The Bottom Line
Jul 2 2012 - The MSI GE60 laptop is designed as a more affordable and portable 15-inch gaming laptop and it does very well with this task. Its dimension are much more inline with a typical 15-inch laptop than gaming specific ones which does make it portable even though it features a large power brick. Performance is good both for gaming and general performance thanks to the quad core processor and NVIDIA graphics. The best feature is the display with its anti-glare coating. There are a few downsides to its features and $1200 price including small things such as its glossy exterior and non-backlit keyboard. Still, for those that want to game without breaking the bank or their backs, the MSI GE60 is a solid choice.
- High Resolution Display With Anti-Glare Coating
- Good General and 3D Performance
- Well Priced For Features
- Design Heavily Uses Plastics And Glossy Coatings
- Keyboard Not Backlit
- Should Really Come With 8GB Memory
- Intel Core i7-3610QM Quad Core Mobile Processor
- 6GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 750GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 15.6" WUXGA (1920x1080) Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
- NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M Graphics With 2GB Memory
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth
- Two USB 3.0, Two USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 7-in-1 Card Reader
- 15.1" x 9.8" x 1.5" @ 5.3 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter
Review - MSI GE60 0NC-006US
Jul 2 2012 - MSI did an interesting thing with the design of the GE60 laptop. It gave it styling black and gray with red stripes one would expect of flashy high end gaming laptops compared to its own GT60 that is much more conservative all black. The coating of the exterior lid and the keyboard deck are all glossy finished which does make them a magnet for smudges. It is certainly much thinner and lighter for a gaming class laptop at just one and a half inches thick compared to many that run upwards of two inches thick and and eight pounds. The downside is that much of this weight savings is done from the use of plastics so it doesn't have quite the solid feel as some other options available.
Performance for the GE60 0NC-006US is quite good thanks to the Intel Core i7-3610QM quad ore processor that uses the new Ivy Bridge design. This allows it to do exceptionally well not only in gaming but more demanding tasks for the processor such as desktop video. The processor is matched up with 6GB of DDR3 memory which is a bit disappointing at most laptops in this price range come with 8GB standard. It should still run fine in most instances but heavy multitasking will slow it down a bit compared to those with more.
For the storage, MSI went with a fairly traditional route for the MSI GE60 0NC-006US. It comes with a decently sized 750GB hard drive that should provide plenty of space for applications, data and media files. The drive spins at the faster 7200rpm rate which does give it good performance but it still falls short of those that use solid state drives exclusively or through caching such as the Samsung Series 7. It should be noted though that these is an mSATA slot available for adding a small SSD to the laptop. Thanks to the new processor and chipset, the system does feature two USB 3.0 ports for use with high speed external storage devices in addition to two standard USB 2.0 ports. There is a dual layer DVD burner for playback and recording of CD or DVD media as well as a multi-card reader for flash cards.
The screen for the MSI GE60 is a bit different from most consumer laptops. Sure, it offers a 1920x1080 resolution which is high for this price segment but not unusual. It certainly doesn't offer the same level of clarity as the new MacBook Pro 15 with Retina Display but it is still has decent color and viewing angles. What sets it apart is the use of an anti-glare coating over the display compared to the glossy coatings used by many companies. This helps it work better under hard lighting conditions or bright sunlight. The graphics are also certainly a step up with an NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 2GB of memory. This lets it play some games up to the full native resolution of the display but some more modern or demanding games will require reduced resolutions or detail levels. The dedicated graphics are also beneficial for those looking to use it for more than just 3D.
The keyboard for the MSI GE60 has both good and bad points when it comes to gaming. It uses the isolated key layout that is typical to many laptops now. What it does well is include larger left hand keys such as tab, shift and control which are useful for the standard WASD controls on many games. What it lacks is a backlit keyboard that can be difficult to use in low light conditions. The trackpad itself uses a dimpled surface that is recessed from the keyboard deck. It is decent but most gamers would use an external mouse. The buttons are thankfully not integrated but it does use the rocker bar style.
In terms of the battery, the MSI GE60 comes with a fairly standard six-cell battery pack. In video playback tests, the system ran for roughly three and a quarter hours. This puts it on par with the average 15-inch laptop using a hard drive and a sic cell battery pack. Of course, this is well below what the new MacBook Pro 15 with Retina achieves with its huge battery and SSD. Gaming on the battery pack is possible, but only for short periods of times as it is extremely power demanding. Also, the power adapter is larger than your typical 15-inch laptop which is something to consider when traveling.