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Disclaimer: MSI directly paid for a large portion of this trip, however, this has not impacted any opinions I have formed about the event or products itself.

Last week, MSI flew me up to Sydney to attend the product launch for their laptops that are using Nvidia’s newest 40 series of graphics cards, and Intels 13th Gen CPUs. 

The three main areas of focus for this launch were MSI’s various Gaming Ranges like their newly announced Cyborg series, the Creator Z series for content creators, and their sleek form factored business ranges, like the Prestige series.
Written about 36,000 feet in the air, somewhere between Sydney and Tullamarine, here are a few of my key takeaways from the event.

image via MSI – ‘Raider’ series

The thing that amazed me the most was their Matrix lightbar, a full-width RGB Led LightBar, that is 3 massive LEDs tall and only available on their Raider range of gaming laptops. This made for some very bright RGB. Over the top? unnecessary? Yes to both, but still cool. Being the magpie I am, it’s the main thing I continued to return to when doing the rounds at the event. I can’t see this having much practical purpose, but as a ridiculous accessory, I can appreciate it, even if I would turn it off 90% of the time.

it is cool though

MSI also showed off their Creator Z range of laptops, which boasted a bigger focus on CPU performance, as opposed to their GPU-focused gaming laptops. I have to say, the screens on these creator machines were very impressive. Vibrant colours and intense brightness really made it feel like a premium product.

Image via MSI

Additionally, there’s also a business range of laptops. Most of them felt a little overkill as a daily driver for folks that might just be using it for Emails + Conference calls, but considering how a hog Google Chrome can be, I’m sure they’ll find a market for these windows based, middle-spec, clean form-factor machines. Some of the key features of this range are physical webcam covers and extended battery life, which is clearly not a priority when designing the Matrix lightbar in the gaming range.

The most significant overall change that MSI is really pushing this year is their new style of screen, with many of their laptops adopting the largely uncommon aspect ratio(replace this word) of 16:10. This did catch me by surprise as, unlike something like 1440p resolution displays, which is usually a resolution that only enthusiasts really appreciate, 16:10 is not something I hear about often. A representative of MSI did mention that while not many games natively support it right now, they believe it will become a more mainstream option in gaming.

image via MSI

The final thing that MSI really wanted to showcase was their translucent keycaps. In some of the laptops in the gaming range, the WASD, Arrow Keys, and power button will be translucent. According to MSI, this will allow the keys that are most used in a gaming setting, to be more immediately findable, but I felt like this problem was already fixed with an RGB backlit keyboard that dims keys that aren’t used. Maybe the biggest misfire in this department, however, is that they just don’t really look that cool. For something that’s meant to feel somewhat Gaming Focused, it felt cheap.

Gaming laptops are in an interesting place. The higher spec they are, the shorter the battery life tends to be, making them closer to a tower-PC that you can take to places. They’re always far less customisable than their stationary counterparts, more expensive, and with fewer upgrade options, they can quickly become out of date. But, with 13th Gen Intel CPUs and 40 series Nvidia Graphics inside, does that really matter? Ray-tracing notwithstanding, we’re not going to be bottlenecked by hardware this powerful for quite some time, and that’s a boon for MSI.

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Managing Editor of MiniMap. Contact me: Jeremy(at)minimap.com.au