Gaming

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin Review: The company’s best yet?

A very unassuming gaming laptop

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Taiwanese company MSI welcomed the year by introducing a fresh lineup of gaming laptops sporting the new 8th-gen Intel processors. One of these beasts is the GS65 Stealth Thin.

It carries the title as the world’s first laptop equipped with 144Hz display in a slim 4.9mm frame and enjoys performance perks from NVIDIA’s Max-Q design.

On paper, the GS65 has all the muscle power to be the ultimate gaming laptop. We put it to the test, so join us to see how it holds up as an everyday device for both work and play.

Let’s kick things off with its design.

The GS65 doesn’t offer anything flashy at first glance

It has a minimalist approach with its black coating

It has gold edges

MSI does away with the usual red highlights for the GS65

Bezels are impressively thin

It boasts 4.9mm thin bezels with an 82 percent screen-to-body ratio

A fingerprint scanner is built in but isn’t activated yet

It’s still coming through an update

Here’s a webcam placement done right

Even with slim bezels, MSI was still able to put the webcam up top unlike on other laptops

There’s a stylish yet functional hinge

Small details like this hinge look good and serve a purpose

It’s nicely thin and light

Bringing it around is easy thanks to its light and thin form factor

Sides are lined up with ports…

USB 3.1, Thunderbolt 3, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, charging port

One thing to note, though: Since the company made the GS65 lightweight, they used mostly plastic for the chassis. The trade-off is a flex in the panel near the power button. It’s also the same case for the palm rest that has a slight creak which could get bothersome in the long run.

Also, if we would nitpick, we could still see a chin with the company’s logo. Even then, it’s still not an eyesore to the general aesthetics of the laptop.

Great for multimedia

The Stealth Thin touts a 15.6-inch display which is just the right size for productivity and gaming on the go. Undoubtedly, what makes the display look really appealing are the thin bezels that go with it. It just shows how the company wasted no space and maximized this area.

As mentioned earlier, the screen has a refresh rate of 144Hz and is coupled with a 7ms response time. This translates to really fluid movement, especially while playing games. It could even make or break a match.

In terms of quality, the sharpness of details adds to the overall immersion. Colors are lively and vivid without going overboard so that’s always a good thing. When outdoors, bright glares aren’t much of a problem thanks to the display’s finish.

Speakers are placed underneath, which I have mixed feelings about. Playing games or listening to music while on a table has louder than average volume and it’s all fun. Transferring to a couch or any surface with cloth, however, makes sound muffled and the volume gets greatly reduced.

Of course, audio performance is more immersive when using dedicated headphones. It also supports hi-res audio so that’s another perk when you go for the Stealth Thin.

A very customizable keyboard

The keys are made in partnership with Steel Series and it cements the idea that MSI wants its users to really enjoy using the laptop.

Where these keys shine is in lights customization. Keys that light up aren’t new, but the Stealth Thin boasts per-key RGB lighting that users can tweak.

Additionally, even the behavior of lights can be altered to suit your current mood. You can have it sweeping or just a regular glow, among others. The font style is also a bit different here, and it’s a good kind of different which goes well with the overall look of the laptop.

Gamers comfortable with a full-sized mechanical keyboard might be thrown off with the GS65’s short travel keys, but these are a joy to type on and aren’t that bad for FPS games.

Interesting things under the hood

Running the show is a new Intel Core i7-8750H chipset with six cores and 16GB of RAM. From those alone, you know this portable rig isn’t just made for computing grades in Microsoft Excel.

Top those off with NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1070 graphics with Max-Q tech and you get a machine that doesn’t hold back when more processing power is required of it.

I have been using the Stealth Thin for both work and play — editing videos for GadgetMatch and exploring the land of Eos in Final Fantasy XV. The laptop hasn’t backed down while doing either.

Even without G-Sync embedded in its display, the 144Hz refresh rate made the graphics smooth and screen tearing was nonexistent throughout my time with it. Its underside gets warm but NVIDIA’s efficient Max-Q made it possible to achieve such performance while keeping things relatively cool for the chassis.

As for the battery, the GS65 is pretty much like most gaming laptops — lasting an average of less than three hours with constant usage. What’s interesting, though, is that the power brick is now smaller than usual so it’s easier to bring around.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

There’s a lot to love about the Stealth Thin. There’s the minimalist exterior with elegant gold highlights, 144Hz display with attractively slim bezels, fully customizable keys, and internals that beg to be unleashed. This laptop is basically a combo of great design, powerful specs, and an enjoyable experience all in one portable package.

