Review : Gaming Laptops

Be the king of the LAN party

Which gaming-laptop is the very best? We've tested six of the craziest machines on the market.

Forget about the gaming consoles you connect to your TV. Their inner workings are often not powerful enough to handle heavy games at an adequate resolution and velocity. Real gamers play on PCs!

Unfortunately, PC gaming also means that you are bound to a large, heavy and noisy case that contains the powerful hardware. The same hardware takes up space, is pretty noisy, and generates tremendous amount of heat, which in desktop computers can be addressed with water cooling and large fans. But what if you don’t want to have a huge, energy-consuming box, are happy to bring things with you, and really just want to be able to play and work on the same machine? If that’s the case, you should consider a gaming-laptop. Several companies are competing for the customers’ affection, and the selection is greater than ever. Unfortunately, you must compromise in certain areas.

Being compact is expensive: Due to its size, the machine becomes considerably more expensive than a desktop in the same class.

The smaller chassis also means that it is harder for the processor, and especially the GPU, to get rid of the heat. It means a lot of fan cooling from small, fast and noisy fans.

And last, but not least, most laptops are an all-in-one solution where everything is integrated into the base card, and where there is little to no upgrade possibility, especially when it comes to the graphics card.

If these limitations are OK for you, there is still plenty to choose from. We’ve tested six different laptops, all of which can both be used as a workhorse as well as a gaming-laptop. All are equipped with newer Core i7 processors from Intel, plenty of RAM, and graphics cards from Nvidia’s latest Geforce GTX 10 series. They are priced accordingly. But let’s go back to the introduction. Why use a PC for gaming at all? There are a couple of good reasons for this.

Image speed

A particularly important factor when talking about gaming is the image speed, called FPS (frames per second). If the graphics are choppy, it doesn’t just look bad. In 3D shoot ’em ups, this can mean certain death. Most new PC’s have plenty of processing power and RAM. The bottleneck today is the built-in graphics card, also called the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit). If you have a powerful graphics card, you have come a long way. Add a little extra RAM, and you’re where you want to be.

Resolution

Where the latest console generation has not yet settled on Full HD, due to the inner workings simply not being powerful enough, unless we are satisfied with 30 fps, PC games are better accustomed to Full HD and 60 fps. In fact, we are getting there with higher resolutions and are heading towards 4K. There is still some ways to 4K though, and it requires more than a single Geforce GTX 1080 graphics card (the current top model from Nvidia) to run the latest games in UHD. For this reason, we are puzzled that several of the test laptops are equipped with panels that have a much higher resolution than 1080p, but with graphics cards that cannot provide a satisfactory frame rate at these resolutions. If you want to game in 4K, we recommend a Geforce GTX 1080u as a minimum, or possibly two GTX 1080 – solutions which as of right now exlude laptops. At least if you disregard the extreme machines that are as hard to carry as they are affordable.

The games have changed

Fortunately, you can achieve a satisfactory speed on a laptop by adjusting the game’s graphic settings. A lot of things have happened in this area over the last ten years. While there was once a world of difference between the lowest and highest graphic settings in a game, the differences today are far more subtle and lies in the details. The main reason for this is the more powerful hardware. When you turn on the “Very High” and “Ultra”, you get a higher resolution on textures, softer and nicer looking shadows, rounded edges (anti-aliasing), and so on. Normally, we set everything to a maximum when we test a gaming PC, but it is something we have had to compromise. Fortunately, picture quality is not reduced significantly and this issue is only vital for the most demanding games.

Laptop vs. portable

We call them laptops, but a couple of the test’s machines both weigh more and are larger than what we normally associate a modern laptop with. Add to that, several of them simply do not perform optimally if they don’t have a constant power supply. Maybe the term movable is more appropriate. The reason for this is the graphics card, which either cannot draw enough power from the built-in battery, or simply drains it in no time if allowed to do so. Again a compromise that must be taken into account when dealing with this heavyweight class.

Yes, but, what now if I’m not playing games?

