The MSI GT70 is big, heavy and runs hot, but it impresses with its five-hour battery life -- a truly notable feat for a gaming notebook.
This laptop does it all. No matter what computing tasks you need handled, the GT70's Ivy Bridge quad-core Core i7 processor, 12 GB of RAM, 750 GB hard drive and discrete Nvidia GeForce GT670M GPU can handle it. Games play at smooth frame rates even on higher graphics settings. Media encoding occurs quickly. And if you want even faster performance, several step-up variations are available, including a model with dual solid-state drives set up in a RAID 0 array for blisteringly speedy storage access times.
Just as impressive is the MSI GT70's battery life. It lasts more than five hours in some tests, which is incredibly long for a gaming notebook. Part of the credit goes to Nvidia's Optimus technology, which automatically switches off the GPU and moves the load to the CPU's integrated graphics when extra processing heft isn't needed.
Inputs work like a charm. The GT70's keyboard and touchpad are precise, comfortable and responsive, critics say, and it comes with a full array of ports. If you need a connection, there's a good chance this laptop has it, including surround sound audio jacks. On the downside, it's very heavy, although not quite as heavy as the Alienware M17x (*Est. $1,500 and up) .
Not much to look at. Most reviewers use more diplomatic terms, but TechRadar.com's What Laptop magazine flat-out calls the MSI GT70 ugly. While the 1,920-by-1,200-pixel display is very high-resolution and vibrant, several experts say it has horrible viewing angles; you'll pretty much need to look at the screen straight-on. Audio is more of a mixed bag. Some reviewers love the boom and sound levels while others call things a bit muddled, especially at higher volumes.
Not known for strong customer support. The GT70's build quality is excellent, reviewers say. That's a good thing, because MSI's return process has a reputation for being tedious and overly complicated, although most users report having their issues resolved eventually.
A fair deal. "The MSI GT70 is a fair deal, offering strong performance (for a gaming laptop) without much in the way of caveats," says TheVerge.com. That neatly sums up the consensus opinion.
Review Credibility: Excellent The MSI GT70 gets an Excellent rating from PCMag.com but fails to earn an Editors' Choice award due to its massive size and slightly less-than-smooth frame rates when games are set to higher detail settings. Even so, Grevstad says the notebook is very impressive, especially its five-hour battery life that's "virtually unheard of for a gaming laptop."
Review: MSI GT70 0NC-011US, Eric Grevstad, April 30, 2012
2. Computer Shopper
Review Credibility: Excellent Here the MSI GT70 gets 4.5 stars out of 5 and an Editors' Choice award, among others, even though Torres says the display's viewing angles are very poor. "The MSI GT70 0NC-011US is a terrific machine capable of speedy performance and impressive graphics," he writes.
Review: MSI GT70 Review and Ratings, Timothy Torres, May 2, 2012
3. Notebook Check.net
Review Credibility: Excellent This review of a step-up European MSI GT70 variation praises its strong performance chops, high-quality display and audio, as well as the speed of the dual SSDs. The biggest negative is the case itself; Glaser says it's bland and prone to collecting fingerprints.
Review: Review MSI GT70 Notebook, Florian Glaser, May 10, 2012
Review Credibility: Excellent "If you must spend your money on a PC gaming platform you can take with you, the MSI GT70 will not disappoint," Ralph writes. However, he calls a $2,000 laptop a poor value proposition; he thinks most people will get a better bang for their buck building a desktop gaming PC.
Review: MSI GT70 Review, Nate Ralph, June 15, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good Buckley cites the GT70's loud fan and poor viewing angles as negatives, but that's about it. "While the GT70 wraps itself around the latest technologies, its build impressed us most," he says. "The keyboard, trackpad, chassis and speakers all bleed quality, sidestepping so many of the common sins that PC makers commit."
Review: MSI GT70 Gaming Laptop Review, Sean Buckley, April 23, 2012
6. PC World
Review Credibility: Good The potent mix of power, pixel-pushing gameplay performance and portability -- thanks to the laptop's unheard-of five-hour battery life -- lead Jacobi to give the MSI GT70 4 stars out of 5. He notes, however, that it's very bulky.
Review: MSI GT70 Review: Large Display, Long-Lasting Performance, Jon L. Jacobi, May 16, 2012
Review Credibility: Fair In a review that originally appeared in Britain's What Laptop magazine, editors call the MSI GT70 a powerful gaming laptop, but say its atrocious design makes it impossible to recommend over the Alienware M17x R4. "The M17x is an example of brazen flashiness done right, the GT70 is a perfect illustration of it gone awry," they write.
Review: MSI GT70 Review, Editors of What Laptop, June 26, 2012