There are some drawbacks, of course. We’re not fans of how the inside panels bend and creak, and the hit-and-miss performance of its external speakers. Still, if you can look past those, we think this is one of MSI best gaming laptops yet.

The MSI GS65 Stealth Thin is available for pre-order in the Philippines for PhP 134,995 or US$ 2,612 for the GTX 1060 model with a 256GB SSD. There’s also a GTX 1070 variant (our review unit) with a 512GB SSD which retails for PhP 169,995 or US$ 3,289 when converted.

It’s cheaper in the US with a starting price of US$ 1,799. For what it offers, the GS65 is actually affordable compared to others in its league.

Gaming

A somber look at the PlayStation 5 crisis

Can’t buy a PlayStation 5? You’re not alone

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PlayStation 5

In 30 minutes from the moment I’m typing this sentence, Walmart, one of the few American retailers selling the PlayStation 5 online, will restock its console shelves with an undetermined number of units. If the restocking goes exactly as it has in the past few weeks, the retailer’s website will crash within the first few minutes. When it goes back up again, everything will have disappeared from the shelves.

If you’re one of the millions of gamers looking to bag a PlayStation 5 or an Xbox Series X for the holidays, such an experience is familiar to you. Both Sony and Microsoft have fumbled their respective launches, leaving most of the hopeful without a console.

After weeks of the same, attempting to buy the new consoles and leaving empty-handed has turned into a shared global experience. Many are wondering when (or if) they are getting the device. Unfortunately, things aren’t as simple as they once were.

Day zero: zero stock

On November 10, the Xbox Series X and S dropped online for the first time. Though Microsoft’s console didn’t share in the same hype as its Sony counterpart, the new Xbox sold out within minutes. Faced with an even larger demand for the PlayStation 5, everyone portended much of the same for Sony’s console. Unsurprisingly, it was.

Days later, on November 12, the PlayStation finally launched. As expected, in the brief moment that “Buy Now” buttons opened, every retailing site either crashed or stalled. Most stores held a one-time drop. Meanwhile, Walmart did drops throughout the day. And, expectedly, every drop, one-time or gradual, sold out.

Only a handful received consoles on launch day: lucky pre-order purchases, even luckier same-day buyers, or, more likely, bots.

Rise of the machines

Most of the outcry revolves around despised bots refreshing every site and buying every stock before real people can do so. The bot’s owners, all of them scalpers, resell their supply at dramatic premiums. Hours after the initial launch, eBay had auctions going up to US$ 2,000. At the time of this writing, most entries hover around US$ 1,700. (For reference, the PlayStation 5 retails for only US$ 499.)

Neither Sony nor any authorized retailer explicitly commented on the bot takeover. Some (eventually) installed captcha measures to hopefully weed out bots from humans. It did little to stave to onslaught. Scalpers (or worse, scalper networks) thrived under the online-only purchasing system.

Should we, then, blame bots for the year’s most botched launch?

Bots, logistics, or supply?

Currently in our sights, bots and scalpers are easy targets. The systematic supply grab owes a lot of its shortages on the automated schemes of bots. Some scalper networks have even defended their actions. Supposedly, creating a scalping ecosystem creates jobs for scalpers who may have lost their jobs from recent furloughs.

However, a launch is hardly only a matter of consumers. There’s supply and demand, too. Didn’t Sony and Microsoft foresee the demand months ago?

Drumming up intense hype throughout the past few months, both companies naturally predicted a surge. It still wasn’t enough.

Sony, through the PlayStation’s official Twitter account, confirmed “unprecedented” demand for the PlayStation 5 series. It was still a surprise. Echoing the same, Sony Interactive Entertainment President Jim Ryan told a Russian outlet that “absolutely everything is sold.” Unfortunately for gamers, current predictions still estimate shortages lasting until spring next year.

Sony and Microsoft are hard-pressed to make more devices as soon as possible. However, with current COVID-19 restrictions, manufacturing facilities can’t work at full capacity. And it’s not just on the manufacturing side.

Recently, a logistics source confirmed that a lot of resources are still devoted to shipping COVID-19 aid, including PPEs and masks. With a potential vaccine on the horizon, supply transportation will certainly feel the crunch, leaving little room for less essential products like gaming consoles.

So, who’s to blame?

More than bots, scalpers, manufacturers, or logistics companies, the ongoing PlayStation 5 crisis pulls the curtain from an inherently broken system from a pre-COVID-19 era. The current global economy was, and is, ill-prepared for a global emergency.

