MSI GS70 2QE Stealth Pro Red Edition – Keyboard and Trackpad
MSI usually relies on SteelSeries for its keyboards, and we can see why. There’s no give in the keyboard’s base, and the action is better than most Scrabble-tile units: the keys feel substantial, with more weight than those on most other gaming notebooks, and that solid feel is paired with a consistent action and reasonable travel.
The GS70’s high quality matches the GS60, which also had a SteelSeries unit. It’s a better bet than the Aorus’s squashy keys, and it squeezes ahead of the P35X.
As ever, this isn’t as good as a proper mechanical keyboard, and that’s not our only qualm. There’s no need for a single-height Return key on a machine of this size, and we don’t like the Windows key’s position on the right-hand side. The cursor keys are full-size, but they’re not set apart from the rest of the keys, so they could be tricky to hit during frantic moments.
The backlighting is an acquired taste. By default it’s multi-coloured, but the SteelSeries Engine tool can alter the colours and patterns deployed – waving and breathing options are available. The Engine app can also set up macros.
The trackpad is unremarkable. It’s got snappy buttons and a responsive surface, but a dedicated mouse is always better.
Other things to consider
MSI offers several applications to make life easier. The SteelSeries Engine utility controls the keyboard’s lights and macros, and the Shift tool clocks the hardware up or down depending on the mode – Sport, Comfort or Green. There’s the Soundblaster tool for the speakers, too.
Many options lurk inside MSI’s Dragon Gaming Centre. The System Monitoring tool provides usage statistics for the major hardware as well as temperatures, network speeds and mode indicators. The Utility screen launches MSI’s other apps.
Should I Buy the MSI GS70 2QE Stealth Pro Red Edition?
MSI’s latest laptop impresses in several key departments. Its GTX 970M is one of the more powerful mobile cores we’ve seen, and it’s bolstered by lots of memory, great storage and a bright, rich screen. It’s got punchy speakers, and an excellent keyboard.
Its main competition comes from the similarly-priced Gigabyte – and the P35X is better in one crucial department. That machine’s GTX 980M has much more power from more cores and 8GB of memory, although it does fall behind in several other departments including heat, noise and ergonomics.
They’re the two most impressive gaming notebooks we’ve seen recently, and it’s a two-horse race. Gigabyte’s machine is the better bet for absolute gaming power, but the GS70’s ample gaming grunt, improved ergonomics and well-balanced specification mean it’s our new favourite.
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MSI’s machine doesn’t have the raw power of the Gigabyte, but its GTX 970M is still an exceptional GPU – and it’s backed up by strong components elsewhere, a great keyboard and reasonable thermal performance. It’s expensive, but the Stealth Pro is a well-balanced machine that excels in several key areas. If you’ve got the cash, this red-hot notebook is an excellent gaming portable.
Score in detail
Screen Quality 8
Build Quality 9
Heat & Noise 6
Battery Life 5