This gaming laptop sports some impressive hardware and comes with a cooling solution that you would struggle to describe as stealthy.
Over the past few months, I've had the opportunity to review a few different MSI laptops. Be it the Crosshair or the Katana, I've got to experience different, clearly gaming focussed machines, which is what makes today's device all the more exciting. Because while there's no denying that the hardware inside the chassis makes this a gaming laptop through and through, the appearance and features of the MSI Stealth GS66 allow the laptop to shine as more of a broadly focussed machine. But before I get into why this is the case, let's talk tech specifics.
The Stealth GS66 that I had the luxury of testing came with some great hardware that you could argue was limited by this unit's display. Under the hood, it packed a 12th Gen Intel i9-12900H CPU, alongside a GeForce RTX 3070 Ti graphics card, all of which was bolstered by 32GBs of RAM. Essentially, for modern gaming standards, this line-up will allow you to run most games at top (or very near to top) graphical fidelity, and still get solid, somewhat fluid frame rates, or alternatively, offer incredibly smooth, high frame rate gameplay at lower resolutions. But that is in theory, as this Stealth GS66 featured a 3840x2160p (4K) display that was limited to a maximum of a 120z refresh rate, meaning it has been built for 4K gameplay predominantly, with the option to slightly favour performance.
And I say this because the hardware inside the Stealth GS66 could allow the system to play games at higher than 120fps, if you so much as desired to, even if the display doesn't accommodate for such a thing. There are options to get a frame rate focussed display on this system, and in my eyes, the best option would be the 2560x1440p (2K) one that clocks in at 240Hz, as that gives you a bit of both worlds. I will say though, if you want top visuals first and foremost, I found that the 4K display could deliver 60fps gameplay to be able to comfortably and properly experience the best games. And it should be noted that since this is a 4K display, you do get very vibrant and crisp visuals, which work to truly bring to life the wonderful worlds of video games, or eye-catching set pieces in movies and TV.
Which brings me back to my point earlier, about the Stealth GS66 being an ideal machine for a broader focus. Between the arguably visuals-first display, and the 99.9Whr battery that will ensure you have plenty of battery to play around with over lengthy charge-less stints, this laptop can do anything that a productivity focussed machine can do, and do it well. The 15.6" display gives you plenty of room to have multiple tabs/applications open, and the wide SteelSeries produced keyboard and large trackpad makes it easy to type and work on the Stealth GS66, something that is only elevated by its rather thin profile (for a gaming laptop) and subtle design, which doesn't draw too much attention.
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There are some 'gamery' elements of course, including multi-coloured backlighting for the keys, which does seem a little off-brand when considering the otherwise completely blacked-out chassis, but these can be customised to something more subtle, thankfully. Also, the various available ports (including a Wi-Fi 6 enabled ethernet port) are more typical on bulkier gaming laptops than regular laptops these days, but this is hardly going to be the first thing someone notices on this device. No, that would be the noise it makes instead.
Between the backlit keys, plus the combination of the consistently noticeable cooling solution and the speaker system provided by Dynaudio, to call this laptop "Stealth" must've been a bit of a joke among the MSI developers. Because this is a loud laptop. Very loud. While that is a bonus when looking at the speakers, which use a front-firing speaker set to produce incredibly crisp and loud audio, it's less of a bonus when talking about its fan noise. The Cooler Boost Trinity+ system does work to keep the Stealth GS66 cool at all costs, which makes for better quality gaming, but you'll need to either have the speakers blasting audio at near deafening levels or use a capable noise cancelling headset, if you don't want to be overwhelmed by the racket the fans make. And if you think the base level of fan noise is a lot, enabling the turbo fan mode with a click of a button will make you think you're standing behind the engine of a Boeing 747.
So, it's a bit of a weird dynamic that the Stealth GS66 finds itself in. One on hand, this is a very capable device for both gaming and productivity all with a subtle design and appearance, and yet on the other hand, some core features, including the cooling solution and speaker system, make it seem like this device wants you to be aware of its presence. Either way, despite its flaws, there is no denying that this is a very capable computer, even if (like a lot of PC gaming hardware and gaming laptops these days) it will cost you an arm and a leg to get one with the same hardware under the hood.
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8 / 10
Packed with top hardware. Great, crisp display. Subtle design. Broad connectivity. Huge battery.
Cooling solution has a very noticeable ambient hum as if it wants you to know it's always working. Strange choice of backlit key options.