Companies, manufacturers, and logistics did not anticipate an overwhelming demand for emergency products. Even now, the world is still aching for aid: from simple masks to scarce ventilators. We’re seeing the flaws only now because the new consoles are home appliances. Other launches this year weren’t as in-demand as the PlayStation 5. For example, with everyone staying indoors, not a lot of people are exactly lining up for a new iPhone 12. (Sorry, Apple.)

Fitbit’s Ventilator

On the other hand, a lot of people truly are jobless from a crumbling economy. Albeit a lackluster excuse, scalper networks do have a point that some people are reduced to less-than-stellar ways of making money amid the pandemic. (Not to defend scalping, though. It’s still a shady business.)

Throughout this entire shortage, one thing is clear: The world, as we know it, cannot adequately save itself from a global emergency. The fault inevitably rests on both individuals and systems who persistently refuse to accept the realities of the pandemic: from anti-maskers who put more people at risk to companies who haven’t prepared for the surge to governments who can’t provide aid for its citizenry.

Should you still get a PlayStation 5?

PlayStation 5

If you’re still inclined, Sony promises more stock before the end of the year. Anyone can still try their luck for a fresh device from the factory. More realistically, you can wait a few months without the new console; by then, Sony should have ironed out a lot of kinks and bugs.

No one is judging you if you do. No one is judging you if you don’t. But if you’re worried about the fear of missing out, just remember that not a lot of people have the PlayStation 5 yet, as much as we all would want one.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, remember the new stock I mentioned 30 minutes ago? Sold out in less than ten seconds. Go figure.

SEE ALSO: Sony PlayStation 5 Unboxing

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Gaming

Ubisoft reveals animated trailer for Immortals Fenyx Rising

Discover Immortals Fenyx Rising Animated Trailer that shapes the myth of Fenyx

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Immortals Fenyx Rising

You might not be too hyped for this game but this trailer might change your mind. Immortals Fenyx Rising (formerly known as Gods & Monsters) is a fun new take on Greek Mythology. You play the role of Fenyx — a new winged demigod who’s on a quest to save the Greek gods and their home from a dark curse.

This short animation film created by CLM BBDO shows Fenyx battling epic creatures. He tussles against the Minotaur, the Cyclop and the Griffin while How You Like Me Now by The Heavy insolently plays in the background.

Using the Sword of Achilles, Axe of Atalanta, and Bow of Odysseus, Fenyx defeats the monsters one after the other. Each battle she wins dents the rock and, as huge boulders detach from the summit, she ends up shaping the mountain… and her myth!

Watch it here!

Immortals Fenyx Rising takes grand mythological adventure to new heights. Only by mastering the legendary powers of the gods, overcoming heroic trials and confronting powerful mythological beasts, will Fenyx be able to take on Typhon, the deadliest Titan in Greek mythology.

It will be available on December 3, 2020 on the PlayStation 4, the Xbox One family of devices (including the Xbox One X), Nintendo Switc, Epic Games and Ubisoft Connect. The game will also be available on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S.

SEE ALSO: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla review: Home in unfamiliar territory

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Gaming

Seagate launches The Last of Us II PS4 hard drive

With 2TB of storage, slim design, and compatibility with most PS4 systems

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Seagate just launched a limited-edition hard drive to mark the release of The Last of Us II on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro.

Unlike any regular hard drive, this one comes with a laser-etched design featuring one of the character’s distinct tattoos. The limited-edition HDD also has 2TB of storage for gamers looking to expand their gaming collection. Sony says this drive can store more than 50 games with the required storage of about 40GB.

However, it is worth noting that the game itself doesn’t come preinstalled on the hard drive. Players still need to download the game separately, after which they can store it on the drive to start playing.

The drive is also plug-and-play compliant, so gamers can take the drive anywhere. It connects via USB-A 3.0 for compatibility with other PS4 systems. It also has a slim and pocketable design for ultimate portability.

Availability in the Philippines

The Last of Us II limited-edition hard drive is now available in the Philippines for PhP 5,290 through gaming retailers Game One Tech, Datablitz, and Gameline.

Those who will purchase the hard drive also stand a chance to win exclusive prizes and freebies. Seagate will give away a PlayStation 5, a 43-inch smart HD TV, headphones, and PlayStation classic t-shirts to raffle draw winners on December 18, 2020.

Every purchase of 2TB Seagate Game Drive grants 5 raffle entries while a purchase of 4TB Seagate Game Drive grants 10 raffle entries. Finally, a purchase of The Last of Us II limited edition drive grants 15 raffle entries. Buyers have until December 16 to submit their raffle entries. Winners will be announced through Seagate’s official Facebook page and via email.

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