The Razer Blade has always had a serious competitor. It is not Alienware, Predator, or even ROG. These brands have produced excellent gaming laptops with their capabilities, but no brand can fully achieve the purpose of a blade server.
Razer’s most direct competitor comes from a smaller company (at least in the US). I’m talking about MSI GS66 Stealth. It has similar dimensions, almost the same specifications, and most importantly, has the same minimalist design principles. There are no clichés that highlight angles or stereotypes.
MSI has developed a way to overcome the Razer Blade blade, and its latest model GS66 Stealth seems to be able to solve all problems. Did it beat the Razer Blade in its own game?
- Great gaming performance
- Ultrafast 300Hz refresh rate
- Good keyboard and touchpad
- Comfortable surface temperatures
- The screen is a bit dim
- Questionable build quality
“The MSI GS66 Stealth has excellent gaming performance and stylish appearance, and is inexpensive.”
MSI GS66 Design
There is a thin line between simple and plain. Brands like Razer or Apple can show elegance in appearance. MSI GS66 Stealth strives to achieve the same technique.
It avoids the exaggerated style of other gaming laptops, but it is not as refined as a laptop like the Razer Blade. Even some ROG Zephyrus laptops look more consistent.
MSI even withdrew the design from last year’s GS65 Stealth, removing the golden highlights that caused the theme of racing stripes. It is now colorless, except for the RGB keyboard, maintaining the standard aluminum chassis, painted black.
Unfortunately, there are still vents on the sides and top of the keyboard panel, stickers on the palm rest, and large hinges. This is not a bad looking laptop. A bit dull.
Fortunately, MSI has fixed some build quality issues. The previous model was light and thin but felt flexible and cheap.
Although the lid still shakes a bit, it is no longer a curved plastic sheet. Even if it is closed, my cover may lie flat due to bending.
This is important for laptops that are only 4.6 pounds and 0.71 inches thick. However, its structure is still not as good as the Razer Blade of the same size, and it is still the king of the department.
MSI GS66 Keyboard and Touchpad
The keyboard and touchpad are suitable for this theme. This is a large and comfortable keyboard with a set of flexible keys, suitable for typing and gaming.
However, there are some oddities in the keyboard layout. The function keys are located only on the right side, possibly very close to the full-size arrow keys, which can also be used as both volume and screen brightness controls.
However, the strange thing is that it is only half the size of a normal key. For commonly used keys, this is a wrong decision.
The keyboard does have RGB backlighting, which is necessary for today’s gaming laptops. You can customize each button to bring interesting designs, all of which are provided by Steelseries. However, the brightness of the backlight is not consistent with that of the Razer Blade.
The touchpad is wider than the previous models. Unlike the larger MSI GS75 Stealth, this keyboard will not interfere with your palm when typing. However, due to the large vents above the keyboard, it is shorter than I am familiar with.
The good news is that the touchpad tracks well and the click mechanism is quiet and precise. I am surprised by the quality.
MSI GS66 Stealth includes a 720p webcam located above the display and an infrared camera for Windows Hello facial recognition.
MSI GS66 Ports
MSI GS66 Stealth provides a large number of options for port connection. On the left, you can see USB-A, HDMI, Thunderbolt 3 and barrel plug power ports.
On the right, GS66 Stealth provides more than two USB-A ports, an additional USB-C port, an Ethernet jack, and a headphone jack.
This is all you need to connect multiple accessories, output to an external monitor, and even hard-wire the Internet.
The lack of a full-size SD card slot is a missed opportunity for creatives that want to use this laptop as a photo or video editing machine.
This slot has made a comeback in the new Razer Blade and Dell XPS 15. To use MSI GS66 Stealth, you need to use a dongle.
The location of these ports is a bit annoying. Due to the ventilation holes on the side, the port has been pushed down towards the palm rest. It turns out that this is where the mouse is usually located.
MSI GS66 Stealth supports the latest Wi-Fi 6 connection via Intel and Bluetooth 5.1
MSI GS66 Gaming Performance
Like the Predator Triton 500 or Razer Blade, the MSI GS66 Stealth not only has an Nvidia RTX 2080 Super Max-Q graphics card but also has a 300Hz refresh rate screen.