If you are not at all interested in games but continued reading until now, the monster machines can thankfully be used for other things. They are modern PCs in the absolute top class, which can handle even the most difficult computational tasks without breaking a sweat. They manage this due to top processors and generous amounts of RAM. However, since you have no use for the graphics card on ordinary Windows graphics, it feels like having a Ferrari just so you can drive down to the bakery on the corner. When it comes to graphics and video software designed to take advantage of the sheer power in the GPU, the gaming laptops come into their own. This applies to for example the Adobe Creative Suite programmes. If that’s the reason (or the excuse) of acquiring a gaming PC, you should look for one that also has QHD or 4K-resolution on the screen.

What do you think?

0 / 5. 0

Asus ROG G701VIK BA044T

Grotesque luxury gamer

Asus has banked heavily on performance, which pushes the price and weight to the sky.

Our verdict

Impressive performance from a portable computer, which can be used as an alternative to a true desktop gamer PC.
The machine is quite noisy, the built-in speakers are too poor, and it is far too heavy. In addition, it costs an arm and a leg.
Operating system: Windows 10 Home, 64-bit
Processor: 2.7 GHz Intel Core i7-7820HK (quad-core)
Screen: 17,3” Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) @ 120 Hz, G-Sync
Memory: 16GB
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 m. 8 GB RAM
Hard drive 2 x 256 GB SSD
Dimensions: 42.9 x 3.85 x 30.9 cm (WxHxD)
Weight: 3.6 kg.
HD-webcam, Wifi 802.11ac / Bluetooth 4.1, Gigabit Ethernet,
3 x USB 3-0, USB-C Gen2/Thunderbolt, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, LAN, headphone output, microphone input.
Price: –
www.asus.com

Benchmark
Geekbench 3: 16,047 (multi-core), 3,976 (single-core)
Basemark 3.0: 1,320.21
3DMark 15: 16,262
3DMark Time Spy: 6,644
Cinebench R15: 117.02 fps / 883 cb
HDTach: 3,528.6 MB/s
Futuremark Peacekeeper: 1:45 hours

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Price 32999 £

Asus not compromised on anything in the performance of the ROG 701, and has therefore created a machine that can fully compete with a large desktop computer. The machine contains a powerful Core i7 processor from Intel, two lightning-fast SSD drives, plenty of RAM, and most importantly, NVIDIA’s Geforce GTX 1080, which is its true claim to fame. In addition, you get a 17.3 inch display with a refresh rate of 120 Hz and Nvidia’s G-sync technology. The keyboard and track-pad have also received extra attention. The keys are large and comfortable to press, and are placed in a suitable distance from each other. The size means that there is also room for a numeric keypad and dedicated, programmable gamer buttons. The surface around the track-pad is dressed with soft rubber so it is comfortable to rest your hands.

Like a vacuum cleaner

Unfortunately, as expected, the powerful graphics card means that the machine is noisier than most, and the huge back with the cooling grill quickly kicks into gear. The noise may be drowned out with sound, but unfortunately the built-in speakers play neither particularly loud nor well. Instead, we recommend investing in a pair of good headphones. Powerful hardware has a huge need for power, which is at the expense of battery life and results in a similarly huge and heavy power supply. The machine itself weighs 3.6 kilos. If we add the 1.5 kilo heavy power supply, it becomes difficult to use the term laptop. It should also be noted that the graphics card simply doesn’t provide full power when the power supply is not connected.

Benchmark

Luckily, we can forgive Asus for the grotesque dimensions, noisy fans, bad speakers and the huge weight. The machine sweeps the competitors aside with ease, and the fewest games have trouble keeping a stable frame rate at minimum 60 fps. In fact, brand new games had no problems pushing out 120 fps, games such as Rise of The Tomb Raider, which looked dazzling on the big screen. It was a little harder dealing with Dishonoured 2, which nevertheless performed well at over 60 fps the whole time. These results naturally depend on the settings in the individual games, but you can safely turn the graphics settings up, because the computer can handle it.

