward with its 5.8 x 2.6-inch dimensions. It's like one of those ultra-wide monitors that take up your entire desk, except, in this case, the surface almost spans the length of the deck. I didn't have any problems moving my cursor along, but the soft-touch touchpad is a tad sticky for my liking. Certain Windows 10 gestures, like three-finger swiping left or right to switch windows were effortless on the elongated pad.
MSI WS66 10TMT: Audio
The dual upward-firing speakers on the deck of the WS66 go from good to bad depending on what you're playing.
Kanye West's auto-tuned vocals sounded clear at the start of "Love Lockdown," but became muddy when the electronic instruments and pulsing drums entered the fray.
With the speakers being on the deck, it's possible (though unlikely) that you can block the grilles, muffling the sound further. Even more annoying is how the deck vibrates when you play music.
MSI WS66 10TMT: Performance
The superhero of laptops, the WS66 has the strength of Hulk and the speed of Flash. Special powers come in the way of an Intel Core i910980HK CPU and 64GB of RAM, which provide the muscle to this shredded workstation.
With those specs, I wasn't surprised when 40 Google Chrome tabs loaded in the blink of an eye. A handful of those tabs played YouTube videos, others streamed Twitch gamers, and I had YouTube Music playing tunes in the background. After watching Kevin Bridges' comedy special on YouTube, I live streamed a few minutes of a women's basketball game on ESPN. No matter what I threw at it, the WS66 never hesitated. It did, however, crank the fans on, which made an annoying high-octave buzzing sound as I flipped between webpages.
Our workstation benchmarking gauntlet was no match for the WS66 10TMT, nor were its direct competitors. The WS66 scored a monstrous 6,735 on the Geekbench 5.0 test, surpassing the ProArt StudioBook 15 (6,076, Core i7-9750H), the WS65 9TM (5,573, Core i7-9750H) and the category average (4,178). It also annihilated the ZBook STudio x360 G5 (20,950, Xeon E-2186M) on the Geekbench 4 test with a score of 26,524.
That raw performance translated nicely into our Handbrake test, in which the WS66 needed only 8 minutes and 28 seconds to convert a 4K video to 1080p. That is 2 minutes faster than the ZBook Studio x360 G5 (10:40), the ProArt StudioBook (10:25) and the WS65 (10:35). The average laptop needs 17:26 to complete this task.
It doesn't stop there. The 1TB NVMe SSD in our unit took only 4 seconds to duplicate 5GB of multimedia files for a transfer rate of 1,253.7 MBps. That rapid pace topped the ProArt StudioBook 15 (628.3, 512GB PCie NVMe SSD), the WS65 (727 MBps, 512GB PCIe SSD) and the Zbook Studio (508.9 MBps, 1TB PCie NVMe TLC SSD). The average stands at 807.2 MBps.
In more real-world scenarios, the WS66 landed a score of 846 on the Lightroom Classic benchmark, well ahead of the ProArt StudioBook (511) and the average (422). And on the Photoshop test, the WS66 scored an 867, putting itself ahead of the ProArt (713) and average (613) once again.
We saw similar results in Premiere Pro with the WS66 notching a 645 while the ProArt StudioBook stopped short at 511 but ahead of the 422 average.
MSI WS66 10TMT: Graphics
This might be marketed as a workstation, but it's really a full-blown gaming rig in disguise. Of course, if you need to run graphics-intensive programs, the WS66 10TMT can do that too.
With a 3DMark Fire Strike score of 16,788, the WS66 took down the ZBook Studio x360 G5 (4,451, Quadro P1000), the ProArt StudioBook 15 (13,767, GeForce 2060), WS65 (15,364, Quadro RTX 5000) and the category average (4,341).
On the 3DMark Port Royal benchmark, the WS66 put in a 4,226, again topping the ProArt StudioBook 15 (3,221) and WS65 9TM (4,148). The category average is 3,449.
The turn-based strategy game Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm ran at a silky 87 frames per second at 1080p on Medium graphics settings. That is well above our 30-fps playability threshold and the 27-fps average.
MSI WS66 10TMT: Battery life
With outstanding performance and long battery life, the WS66 can do it all. Lasting 10 hours and 10 minutes on the Laptop Mag battery test, the WS66 defies the notion that workstations are meant to be tethered to an outlet.
This endurance can be credited to an efficient chip and large battery, but let's not forget, the WS66 has a 1080p panel, not a power-hungry 4K one. It's no surprise the WS66 lasts longer on a charge than the ZBook Studio x360 G5 (9:06), ProArt StudioBook 15 (3:39) and WS65 (6:57), and the premium laptop average (9:56).
MSI WS66 10TMT: Webcam
If you're using the WS66, make sure there is good lighting before hopping on a video call with the boss. A selfie I snapped in a dimly lit room was blotch and covered in a layer of visual noise. My beard and hair were a blob and I couldn't distinguish the concentric circles in my eyes.
The colors were decent, though; my dark-blue sweater was the proper shade of indigo and I could just spot some green in my eyes. If you work remotely and spend most of your day stuck in conference calls, consider buying one of the best external webcams like the trusty Logitech HD Pro C920.
MSI WS66 10TMT: Heat
Leave the sunscreen at home, the WS66 can shield the heat on its own. After playing a 15-inch, 1080p video, the WS66 warmed to only 89 degrees Fahrenheit, well below our 95-degree comfort threshold.
Better yet, the areas where your skin makes contact were even cooler, with the touchpad reaching 73 degrees and the keyboard peaking at only 85 degrees.
MSI WS66 10TMT: Software and warranty
I appreciate how simple MSI keeps things. Almost every utility you need can be found in the Creator Center app, the business equivalent of Dragon Center (on gaming laptops). Here, you can change your display and keyboard brightness, and choose between performance options (from Super Battery to High Performance).
Using some clever software, the WS66 will tweak its performance based on the apps you're using. You can either create a ranked list that prioritizes performance for a group of apps or allow the laptop to do the adjusting in real-time. On the Monitor tab, you can see CPU, GPU, disk and memory usage while the True Color tab lets you adjust display colors and white balance. I also like how you can see the health of your battery within the app.
There are a few other apps that you can keep or delete based on your needs, including PhotoDirector 10 (photo editing), AudioDirector (audio editing) and PowerDirector 17 (video editing). Third-party apps courtesy of Windows 10 Pro include the Office suite, Groove Music, LinkedIn and Remote Desktop as well as Nvidia Control Panel.
Getting past the $4,000 price hurdle, the MSI WS66 10TMT is an excellent workstation with few downsides. You get fast performance, impressive graphics and long battery life in a durable, yet portable chassis. The display and keyboard, while short of class-leading, are great and the extra-wide touchpad will be useful to some business users.
The WS66 also comes with the features you'd expect from a premium enterprise notebook, including a fingerprint sensor, IR camera and a decent selection of ports (a second USB-A would have been nice).
The problem? That hurdle I mentioned requires a run and jump in your budget to get over. The WS66 isn't the sort of laptop most consumers will buy with their own hard-earned cash. It's made so companies can buy them for engineers, data scientists, content creators, or anyone in a field that requires intensive processing or graphics performance. Anyone lucky enough to end up with one of these on their desk will be grateful.