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

Nintendo quietly updates the original Switch with a beefier battery

Will sell for the same price

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Last week, Nintendo announced the Nintendo Switch Lite. Compared to the original Switch, the upcoming Lite version will focus on handheld gaming. It will feature a smaller screen and non-detachable Joy-Con controllers. Sacrificing its home console capabilities, the Switch Lite will hopefully update Nintendo’s on-the-go gaming lineup.

Naturally, the Switch Lite leaves us with a burning question: what will happen to the original Switch? With a docking mode, the original Switch is still Nintendo’s number one choice for a home console. However, the Lite’s hype is leaving the original trailing in the dust. Thankfully, Nintendo is quietly launching an updated version of the beloved original.


In a few weeks, the gaming company will out a revised Switch. The new Switch will come with a beefier battery, reportedly packing around two more hours of battery life. The new battery will last between 4.5 to 9 hours, depending on the game. (For reference, the original battery plays between 2.5 to 6.5 hours.) According to tests, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild can play for up to 5.5 hours on a full battery — up from a paltry three hours.

Much like the Switch Lite, the updated Switch is a huge boost for handheld gaming. Gamers can take their consoles out for longer periods of time. Of course, the update can still feature new hardware on launch. Besides a bigger battery, Nintendo can effectively increase battery life with more efficient chipsets and storage options.

All in all, the new Switch is still a mystery before its launch date. One thing’s for sure: it’s not a completely new Switch. This isn’t a Switch Pro. On launch, the new Switch will cost the same — US$ 300 — as the old Switch.

Besides the revised Switch, Nintendo is also launching the Switch Lite later this year. Also, the company is reportedly working on a gamier Switch Pro for the future. It’s a great time to buy into the Switch ecosystem.

SEE ALSO: Nintendo reveals upcoming games for the Switch

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Gaming

The Nintendo Switch Lite is coming

For on-the-go gaming!

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It has long been rumored that Nintendo will launch a more affordable version of the Nintendo Switch and now, the company has more than confirmed that the rumors are true. Enter the Nintendo Switch Lite. It’s a smaller less featured-filled version of the hit console from Nintendo.

The Nintendo Switch Lite is smaller and lighter. It sports a 5.5-inch touch screen display against its big brother’s 6.2-inch display and is projected to last a little longer at three to seven hours of playtime.


The primary difference though is that it is a handheld only console. Which is why it doesn’t support Joy-Con controllers. It also doesn’t come with a Switch Dock. You can essentially play most titles available on the Switch, but there’s no option for you to play on a bigger screen.

Pricing and availability

The Nintendo Switch Lite will launch on September 20 and will retail for US$ 199.99. It will come in three colors: Yellow, Gray, and Turquoise. Are you gonna get one?

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Gaming

A non-Potterhead’s verdict on Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

Use your phone, Harry!

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More than a week has passed since the global release of the mobile game Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and we’re ready to give our thoughts. As the title states, I’m not into the franchise that much although I’m a big Pokémon Go player. It basically has the same gameplay as they’re under the same developers — Niantic, Inc.

That being said, I won’t be diving too much on the lore and will instead focus more on gameplay and its overall experience.


For those unfamiliar, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is a location-based AR game that requires you to go out of the house in order to get more experience points, unlock special items, and advance in the game. The same goes for Pokémon Go and the game before that, Ingress. While PoGo, in the real world, has PokéStops that give out PokéBalls, HP:WU has Inns that you get Spell Energy from. This is then required so you can cast spells and return Foundables to their rightful place and time (the game’s version of catching different Pokémon in the wild).

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ALSO READ: A beginner’s guide to Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

During the first day of release and being curious as to how the game works, I went out and tried to “catch” as much Foundables as I can and just like PoGo, it gets you in the momentum of just wanting to go around and get as much as you can. I initially noticed the wider array of different “species” you can come across with on HP:WU as compared to when PoGo first launched. I remember all I did back then was to catch Pidgey and Rattata because that was pretty much everything that was available. This was also the main reason why most players quit back then.

You get to choose your house, profession, and design your wand

Back to Wizards Unite, the similarities it has with PoGo made it easy for me to get a grasp of its general gameplay even though I have no idea who most of the characters are. The idea is to basically level up by grinding for experience points in the most efficient way. This means planning where to go and making sure the place is populated by in-game stops and spawns — usually parks and shopping malls are good choices.

Comparison of HP:WU’s UI vs PoGo in the same area

While it parallels Niantic’s other games in many levels, Wizards Unite brings its own charm through its visuals. The environment of HP:WU is simply more immersive than PoGo‘s and even the encounters have more detail in them. It could get distracting at times since there are more elements in HP:WU, but is overall nicer to look at.

A unique aspect from the company’s games is that unlike other multiplayer games where you meet your friends online, you actually play with them in real life and this is also the case for Wizards Unite. These games basically build a community that helps each other accomplish in-game tasks that are usually challenging to accomplish alone. What HP:WU did better, though, is to go for a more immersive gameplay by making you trace different patterns on your screen as if waving your wand as compared to the tapping mechanics of PoGo.

Overall, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite could be a more enjoyable game for some players who are not big fans of the Pokémon franchise. I personally enjoy it enough to switch between HP:WU and PoGo whenever I play out. It will keep you walking around drawing on your screen and pretending to wave your make-believe wand.

It’s a game that’s far more complete than Pokémon Go at launch, that’s for sure. Although, it’s still far from reaching its full potential since there are things that could still be added to the game like a dueling system, for example.

If you want to try the game and get some cardio while casting spells, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is available on Google Play and the App Store.

 

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