Conclusion

Asus ROG G701 is a machine that fits the few who does not care about price and want no compromises on performance. It is grotesquely large, and sounds like a vacuum cleaner. There is a method in the madness. It handles all the newer games easily, and spits out impressively great graphics on its 17.3 inch screen. If you have money and want to have a machine that you in principle can take with you, it is worth considering. If you want more bang for your buck, you are still better served with a stationary computer with two 1080 cards. The solution will be more future-proof and even cheaper than the beast from Asus.

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Alienware 13 R3

Large back and OLED display

You should be excited about Alienware, even though the design is a bit weird.

Our verdict

The screen is amazingly nice and sharp. Despite the size, the performance is quite good, and the battery is one of the better ones.
The screen is way too shiny, and therefore useless in sunshine. Not everyone will like the huge back portion.
Operating system: Windows 10 Home, 64-bit
Processor: 2,8 GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ
(quad-core, 8 threads)
Screen: 13.3” QHD (2560 x 1440) OLED
Memory: 16GB
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 m.
6 GB RAM
Hard drive: 256 GB SSD
Dimensions: 33.3 x 2.2 x 26.9 cm (WxHxD)
Weight: 2.6 kg.
HD-webcam with IR, Killer 1435 802.11ac 2×2 with Wifi and Bluetooth 4.1 Gigabit Ethernet,
2 x USB 3.0 (A), 1 x USB 3.0 (C),
1 x Thunderbolt ™ 3 port, Mini DisplayPort,
HDMI, LAN, headphone output, Alienware
Graphics Amplifier port, Microphone input
Price: –
www.dell.com

Benchmark
Geekbench 3: 13,437 (Multi-core), 3,512
(single-core)
Basemark 3.0: 523.52
3DMark 15: 9,653
3DMark Time Spy: 3,643
Cinebench R15: 86.62 fps / 719 cb
HDTach: 990.0 MB/S
Futuremark Peacekeeper: 2:50 hours

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Price 21590 £

The machine from Alienware is a compact, a small thing with a large backside and a screen that differs both positively and negatively. Despite the relatively modest framework, it feels heavy, and we were actually a little surprised that it only weighed 2.5 kilos. Our test model was at 13 inches, so there was not much room for the keys, which had to be tightly placed together. It is back-lit, as it should be on a gaming PC, but you also get light from the logo and the track-pad. The colours can be adjusted with the accompanying software, but doesn’t really matter, as you can only change it in pre-defined sections, and not behind each individual key. Both the bottom and the backside are covered in grooves for ventilation. The machine gets very hot when you push it, and the fans can be heard clearly. When you’re not playing on the computer however, it is completely silent.

OLED

Where the Alienware really stands out from the other machines is its built-in display. It is both terribly ugly and gorgeous at the same time. Who on Earth decided that there should be so much unused space around the screen itself? That’s dumb. Having said that, the OLED panel is amazingly good, providing a colour intensity and a contrast level that the others can only yearn for. Unfortunately, this connects with a polished surface, which in the right lighting makes the screen impossible to work with. This is a shame. As a fun and trivial feature, it is touch sensitive. The built-in speakers can play almost twice as loud as those in the model from Asus, and are surprisingly good, although you shouldn’t expect hi-fi quality.

Benchmark

The resolution on display is 2560 x 1440 pixels, which is a lot for such a small screen. Used with Nvidia GTX 1060, this unfortunately creates a bottleneck, as the machine has a hard time maintaining a stable frame rate above 30 fps in newer and more demanding games. The frame rate even drops at some sequences down in the 20’s, unless we lower the graphic settings a little. As a result, we decreased the resolution to 1080p, as this was the primary reason for the poor performance. The computer immediately performed better after this. It was now somewhat possible to maintain a stable 60 fps in both Rise of the Tomb Raider and Dishonoured 2 at the second highest settings. As an extra advantage, the battery life is among the best.

