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

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX701 is now available

The first laptop with a whopping 300Hz refresh rate

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ASUS ROG continues to roll out more premium gaming devices, with the latest one coming from the Zephyrus lineup. The two new Zephyrus laptops now come with the highest refresh rate on any device along with powerful hardware.

Starting today, you can get your hands on the new ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX701. The new  Zephyrus S comes with a 17.3-inch IPS FHD display with a whopping 300Hz refresh rate. To complement this high of a refresh rate, ASUS ROG even slapped in either an NVIDIA RTX 2070 or NVIDIA RTX 2080 inside. Along with the latest Intel Core i7 processor inside, the ROG Zephyrus S GX701 looks to be the ideal gaming laptop for the pros.

Depending on the unit you get, you also get up to 32 GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage. All of these contribute to unparalleled performance for any task you throw at it, or any game you throw at it. Both units also come with Gigabit WiFi adapters for better wireless connectivity and Bluetooth 5.0. When you purchase the whole package, you also get a free ROG Backpack, Cerberus Gaming Headset, teh ROG Gladius II, and an ROG Eye webcam.

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX701 is available in all ASUS and ASUS ROG Concept Stores. The 32GB RAM, RTX 2080 unit is priced at PhP 209,995, while the 16GB RAM, RTX 2070 unit comes in at PhP 169,995.

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Gaming

FFVII remake teasers now comes with behind the scenes footage

A look into the iconic theme song and squad

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A delay in release did not stop Square Enix from teasing Final Fantasy fans even more. This time, however, the company is  just giving us two things to prepare our minds and hearts for the remake.

The first one, as you’ve seen from the header image, an HD recreation of Cloud Strife and his trusty motorcycle. An entire cast literally joins him in the picture, including Aerith, Tifa, Barret, and even Red XIII. Looks like this is just feeding more details on character art, more than anything else.

The second one is actually a behind-the-scenes look into the end theme of the whole remake. Nobuo Uematsu guides us through the creative process behind the end theme, including the recording sessions for it. To see more of it, here’s the entire behind-the-scenes footage:

Square Enix’ remake of Final Fantasy VII will be released on April 10, 2020. It will only be available for the PlayStation 4, and pre-orders are still being accepted.

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Apps

NVIDIA’s GeForce Now is ready for gamers

Another cloud gaming competitor

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NVIDIA’s game streaming service, GeForce NOW, is ready for gamers looking for alternatives to Google’s Stadia and Microsoft XCloud. NVIDIA is looking at its support for more devices and compatibility with existing game stores as its edge against competitors.

Luring in gamers

NVIDIA GeForce NOW is now available for general audience after it entered beta last year. Starting today, gamers can opt for either of the two tiers: Free and Founders.

Gamers on Free tier have to contend with a one-hour gameplay limit. Plus, they maybe put on a wait list for a certain game if there is too much demand. Meanwhile, gamers on Founders tier have priority access to games, a six-hour gameplay limit, and support for RTX.

Unlike its competitors, NVIDIA’s game streaming service supports more devices. It is available now in Windows, macOS, Android and SHIELD TV platform, with Chromebook support coming in the future.

This game streaming service also works differently than Google’s Stadia and Microsoft’s XCloud. It streams supported games from the Steam library, Epic Games Store, Battle.net, and Uplay.

There is no need to purchase a game as gamers can simply stream it if the service supports it. Smooth gameplay is guaranteed with support of up to 1080 at 60FPS.

Pricing and availability

GeForce NOW is available on all 30 countries across North America and Europe. Beta users are migrated automatically. For those planning to pay for the Founders tier, they will only have to shell out US$ 4.99 per month.

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