MSI GS65 Stealth: Still a Top Contender for Gaming in 2023?

When it first launched in 2018, the MSI GS65 Stealth took the gaming laptop world by storm. With its incredibly slim 0.69-inch thick chassis, premium metal build, and powerful Nvidia GTX 1070 GPU, this laptop delivered desktop-like gaming performance in a shockingly portable package.

Years later, does the GS65 Stealth still have what it takes to run modern games? Or have newer laptops left it in the dust? In this extensive review, we‘ll see how it holds up and whether it deserves a spot on your gaming laptop shortlist for 2023.

Overview: Impressively Thin and Powerful Design

Upon first look, the GS65 Stealth stands out for its sleek aesthetics. The aluminum lid and body is subtle and professional-looking at first glance, with Iridescent highlights around the touchpad, pewter-colored hinges, and copper trim along the edges adding style. Open the lid and the Stealth screams gaming, thanks to its highly customizable per-key RGB lighting and prominent air vents.

Despite packing top-tier specs and a 15.6-inch display into its svelte 0.69 x 9.75 x 14.08-inch frame, the GS65 Stealth weighs a very travel-friendly 4.14 pounds. The screen exhibits slim bezels around three sides and its 87% screen-to-body ratio means lots of real estate for gameplay.

In short, the GS65 Stealth achieves an impressive balance of power, portability and premium looks that few other gaming laptops can match even today.

Display and Sound: Vibrant Visuals

The 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS display renders games in stunning color and clarity thanks to its 72% NTSC color gamut coverage and strong 282 nits maximum brightness. Its 3ms response time and scintillating 144Hz refresh rate translate to ultra-smooth gameplay free from motion blur or lagging. The GS65’s matte finish nicely minimizes glare and reflections during daytime use as well.

Audio from its Dynaudio speakers could be better – sound is rather anemic and you‘ll want a solid gaming headset for stronger immersion. But visually, this is a screen that holds its own against more modern gaming laptops. Bear in mind though, that you won’t get sharp 4K resolutions or the incredible color/contrast of OLED panels found on today’s flagship rigs.

Performance: Still Packs a Gaming Punch

The MSI GS65 Stealth I reviewed came configured with the following core hardware:

  • 6-core 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H CPU
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • NVidia GTX 1070 with Max-Q 8GB GPU
  • 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD

I tested a range of modern games including Horizon Zero Dawn, Red Dead Redemption 2, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) and Forza Horizon 5. The laptop more than held its own, running these graphically intensive titles at High to Ultra settings while delivering impressively high framerates.

Red Dead 2 saw 55-68 fps on a mix of High/Ultra graphics and Horizon ran at a superb 82fps average on Ultra. Some dips were observable in crowded towns or complex scenes – not surprising given the demands of these open world titles. Still, performance stayed highly playable throughout. Gamers who aren‘t chasing the highest possible frame rates should have no issues enjoying the latest games.

The CPU also deserves praise for keeping up with the GTX 1070 GPU. Code compilation, video exports, huge database queries, and 20+ browser tab sessions were handled without complaint. However, I‘d avoid this laptop for serious 3D/video editing, development workloads or heavy multitasking.

While the GTX 1070 outperforms Nvidia‘s newer RTX 3050/3050 Ti, it lacks capabilities like hardware ray tracing and DLSS 3 that help latest-gen laptops gain an extra performance edge. But for smooth 1080p gaming, this veteran GPU has definitely still got it.

Battery Life and Connectivity

With its older CPU and GTX 1070 GPU, the GS65 Stealth is fairly power efficient by gaming laptop standards. I recorded nearly 5 hours of regular productivity use including web browsing, Office apps, watching YouTube etc. Gaming runtimes were just under 2 hours in Performance mode.

The GS65‘s Wi-Fi 6 and Gigabit Ethernet connections keep latency low for online gaming and downloads. Port selection is also generous, including 1 Thunderbolt 3 port, 2 USB 3.1 Type A ports, an SD card reader, Ethernet and dedicated headphone/mic jacks. Bluetooth 5.0 enables swift file transfers and audio streaming to wireless devices.

One downside is fast charging is not supported – recharging the GS65‘s 82Wh battery to full takes a lengthy 2 hours. Many newer rigs offer 30 minutes to 1 hour charge times.

Final Verdict

The GS65 Stealth definitely isn’t as travel friendly or wallet friendly as it once was. Used/refurbished models still fetch $1200+ while brand new units are scarce. Considering its older components, that is difficult pricing to stomach in 2023.

However, this machine’s unique blend of featherweight portability, premium aesthetics and1080p gaming prowess still make it a compelling option over generic budget rigs with mediocre build quality.

Prospective buyers should know performance is largely limited to smooth 1080p gaming – so visual fidelity and frame rates won‘t match a newer RTX 3070/3080 laptop. Nonetheless, the MSI GS65 Stealth should satisfy most gamers who value portable designs and lasting quality over maxed out specs. Its incredible form factor even after 5 long years helps cement its reputation as one of the best gaming laptops ever designed.

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