Conclusion

Alienware has for many years been known for solid gaming computers in the expensive range, and has unfortunately also been reserved for the US market. This is no longer the case, and we really should be happy about that. This machine may not have the most powerful graphics card, but still manages quite well, and has an incredibly sleek and crisp OLED display. The battery was clearly one of the better performing, and can keep your computer running for a long time. If you want a computer that is still portable and can be used for things other than gaming, and if you can live with the shiny screen and the slightly silly design, Alienware is a good buy.

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Panther black predator

Acer's contribution to a killer machine oozes with luxury, and eats your games for breakfast.

Our verdict

Well-designed monster machine with the fastest graphics processor that money can buy today.
It's big, it's expensive, it's heavy. And despite a gigantic power consumption it is only the second fastest in the test.
Operating system: Windows 10
Processor: 2.9 GHz Intel Core i7-7820HQ Quad-core (8 threads)
Screen: 17.3” HD, 1.920 x 1.080 @ 60 Hz
Memory: 32 GB RAM/512 GB SSD, 1TB HDD
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 m. 8 GB RAM
Dimensions: 42.3 x 4.5 x 32.2 cm
Weight: 4.5 kg
Integrated 720p webcam, Wifi 802ac, Bluetooth
4.1 Gigabit Ethernet, USB-C (Thunderbolt),
4 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 3.1, HDMI, audio input/output, card reader
Price: –
www.acer.no

Benchmark
Geekbench 3: 14,352 (multi-core), 3,496 (single-core)
Basemark 3.0: 1,352.68
3DMark 15: 14,307
3DMark Time Spy: 6,599
Cinebench R15: 108.44 fps / 764 cb
HDTach: 605 MB/s
Futuremark Peacekeeper: 1:04 hours

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Price 23995 £

We have several times written about Acer’s Predator series, which is going to compete with the more established players in the gaming world. Not only have the screens with eye-tracking received attention, but a number of well-equipped PCs have come out of it.

The Acer Predator 17X is the current top model, if we ignore the giant Predator 21X, which requires heavy PC driving license – and costs as much as a small sedan! The edition we have tested is equipped with an Intel Core i7 processor, 32 GB RAM and a Geforce GTX 1080 graphics processor. It has both SSD and a conventional hard drive on board, but no optical port. The modular DVD port we saw on earlier Predator models is gone. All the computers in the test are without optical drives.

Like the vast majority of gaming PCs, Predator 17X is pitch black. The lid, keyboard and bottom are all made of a matte black plastic with an almost silky surface. The only exception is the metal grills on the cooling vents in the back, which are bright red.

As with Asus’ heaviest models, the hinge to the screen is pulled slightly forward on the chassis. It makes the machine seem a little smaller, but nevertheless, it never seems small. There are three to four regular laptops on a Predator 17X, both in weight and scope. And even in price. However, it is very well constructed. The lid opens with the right combination of firmness and smoothness, and the keys are without any wobble. These are details, but details that show a difference.

Benchmark

Geforce GTX 1080 is Nvidia’s best graphics processor for home use. And it plows through most games like a hot knife through butter. Our graphics testing demonstrates this as well. The heavy 3DMark Type Spy test comes out with a score of 6,599 and 3DMark 15 ends at 14,352.

In return, there is no particular reason to buy a monster machine for purposes other than graphics. The general tests Geekbench, Basemark and Cinebench all show excellent results, but not much more than an i7 machine with no super graphics can handle.

The Acer Predator 17X has a built-in battery, but you would do well by using the power supply. Battery life is the second shortest we have ever measured: it clocked in on an hour and four minutes in our battery test. Only the giant MSi GT80 Titan performed worst. And only by a minute.

The SSD disk is excellent and provides a fast start up. But it is no speed party. MSi and Omen are more than twice as fast.

Conclusion

Acer is working hard with the Predator series to capture a slice of the gaming market, and the Predator 17X is a brilliant and well constructed machine that can satisfy even the most demanding gamers. Performance is at the top, and it requires almost a photo finish to decide the differences between Acer and the archrival Asus.

