MSI GE73 VR Raider Gaming Laptop: Full, in-depth review
Back in black (and red)
- Solid performance
- Cooling solution works wonders
- Display looks great, minimal tearing
- Screen-size hurts portability
- Touchpad sometimes unresponsive
- Battery life as short as you expect
The GE73 VR Raider doesn’t really break away from the usual MSI formula but when the results are as good as they are, it’s hard to complain.
In terms of specs, the MSI GE73 VR Raider comes with a 17.3-inch FullHD Display (upgradable to UHD) with a 120Hz/3ms refresh-rate, a 7th-generation Intel Core i7 7700HQ processor, Nvidia GTX 1070 8GB GDDR5 graphics card, 16GB of DDR4 RAM and both 256GB SSD and 1TB HDD to keep things fresh.
In terms of ports, the GE73 VR Raider has two 3.5mm audio jacks, three USB ports and a single ethernet, USB-C, DisplayPort and HDMI outputs. It’s also packing a SteelSeries per-key-RGB mechanical gaming keyboard and integrated Dynaudio speakers with support for Hi-Res audio - both of which can be customized using the various firmware tools that come preloaded on the PC.
Last but not least, you’ve got MSI’s own Cooler Boost 5 to keep things chugging along without a sweat.This too, can be customized to allow for some degree of under or overclocking.
MSI have gone all on on a pretty angular design with the GE73. The marketing around the product tries to evoking the idea, or the least the imagery, of a high-end racing car. However, it feels like the resonance of this endeavor might vary from person to person. Still, squint and you can kind-of see it for yourself.
Even if racing cars aren’t your thing, it’s refreshing to have a gaming laptop draw from influences outside of the usual generic “glowy-metal-sci-fi-death-machine”.
The size of the screen takes an inevitable toll on the portability of the GE73, but it feels about as light as something with a screen this big could be. It isn’t as bulky as most gaming laptops, but it is wide enough to present some challenges when storing it away in a bag. Regardless, the form-factor feels pretty secondary to the performance here.
Not that that’s something worth holding against the GE73 VR Raider. With the specs in mind, it doesn’t feel any heavier than it needs to be. It’s not quite the kind of laptop you’d want to carry around everyday but more like one you’d want to bring with you for a weekend LAN party or keep at home as an alternative to a desktop.
It helps that the product’s exterior specs live up to their potential. In action, the 120Hz display looks as crisp as you’d expect (though sometimes a little dim) and the Dynaudio speakers do a great job of giving gaming experiences that extra “oomph”. The support for Hi-Res audio (and potentially 4K, if you pay for that UHD display) is also a nice bonus too.
The keyboard could stand to be a little more click-y but it's tactile enough for the most part. It doesn't quite match what you'll get out of a full-blown mechanicals but it's better than the mesh-based inputs you'll find in other gaming laptops.
Some laptops are often clearly designed as complementary products. They aren’t quite pitched as products that replace your existing home PC but instead ones that fit into the parts of your life that desktop can’t service. For better or worse, the MSI GE73 VR Raider is not one of those kinds of laptops.
It’s the kind of gaming laptop you buy if you want to do away with the hassle of setting up a big PC and monitor. Sometimes you just want a gaming computer that lets you set up and go in minutes. The GE73 VR Raider fits the mold nicely.
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