Our Early Verdict
We know less about this gaming laptop than we’d like, but we’re hugely impressed by the lighting offering on this laptop, especially considering its esports and immersion implications. The GE63 Raider RGB could easily become a weapon of choice for pro gamers.
- Striking, functional lighting
- Gorgeous optional 4K screen
- Excellent keyboard
- Left-aligned touchpad isn’t ideal
For CES 2018, we tested a new MSI gaming laptop that offers a unique-enough feature so as to sell us on the genuine benefits of such a device: RGB lighting for days. Call us shallow, but it’s a trick that works, especially lighting that works in tandem with fan favorite games through SteelSeries GameSense software.
The just-announced MSI GE63 Raider RGB Edition is paired with an optional 15.6-inch 4K display, up to GTX 1070 graphics, and an Intel Core i7 processor (which generation MSI isn’t saying just yet). It’s clearly aiming to be the weapon of choice for esports players.
Beyond that, this laptop promises a more gripping gaming experience in supported games with the prospect of gaming sans heads-up display (HUD).
Price and availability
MSI isn’t saying much about the price of its attractive new gaming laptop, but has detailed some of the hardware options that will be available, and that it will launch in the second quarter of this year. (So, between April and June.)
In addition to the optional 4K Ultra HD display, the laptop will house that undisclosed Intel Core i7 processor, either GTX 1060 or 1070 graphics and up to 32GB of RAM. Storage capacities aren’t final yet, either.
Clearly, MSI was more worried about the core conceits of the device than necessarily its power profile, and rightly so. For this laptop’s target audience, esports players and otherwise competitive PC gamers, GTX 1060 graphics are more than enough.
Design and feel
Luckily, that core conceit already looks to be an incredible selling point for this gaming laptop. The MSI GE63 Raider RGB Edition appears to be nigh identical to the previous GE63VR Raider we reviewed late last year, so about 1.08-inches (2.74cm) thick and 4.85-pounds (2.20kg) heavy.
Of course, now this gaming laptop is lathered in full RGB lighting capable of producing 24 million different colors across 12 zones, including the USB ports. Yes, light-up USB ports.
This lighting system is powered by SteelSeries’s own GameSense software, which both manages RGB lighting profiles and can create lighting effects across the laptop based on supported games’ in-game events.
Image 1 of 6
Image 2 of 6
Image 3 of 6
Image 4 of 6
Image 5 of 6
Image 6 of 6
Losing health in Counter Strike: GO? You can program a section of the keyboard to simulate a health bar that will dip as your in-game health does. The same can be done for ammunition, team goals and more.
And, this is just the beginning. As GameSense gains support for more games, the GE63 Raider RGB will be only that much more versatile, promoting a HUD-less gaming environment.
Pair that with the beautiful, vibrant 4K display, and you’re looking at that much more enrapturing gaming sessions from the laptop.
It’s tough to say too much of anything about this laptop’s performance knowing so little. But, with up to GTX 1070 graphics, we can expect the laptop to be able to handle 4K resolution in lower-end games, and likely around QHD+ (2,560 x 1,440) in AAA games.
The keyboard included in the laptop was developed in tandem with SteelSeries, so expect deep travel and forceful feedback, not to mention advantageous lighting options. The touchpad feels just fine for general use, though we’d much rather see a click pad for interacting rather than buttons.
As for capabilities, the laptop includes two USB 3.1 ports, one USB-C 3.1 port, HDMI-out, a DisplayPort, an Ethernet port and dual audio jacks. Naturally, MSI isn’t really talking battery life at the moment.
While we know less about this gaming laptop than we’d like, we’re hugely impressed by the lighting offering on this laptop, especially considering its esports and immersion implications. The GE63 Raider RGB could easily become a weapon of choice for pro gamers.
However, the lighting is also huge for gamers that hate HUDs in their video games detracting from the lush visuals.
While we’ll reserve full judgment for a full review, the MSI GE63 Raider RGB appears to embody what should make gaming laptops unique and, frankly, worth your money. Stay tuned for that full review later this year.
What is a hands on review?
‘Hands on reviews’ are a journalist’s first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it’s like to use, even if it’s only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar’s Reviews Guarantee.