This kind of performance in a laptop has its price. Both in terms of money and portability. The Predator 17 requires a solid PC carrier bag, and the battery is more for decoration. And it costs a fortune – but no more than a serious racing bike or any other top-end hobby equipment.

The New Razer Blade 2016

The black MacBook Pro

If you're fond of the Macbook, you'll definitely appreciate the Razer Blade.

Our verdict

Razer Blade is a neat and nice-looking machine that is both suitable for office use and gaming.
The fans make a little too much noise during games, and the price is a bit high. The high resolution is too much for the GTX 1060.
Operating system: Windows 10 Home, 64-bit
Processor: 2,6 GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ (quad-core) (8-threaded)
Screen: 14” QHD+ (3200 x 1800), touch screen
Memory: 16GB
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 m. 6 GB RAM
Hard Drive; 512 GB SSD
Dimensions: 34.5 x 1.8 x 23.5 cm (WxHxD)
Weight: 1.95 kg.
2 Mp webcam, Killer Wireless 1535 802.11 ac and Bluetooth 4.1, 3 x
USB 3.0 (A), 1 x USB 3.1 (C), HDMI, headphone jack
Price: –
www.razerzone.com

Benchmark
Geekbench 3: 12,524 (multi-core),
3,282 (single-core)
Basemark 3.0: 489.9
3DMark 15: 6,423
3DMark Time Spy: 3,050
Cinebench R15: 29.57 fps / 673 cb
HDTach: 1,148 3 MB/s
Futuremark Peacekeeper: 2:12 hours

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Price 24000 £

US Razer was obviously inspired by Apple in Cupertino when they designed their Blade computer. The black laptop resembles the Macbook Pro, which should be seen as a great compliment. It’s impressive that they have managed to squeeze so much gamer PC in a reasonably modest aluminium chassis. The result is a scrumptious and simple computer that appeals to those of us who prefer the subtle and stylish. The similarity continues when opening the laptop and seeing the keyboard. Like the Macbook Pro, there’s plenty of room between the keys and is comfortable to type on. There is naturally light under them, and it pulses with every colour of the rainbow. The speakers on each side play loud and well enough so you don’t need headphones  – at least not until the fans activate during play. Like the other models, they are way too noisy.

Somewhat lacking

Where the Razer differs from the competition is the various inputs and outputs. It is somewhat lacking here, and we miss a display-port, Ethernet and something as simple as a port for SD cards. If it is to replace our Macbook Pro, we will require the latter function. Fortunately, Razer should win some fans due to a far more powerful inner workings, which also makes it gaming friendly. In this department, Apple cannot keep up. It is equipped with a Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics card and a Core i7 processor, which allows the incredibly slim computer to handle even the latest games. These can be enjoyed on the 14 inch large QHD+ screen, which is touch sensitive and has a resolution of a whopping 3200 x 1800 pixels. The colours are sharp and fine, but we would have preferred it matte instead of glossy.

Benchmark

As was the case with Alienware, the high resolution of the screen becomes a bottleneck during game play. Especially in demanding titles, the full resolution is simply too much for the graphics card, and we only get about 20 fps in Tomb Raider with everything at max, when we set it on full resolution. Even at the game’s lowest setting, we were only a little over 30 fps, which also would not be enough. With the resolution turned down to 1080p, it looks totally different. If you adjust the graphic settings slightly, you can get a solid frame rate at 60 fps without substantially affecting the picture quality. As with Asus you can leave the power supply connected in order to have enough power for the graphics card. If you unplug, the noise from the fans is reduced, but the frame rate also halves.

Conclusion

Razer Blade is a laptop for those of you that already have and are fond of a Macbook Pro that you wished you could also play on. You can do it with this one, and it resembles the Macbook Pro and is about the same size. However, appearances deceive, and inside you will find a competent gaming machine, which is extremely noisy due to the fans underneath when you start up games. We are very excited, but it scores a little lower just because of the price. It is rather expensive.

 

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HP Omen 17 w203no

From the second top shelf

Sensible, thoughtful compromises creates a computer that delivers a lot for less money.

