MSI's Stealth Pro 4K is a thin gaming laptop with a nice 4K-resolution 17.3-inch display. There's plenty to like inside and out including an Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor and Nividia GTX 1060 graphics and great connectivity options, but the system really targets gamers and graphics pros who want a big, accurate, high-res display in a slim chassis.
The configuration I tested comes in at $2,300, though if you hunt around you might be able to find it for a little less. A similar configuration in the UK sells for about £1,900 and in Australia for AU$3,400. That's a far cry from the near $4,000 Razer wants for its similarly thin 17-inch Blade Pro, though that laptop is significantly better in almost all aspects.
On the other hand, if you don't mind some extra thickness and/or don't need the 4K display, you can find other less expensive options like HP's 17-inch Omen and the Asus ROG Strix GL753 that can match or surpass the MSI's performance.
MSI GS73VR Stealth Pro 4K
|Price as reviewed||$2,300|
|Display size/resolution||17.3-inch 3,840x2,160 display|
|PC CPU||2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ|
|PC memory||16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz|
|Graphics||6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060|
|Storage||512GB SSD + 2TB HDD|
|Networking||802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Home (64-bit)|
And not only do those laptops compete on price and performance, they feel better constructed than the MSI. The Stealth Pro is a nice-looking laptop with a brushed aluminum body and a relatively unobtrusive logo that illuminates when you open the lid. It's reasonably lightweight, too, at 5.4 pounds (2.4 kg). But pick it up and start using it and its looks start to tarnish.
Flexible, but not in a good way
In general, I don't get too hung up on whether a laptop lid or chassis is a little too flexible. When I call it out in a review, such as with the LG Gram, it's usually because it was particularly noticeable during use, and that's the case here. Just while typing I could feel the keyboard deck giving under pressure from my palms. And when I picked up the laptop with the screen open and my hand wrapped around the back, my fingers pressed into the bottom of the lid causing the screen to bend in.
The bending has no bearing on the performance of the system, but if I'm paying $2,300 for a laptop, it shouldn't bend and flex like that. It speaks to the overall perceived quality of the laptop and with the 4K display being a chunk of what you're paying for here, maybe the lid should be reinforced so as to not bend so easily. I mean, aluminum chassis are nice, but I'd rather have plastic if it means protecting the screen and components and delivering a more comfortable experience.
Also, because of how thin the laptop is -- only 0.8 inch or 20.3 mm -- there isn't much space for airflow to keep its components cool. As soon as you launch a game or do anything else demanding, the Stealth Pro's fans kick in. The fan noise is noticeable, and if you're using the system's speakers, you'll have to crank the audio to hear clearly over the sound.
Unfortunately, you might not like what you hear once you crank the speakers. They aren't the worst I've heard recently (that honor goes to the Asus ROG G752VS), but music sounds thin and hollow. Even after tweaking the included Nahimic 2 audio software, I couldn't get music or movies to sound particularly good. However, when using the game-type-specific presets, audio did sound better with games. Still, you'll probably want to invest in a good headset or external speakers.