Build and Design: 9/10
It’s the sheer bulk of this beast that hits you. It’s legitimately huge. It is a 17-inch device, and you’d expect it to be big, but it’s easily double the thickness of any gaming laptop I’ve seen in a long time. Only Dell’s Alienware 17 comes close.
That bulk also had me excited however, as this means that thermal performance shouldn’t be an issue. As it turns out, it wasn’t.
The power brick is also a monster in its own right, given that it has to pump 330W of power into this beast. The power connector also looks like something straight out of Frankenstein.
The upper surface of the lid and the area that houses the keyboard and trackpad appears to be made from brushed aluminum. Most of the rest of the device seems to be made from sturdy plastic.
I say sturdy because there’s barely any flex to be found. In fact, the screen is quite solid and I was surprised at the lack of significant flex in a screen this size.
The entire underbody is a single, massive air intake, as is the rear. The sides vent the hot air out, the left from the CPU and the right from the GPU.
Interestingly, even the MSI logo on the lid, which glows by the way, is protected by Gorilla Glass. This certainly is a sturdy device.
The hinge does wobble a little every time you adjust it, but that’s just a minor complaint.
Keyboard and Trackpad: 8.5/10
The keyboard is made by SteelSeries and features RGB lighting. These aren’t mechanical keys, but they’re among the best non-mechanical keys I’ve used. As someone who uses mehcanical keys on a daily basis, I find the keys to be lacking slightly in terms of feedback, but that’s just me.
The keys don’t wobble much, I can press the edge of the space bar and the whole thing goes down with little hesitation and the backlight is rather good.
The height of the laptop also means that the laptop is a little easier to type on. Key response was excellent and I never missed a keystroke.
The touchpad is also very good and comes with RGB accents. It’s not the very best trackpad I’ve used — I think it could use a textured surface — but it’s precise, tracks perfectly and responds instantly. Windows’ gestures are also supported.
If you’re looking for the best hardware laptop that money can buy, the GT73 delivers in spades. Inside, you get an Intel Core i7 7820HK CPU (2.9GHz – 3.9GHz, unlocked), 32GB of 2.4GHz DDR4 RAM, two 256GB NVMe SSDs in RAID 0 and a 7,200 RPM 1TB HDD for storage. The best part? You get a desktop-grade Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 with 8GB of GDDR5X of memory. Yes, the 1080, Nvidia’s most powerful consumer-grade GPU till just a little while ago.
If that isn’t enough to make you drool at the mouth, there’s more. In terms of connectivity, you get five USB 3.0 ports, one USB 3.1 Type-C port with Thunderbolt, four audio jacks, an ethernet port, a mini-DP, HDMI-out and an SD card slot. It goes without saying that the laptop supports Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac on dual-band.
The speakers are by Dynaudio and there’s also an ESS Sabre HiFi DAC in-built.
The software is also great. The MSI Dragon Centre gives you full access to system controls, including keyboard lighting, fan speeds, volume control, etc. You can also overclock the CPU and GPU directly from within the control centre. Better yet, you can hook up your phone to the laptop via Wi-Fi and control everything from there as well. Android and iOS are both supported.
X-Split gamecaster comes bundled with the device, you also get a 1-year license. Hell, there’s even a dedicated key for it on the laptop.
Another interesting piece of software is the Nahimic app. It’s a kind of software equaliser, which is nothing new, but it’s got an interesting sound tracking feature. When enabled, the you get a little pointer that points to the direction of an audio source.