Our verdict

If you give the 3D requirements just a little slack, you get a lot of power at a fairly reasonable price.
Somewhat sober compared to the others. Professional gamers need more brute force.
Operating system: Windows 10
Processor: 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad-core (8 threads)
Screen: 17.3” Full HD, 1.920 x 1.080
Memory: 16 GB RAM / 512 GB SSD
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 m. 8 GB RAM
Dimensions: 41.6 x 3.3 x 27.9 cm
Weight: 3.4 kg
Integrated HD-webcam, Wifi 802ac, Miracast, Bluetooth
4.2, Gigabit Ethernet, 3 x USB 3.1, Mini DisplayPort,
HDMI, audio input/output, card reader, G-sync.
Price: –
www.hp.no

Benchmark
Geekbench 3: 11,838 (multi-core), 3,456 (single-core)
Basemark 3.0: 951.72
3DMark 15: 12,484
3DMark Time Spy: 4,800
Cinebench R15: 111.16 fps / 620 cb
HDTach: 1,635 MB/s
Futuremark Peacekeeper: 1:14 hours

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Price 19990 £

HP is among the largest manufacturers of regular PCs, but has also opened its eyes on everything gaming related, and the sales figures are growing. They launched the Omen series a year ago to put up a fight with other manufacturers of gaming computers, including Alienware, ROG and Predator from Dell, Asus and Acer respectively. The first computers were not impressive, but now there is a new generation with updated hardware.

HP Omen 17 with the surname W203no is a 16-inch computer with the seventh generation i7 processor and – like the others – a Geforce graphics processor from Nvidia. However, it is “only” a GTX 1070 processor, i.e. the second best, which costs a lot less than CTX 1080. The amount of memory and storage options is also “sensible” rather than excessive. 16 GB RAM and a 512 GB SSD. There is no physical optical driver. The screen is also “only” Full HD, albeit both bright and nice.

Although the large, metallic red symbol (omen) adorns the lid, Omen 17 is not as nice and cool to look at and touch like the Predator 17X and the MSi G573. The surface is in greyish-black plastic with a fabric-like structure. The keyboard is back lit, but only in red, and it’s pretty much impossible to read the keys without the back light on. The keys have a slightly rubbery, wiggly feel to them. It doesn’t feel outright cheap – but it also doesn’t feel expensive enough. On the other hand, the sound comes from B&O. In other words, B&O’s technicians have tuned it – not that the speaker units are from Struer.

Benchmark

With “only” the second best graphics processor on the motherboard, Omen 17 is not the fastest in the test. But it’s not far behind. A 3DMark Time Spy score of 4,800 is only slightly below the fastest GTX 1080 computers. And in 3DMark 13, the difference is even less.

This means that you must turn up the graphics settings pretty high in the latest games before the game begins to stutter and the upload speed decreases. And that’s just with the latest titles, such as Dishonoured 2 and Battlefield 1. For games you’ve played for a year or longer, the GTX 1070 card is more than enough.

It’s just one hard drive in Omen 17, but on the other hand it is outrageously fast: 1.6 GB a second is extremely fast. The battery life is just as good (or just as bad) as the rest of the segment: an hour and 14 minutes.

Conclusion

HP Omen 17 is not as super cool to look at and touch compared with the competition. But it’s also about the inner values. In this department you get the a lot of value for your money. If you can settle for the second best Nvidia graphics card, which is still far faster than last year’s top model, and “only” has an extremely fast 512 GB SSD to store your games on, Omen 17 is an outstanding buy.

HP is still the new boy of the class, and the level of quality in Omen is not as thorough compared to the others in this category. However, Omen comes at a far cheaper price.

 

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MSi GS73VR-7RF Stealth Pro

Total luxury for games

A great screen and a sleek design makes the MSi a nice-looking but a costly enjoyment.

