The MSI GT75VR Gaming Laptop is a beast of a gaming laptop, both in physical size and performance. I’ve reviewed many gaming laptops, and while very little surprises me nowdays, the MSI GT75VR Gaming Laptop delivers features I’ve never seen or experienced, including (of all things) a mobile app companion. It’s time to find out how this MSI laptop stacks up among the rest.
Getting acquainted with the MSI GT75VR Gaming Laptop
The first thing that you’ll notice about the MSI GT75VR Gaming Laptop outside of its slick brushed aluminium exterior is its sheer size. Where we saw a shift a couple years ago toward trying to blend the gaming and work world and the attempts to make gaming laptops a bit smaller, this one makes no bones about it—this is a true gaming laptop. It reminds me a lot of the ASUS models of yesteryear, requiring a larger case/backpack. It’s about 15 pounds unpacked.
Here are the system specs for the mammoth MSI GT75VR Gaming Laptop:
17.3 inch display with native 3840×2160 screen resolution
2.90GHz Intel Core i7-7820HK quad-core processor
32GB of DDR4 RAM
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card with 8GB of dedicated video memory
2 Hard Drives (1 TB HDD / 512 GB SSD)
Integrated Bluetooth / HDMI and Thunderbolt 3 output
5 USB 3.0 ports
Cooler Boost Titan technology
Steelseries Rapid RGB Mechanical Keyboard with backlit keys
On top of all of these colossal features, it’s fully VR ready and ready to challenge everything you can put toward it. That means that if you’ve been on the fence about committing to VR because of a computer vs. laptop purchase, this one will take care of you well. Plug in your favourite headset and immerse yourself in everything out there (including a recent VR game that I heard came out based on the Exorcist. No thanks I’ll pass!)
Setting up shop with the MSI GT75VR Gaming Laptop
I may have been a bit spoiled because out of the box, everything was ready for me to roll with. However, I would imagine that a laptop like this has very minimal setup required since most laptops of this calibre tend to be a ready-out-of-the-box solution. Literally all I had to do was configure my peripherals, download Steam and go.
One of the things that I really need to point out, however, is how well everything is actually laid out and configured from the hardware end of things. Gone are the days where manufacturers try and cram as much as possible onto the sides of the laptop and place everything inconveniently. Everything on this laptop is laid out perfectly. One of the things I’ve really enjoyed seeing evolve in gaming laptops over the years is the port positioning. The shift to moving the fans/exhaust and AC plugins to the back of the laptop (which this also does) is perfect because it leaves the sides free to roll out USB plugins on each side (to cater to either handed gamer) and place all of the ports intelligently where they are useful.
Gaming and recording with the MSI GT75VR Gaming Laptop
Once you flip up the slick top and fire up the laptop, you’re in for some easy gaming. I tested specifically with Fallout 4 and The Witcher 3 and the game cut through both sets of their pre-requisites like a hot knife in butter. Fallout 4 plays with maximum settings with the greatest of ease and the Witcher 3 was handled with no trouble at all to the smallest of details and scenery.
The laptop also comes with a one year subscription to XSplit Gamecaster as a thank you gift from MSI, so be sure to take advantage of that! If you’re just looking at capturing some more localized footage, that is available to you through what you’re provided out of the box in Windows 10. When in any game, you can simply press the Windows Key + G to bring up a recording dashboard. Recording will capture everything (including your mic if you wish) and will cease by pressing the same key and shutting it off or by quitting your game. It’s as easy as that!
The keyboard is unique too. Having never seen a mechanical keyboard on a gaming laptop before, this was an unexpected and welcome surprise. The onboard mouse is integrated into the light up RGB as well, which tops off the flashy exterior. The keyboard itself is very responsive but does take a little while to get used to, I will admit. I love mechanical keyboards and I do very much like this keyboard. Your muscle memory just surprisingly takes a little while to get used to the style of switches on a laptop keyboard vs. a PC mechanical keyboard. My wife (an avid PC gamer) said the same thing as she continued on through her Fallout 4 games on this laptop. MSI has provided an opportunity for you to customize your keys and macros if that’s something that you’ve enjoyed the comfort of doing in the past.
I didn’t feel at any point that the fans were an obstruction at all. You hardly hear them until you’ve been playing for a while and the laptop begins to heat. Even then, it’s far quieter than most, especially considering how much it’s capable of handling. The cooling system is top notch overall. It draws so much heat away that you’ll never feel the laptop heating underneath your fingers as you type. That’s the mark of a really good cooling system and is still pretty uncommon in my laptop gaming travels. We’ve been through a few manufacturers in our home (both as owners and in reviews) and the only other time I can think of a cooling system that drew heat away this well and this quickly was HP’s Envy laptop. While I didn’t get the chance to test this out with any VR hardware, I would be interested in seeing if it scales up and exhausts heat this well when you’ve got something like the HTC Vive plugged in alongside.
Follow performance through a mobile app!
One of the more unique things I experienced while reviewing MSI’s laptop was the presence of a mobile app. Dragon Dashboard is an app that you can download for your smartphone that gives you access to key information and actions for your PC that you can apply in realtime rather than backing out of a menu. I thought it was kind of funny and perhaps a touch obsessive to have a mobile app controlling a lot of your computer but once I actually used it, I saw how helpful it actually was!
You may not need to monitor your computer’s performance while gaming, but you might need some of the other really helpful features of Dragon Dashboard. You can also change the fan usage and display speeds in realtime. You can kick the fan into overdrive if you feel the computer needs it and can also change the display’s brightness and display settings depending on games you’re playing or videos you’re watching.
There is hardly any setup required. Just download the app and then it guides you through how to sync the PC and your phone up through a shared IP ping. The changes you make on the app are nearly instantaneous on the computer too. I was really impressed at how little lag there was between my request in the app and it engaging on my screen.
If you’d like a quick look at some performance statistics in realtime while gaming, please check the review video. I’ll show you some of Witcher 3 while the app is in motion.
Is the MSI GT75VR Gaming Laptop the one for me?
If you’re looking for a new gaming laptop and this is in your price range, the MSI GT75VR is a VERY strong candidate. With its onboard professional keyboard and mouse, placement of ports in the right places, and top notch performance and features, it should definitely be at the top of your consideration list. It should stay near or at the top of your list if you intend on engaging heavily in VR gaming too. With Bethesda and other developers committing a lot of effort into making VR gaming work, you’ll definitely want to be ready since all signs definitely point to resource heaviness right now. The GT75VR embraces all challenges and those heavy hardware requirements and will be ready for the Fallout 4s and LA Noire Case Files-style games that are on their way to your PCs very soon.