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

Epic Games just destroyed Fortnite with a literal black hole

There’s an in-game reason, though (maybe)

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Are you currently wondering if (and why) Fortnite is down? If you’re trying to play the world’s biggest battle royale game, you’ll drop in on a strange sight — a black hole. To answer your first question, the game is currently down. However, Fortnite’s curious status is not because of server maintenance or a glitch. Instead, Epic Games has purposely shut its most profitable game down for the day.

Hours ago, Fortnite ended its tenth competitive season. Like most online multiplayer games today, Fortnite creates months-long periods — called Seasons — wherein gamers can rank up and subsequently gain prizes at the end of the period. However, unlike most games, Fortnite holds in-game events that significantly change the gameplay experience. For example, one of the earliest in-game events was a meteor that destroyed part of Fortnite’s map.

That said, Fortnite’s tenth season ended in a literal black hole that sucked up the entire map. Currently, the game will not start in the same lobby or map. Instead, the game only drops gamers into a front-seat view of the black hole. Fortnite is down. (Epic Games has also shut down the game’s official channels.)

For what it’s worth, the game is still churning out “some” content for viewers. Throughout its existence, the black hole has been broadcasting strange numbers for people patient enough to watch. The first set of numbers — 11, 146, 15, 62 — led viewers to a beach full of crabs when put into Google Maps. It’s a direct reference to crab raves, a meme popularized by the game’s popular Twitch streamers. Since then, the black hole released more numbers — 87, 14, 106, 2, 150. Currently, the new set doesn’t mean anything.

Further, gamers can also input the infamous Konami Code — Up, Up, Down, Down, B/O, A/X, Start/Enter — to access a Galaga minigame featuring a pizza and enemy burgers.

For now, Fortnite fans are stuck with this until Epic Games releases a more definitive conclusion. Most likely, the black hole will usher in a new era for the popular game. This might include an entirely new map or new gameplay elements.

Regardless, Fornite’s black hole is a huge gamble on Epic Games’ part. The developer has purposely shut down its biggest revenue stream for an event. It’s currently unheard of for an industry that values maximum efficiency.

SEE ALSO: Sony finally opens cross-play for Fortnite for the PS4

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Enterprise

Blizzard in deep trouble for supporting China

Update: Blizzard eases sanctions against Blitzchung

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Image source: Overwatch

The American corporate world is in a state of crisis caused by the tension between China and America. In the middle of this heightened Sino-American corporate war, Hong Kong lies in the middle, eagerly awaiting its democratic victory against Chinese authoritarianism. Because of the immensity of the geopolitical issue, individuals have inevitably expressed their opinions on the matter through public avenues.

Recently, individual opinions are getting in the way of corporate profits, especially for the companies that these individuals represent. From slaps on the wrist to outlandish punitive measures, American companies are putting a clamp on anti-China sentiments. The US is discovering where their favorite companies’ loyalties really lie — with the American people or with the Chinese government.

Blizzard: too cool for Hong Kong

Among these controversial companies, Blizzard Entertainment is fueling a significant portion of the dispute. Last weekend, the company held a Hearthstone tournament in Taiwan. The winner, Blitzchung (real name: Chung Ng Wai), expressed pro-HK opinions during his victory speech: “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age.”

Days later, Blizzard Entertainment issued steep punishments against Blitzchung: stripping him of his prize money and banning him from competitive play for a year. The company has also fired the two broadcasters involved in the interview. Blizzard has deleted the official interview from their accounts.

“I don’t regret saying that stuff. And even now, I don’t regret it at all.” In defense of his actions, Blitzchung has expressed the necessity of his opinions. “I shouldn’t be scared. I hope my act can inspire other gamers like me, to continue to support the movement in Hong Kong,” he told AFP.

According to Blizzard, Blitzchung’s voiced opinion “offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages [Blizzard’s] images,” warranting the fine and the ban. Curiously, the company did not say if the ban results from any Chinese intervention.

#BoycottBlizzard

Since then, Blizzard’s actions have sparked global outrage, accusing the company of political favoritism rather than supporting its customers or representatives. Many individual personalities have boycotted the company’s products including the highly popular MMORPG World of Warcraft and the competitive shooter Overwatch.

Some Overwatch players have even started using the game’s Chinese character, Mei, as a pro-HK icon. In the game, Mei — and the other characters — are largely apolitical regarding real-world politics. The game is set in a futuristic world with anthropomorphic gorillas and conscious robots. In creating a pro-HK icon, players hope to cause a larger boycott of Blizzard’s products.

Notably, Blizzard’s employees have also expressed dismay over their company’s actions. After the incident, several employees have walked out of their offices in protest. Also, an employee has supposedly taped over Blizzard’s forward-thing motto displayed on the company’s campus: “Think Globally” and “Every Voice Matters.”

The global outrage has already earned the attention of American lawmakers. Floridian Senator Marco Rubio has tweeted his support against Blizzard. “China using access to market as leverage to crush free speech globally,” he said.

Another senator, Ron Wyden from Oregon, has expressed the same sentiments. “Blizzard shows it is willing to humiliate itself to please the Chinese Communist Party. No American company should censor calls for freedom to make a quick buck,” he said.

Meanwhile, rivaling game companies have shown support for Blitzchung. Gods Unchained, a card game similar to Hearthstone, has promised to pay the tournament winner the full winnings stripped by Blizzard. Fortnite’s Epic Games has proclaimed that it will never penalize players for expressing their right to free speech.

Companies for China

Besides Blizzard, the NBA is also embroiled in a similar controversy. China has recently blacklisted the Houston Rockets because of a tweet from general manager Daryl Morey. Apple is also in trouble for supporting a pro-HK app and censoring the Taiwanese flag.

Slowly, the world is unraveling the curtain draping over the biggest companies today. Underneath, people are discovering a cruel truth: the persistence of money versus integral values.

Update [10/11/19]: At the end of the day on Friday (US time), Blizzard issued a statement in response to the recent controversies. In the lengthy post, the company has decided to ease up on the penalties issued to both Blitzchung and the shoutcasters. For one, Blitzchung will finally receive his full winnings. Further, Blizzard has reduced the bans to only six months.

Explaining their side, Blizzard has reiterated that the decision was made without Chinese intervention. According to the statement, Blizzard acted to ensure the tournament’s status as an inclusive environment for all gamers.

SEE ALSO: Blizzard is taking their other titles to your mobile

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Gaming

PlayStation 5 will launch on Holiday 2020

Featuring a new controller

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The next generation console PlayStation 5 will launch on Holiday 2020.

Sony PlayStation published a statement today announcing the time of the launch. Another major announcement is that it will come with a new controller – one that has haptic technology and adaptive triggers.

The haptic feedback will replace the “rumble” tech found in earlier versions of the the DualShock controller. PlayStation says haptic should provide a broader range of feedback. This means a different feeling when you crash a race car to the wall, tackle on the football field, or even ” sense for a variety of textures when running through fields of grass or plodding through mud.”

There’s also the new adaptive triggers which Sony says they incorporated into the L2 and R2 trigger buttons. The new tech will allow developers to “program the resistance of the triggers.” This means having a tactile sensation depending on the action you’re executing.

Game creators have already been given and early version of the new controller so they can incorporate it in upcoming titles.

SEE MORE: PlayStation 5: Everything we know so far

 

 

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