The combination of the two means powerful GPU performance and a screen that will never limit the number of frames per second you see.
When paired with slower GPUs such as RTX 2070 Super or RTX 2060, MSI models also provide 240Hz or 144Hz refresh rate screens.
However, my carefully selected audit department performed the best. Take “Battlefield 5” as an example. The MSI GS66 Stealth processes games at 97 frames per second (FPS) under Ultra settings, and 133 fps at Medium.
It goes hand-in-hand with the Razer Blade, even surpassing 11 fps at the “Medium” setting.
Razer Blade, Predator Triton 500, and MSI GS66 Stealth are also in a dead heat in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
The MSI GS66 Stealth played at 56 fps, only a few frames behind its two competitors.
The transaction was hit again. The Fortnite played by GS66 Stealth was exceptionally smooth, making better use of its 300Hz screen.
It reached a staggering 121 fps under Epic’s settings, again leading the Razer Blade at 11 fps.
If you are wondering, some titles can use the extra frame rate margin provided by the 300Hz screen. For example, “Rocket League” can easily be played at up to 250 fps.
All these games are played at the original 1080p resolution of the system, although it is possible to get good frame rates while plugging in an external 1440p gaming monitor.
MSI GS66 Battery Life
MSI GS66 Stealth keeps pace but is ahead of many competitors in many areas. The one exception to this rule is battery life. However, I am not saying that it can compete with non-gaming laptops.
A charge can still only manage about 5 to 40 minutes, and this is only a light load of web browsing. You can’t work on the wall for too long without worrying about battery life
In the same test, even with a 4K display, the Dell XPS 15 can last for several hours on a single charge.
Nevertheless, the MSI GS66 Stealth is still 40 minutes longer than the Razer Blade blade, and several hours longer than G-Sync laptops such as the Predator Triton 500.
Its 99 watt-hour battery is worthy of thanks-it’s an hour higher than the 80 watt-hour power of the Razer Blade.
In our lightest battery test, the Razer Blade did beat MSI, which looped local video clips until the laptop died.
The blade battery life is 7 hours and 22 minutes, which is an hour longer than the MSI GS66 Stealth.
However, the competition for battery life in gaming notebooks is becoming increasingly fierce, and this is the new growth of AMD Ryzen 4000 gaming notebooks.
Its GPU is not powerful, but ROG Zephyrus G14 is more inches than MSI GS66 Stealth in web browsing and lasts up to 10 hours in the video loop.
MSI GS66 Display
The matte 1080p screen has a response time of 3 milliseconds and a refresh rate of 300 Hz, making it ideal for gaming. The game is fast and smooth.
For other activities, the service is only applicable. For starters, the maximum screen size is only 262 nits.
This is 15% dimming than the Razer Blade blade server and 300 nits lower than the premium laptop I expected. The matte treatment helps reduce reflections, but I hope to see a brighter screen here.
Fortunately, it is a precisely calibrated screen with accurate colors. Although the color gamut is not satisfactory, it can match the 1080p Razer Blade in this respect.
MSI does provide 4K panels, which may be more attractive for tasks other than games.
The speaker was disappointing. Although MSI decided to place them on the palm rest again, they still face upwards, which is still a strange choice. Either way, they are messed up and there is no bass.
MSI GS66 Stealth is facing an uphill battle. It lacks the improved features of the Razer Blade and is not as affordable as the Acer Predator Triton 500. Nevertheless, its advantages have not been ignored.
The cooling effect is impressive, and the gaming performance is also great. Its performance is not twice as good as the Razer Blade blade server, but as an ultra-portable gaming laptop, the MSI GS66 Stealth can protect itself.
The Razer Blade blade has excellent manufacturing quality, better display, and a more classic appearance. It is several hundred dollars more expensive, but the Predator Triton 500 is not as stylish as the MSI GS66 Stealth, but it is cheaper and even includes a G-Sync screen.
If you are considering using the cheaper NSI RTX 2060 version of MSI GS66 Stealth, ROG Zephyrus G14 is a good choice.
Yes. If the Razer Blade server is too expensive and you still need a stylish gaming laptop, the MSI GS66 Stealth is a good choice.