Our verdict

Powerful hardware in a super slim package. Processor, hard drive, keyboard and audio all come from the top shelf.
Geforce GTX 1060 card only. You may well find faster computers for the same price, but then they become bigger and heavier.
Operating system: Windows 10
Processor: 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad-core (8 threads)
Screen: 17.3” Ultra HD, 3840 x 2160, @ 60 Hz
Memory: 16 GB RAM / 512 GB SSD, 2 TB HDD
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 m. 6 GB RAM
Dimensions: 41.2 x 2 x 28.5 cm
Weight: 2.3 kg
Integrated HD-webcam, Wifi 802ac, Bluetooth 4.1,
Gigabit Ethernet, USB-C (Thunderbolt), 3 x USB 3.0,
Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, digital audio output, microphone,
Audio input/output, card reader
Price: –
www.msi.com

Benchmark
Geekbench 3: 13,514 (multi-core),
3,203 (single-core)
Basemark 3.0: 562.88
3DMark 15: 9,714
3DMark Time Spy: 3,761
Cinebench R15: 94,55 fps / 726 cb
HDTach: 1,393 MB/s
Futuremark Peacekeeper: 1:25 hours

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Price 25990 £

The name “stealth” fits well when you see the exterior of MSi GS73VR. The black, slim aluminium computer is almost discreet enough to be taken to a business meeting. If you ignore the luminous red dragon logo and the RGB-backlit keyboard, that is.

GS73VR is equipped with a Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060 card with 6GB of video RAM. The screen has 4K Ultra HD resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels). The processor is the latest version of Intel’s Core i7 processor at 2.8 GHz. You get 16 gigabytes of RAM, and both a physical hard drive at 2 TB and a fast SSD at 512 gigabyte. A keyboard from the Stell series and a sound card with ESS Sabre DAC are some of the other hardware goodies.

Sharp screen

The 4K screen is an unconditional advantage for graphics and video. Newer 3D games can also become extra realistic in theory. However, 4K-images require four times as much computing power to animate than a high-definition image.

The keyboard is fast and sensitive, and the RGB back lighting can be programmed to everything from a subtle glow to a flashing disco-orgy. And although the graphics card is at the almost affordable end of the scale, there is power enough to play most games in a super sharp quality. However, there is an advantage in lifting the back of the machine slightly so that there is free access to the air intake on the underside. The computer gets really hot when working with 3D!

Benchmark

MSi GS73VR is equipped with Nvidia’s Geforce GTX 1060 graphics processor. It is the newest generation, but not the top model. With a 3DMark Time Spy score of 3,761, the MSi proves that it can handle even new games. But it is still trails a bit behind Asus and Acer.

The more general tests Basemark 3.0 (score 562.88) and Cinebench R15 (94.55 fps/726 cb) prove that we are dealing with a computer that can handle web surfing and graphic rendition excellently, but which is not all that better than other i7 computers. The same applies to Geekbench, where the GS73VR performance is respectively 3,203 and 13,514 in single-core and multi-core. The built-in SSD drive is on the other hand really fast.

Finally, the battery test Futuremark Peacekeeper shows that a fast processor and a large, bright display on a lightweight computer is not the answer to using the computer away from the electrical outlet. It took only an hour and 25 minutes to drain the battery. This is rather short, even for a gaming computer.

Conclusion

Making a laptop that can be used both for gaming and every day use is a balancing act. MSi GS73VR manages it, even though we think professional gamers will look down at having to settle with the third fastest graphics card on the market. You can easily get bigger graphics muscles at the same price, but you will have to compromise on weight.

In reality, the performance still corresponds to what was found in the most powerful laptops a year ago . That means that everything except the very latest games, should run smoothly. If you belong to the small elite of truly serious gamers, you will choose a computer where a larger portion of the resources are used on the graphics.

Alternatives to Gaming Laptops

SteelSeries Rival 650 Wireless

Mouse for adults

Tron-style Danish mouse has movable centre of gravity

HP Omen 17

Sensible, thoughtful compromises creates a computer that delivers a lot for less money.

Total luxury for games

A great screen and a sleek design makes the MSi a nice-looking but a costly enjoyment.

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