Our review unit, the MSI GF63 Thin 9SC-614 makes the portable, thin-and-light gaming laptop category more accessible than ever before, especially for those shopping on a budget.
- Slick, lightweight design.
- Graphics capabilities in line with other laptops in its class.
- Aggressive pricing
- Lackluster battery life
The MSI GF63 Thin 9SC-614 is pretty much a likeable gaming laptop in every way, with a sleek design and the performance of a quattro car to match. However, its most appealing factor is price – and that’s where this 15-inch MSI GF63 comes in to shine over competitors.
Sporting an almost identical classy aesthetic, a nearly bezel-less display and impressive specs as the MSI GF63 Thin 9SC-066, the Thin 9SC-614 is an ultra-slim machine designed for gamers and professional creatives on a budget.
If you admired the MSI GS65 Stealth Thin’s design but wouldn’t crack the price, then you have every reason to look at the MSI GF63 Thin. Our review unit is practically a carbon copy of the GS65 Stealth, and that’s perfectly fine with us because that gaming laptop is a brilliant piece of design. Like its high-end sibling, this gaming notebook features a 82% screen-to-body ratio with bezels just 4.9mm, that’s to say, you have a 15.6-inch display in a 14-inch frame.
Similarly, both laptops share an identical layout of body lines as well as keyboard and trackpad placement. The only way you can tell them apart, at least visually, is that the MSI GF63 carries a bold gamer black with red color trim while last year’s model was a bit tame in colors.
Most of the chassis is made of metal, except the bottom panel that’s a mixture of plastic and metal – MSI claims that this approach gives the system some variance in feel and look. Altogether, the MSI GF63 Thin 9SC-614 feels like a medley of MSI’s current flagship and the outgoing MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro from last year.
The MSI GF63 has almost all the USB ports you’d need to connect all of your devices and peripherals. The left side holds a USB 3.2 Type-A port, next to a central power input. The right side has two more USB 3.2 ports, a USB Type-C port (doesn’t support Thunderbolt 3). Other ports include an Ethernet port for wired internet connections and separate mic and headphone jacks, in case you want to connect a professional microphone. For video connectivity, in addition to the USB-C port, you have an HDMI port for connecting to external displays.
On the MSI GF6, you have a detailed 15.6-inch, 1080p display but I only wish it were brighter and more colorful. When watching BBC’s Seven World’s One Planet, all scenes are clear and rich but the scenes it’s a bit hard to make out dark scenes. On a positive note, the picture looked sharp and crisp when viewing the Africa trailer. MSI manages to achieve an 82% screen-to-body ratio with bezels that are just 4.9mm wide, and that’s impressive.
Even still, MSI maintains a normal webcam position with a decent resolution of 720p, but back to that screen. However, there are no Windows Hello facial recognition technology built into the webcam, but with the screen refreshing at 60Hz and in-plane switching (IPS) technology, this screen makes modern games like Warhammer: Vermintide 2 look simply sublime, with little to no screen tearing when whipping around corners.
Keyboard & Touchpad
Among the gaming laptops we’ve reviewed, MSI always has the best keyboard. The SteelSeries keyboard’s feedback is excellent, and key travel is awesome with a comfortable feel. It is the same keyboard in the GF62, which we applauded for less key noise and sturdy build.
That said, MSI offers the gamer friendly keyboards for laptops, and continue to extend them even to the budget lines. The only thing holding them back is lack of RGB lighting and the mean aesthetic of using red paint on the sides of the keys. The entire theme is limited to red color, which may not be what we all want. While we have a surprisingly robust keyboard for the price, the touchpad is a different story altogether. Measuring 10.8 by 6 cm, it is small for my liking.
It uses a smooth plastic, just like the rest of the keyboard deck, and looks decent enough. Response is fairly good, without cursor skips even with rapid gestures and the two buttons at the bottom have the same stiff feel as that found in its predecessor. Nevertheless, it feels cheap and you might be left wondering if they really wanted to have it in the system or it was an afterthought.
Our MSI GF63 Thin 9SC-614 review unit comes with some serious power for the price. The source of its excellent performance is an Intel Core i5-9300H CPU, 512GB SSD and 16GB of RAM. Thanks to those midrange components, the GF63 won’t break a sweat when you load a dozen Chrome browser tabs, four of which playing 1080p YouTube videos while two stream HD Twitch streams. If you need something for media creation like video/image editing when not playing, this notebook looks like is a perfect choice.
While it won’t beat a budget gaming desktop in performance, MSI’s GF63 Thin 9SC-614 comes closer to every other laptop in its price range – and surpasses some more pricier gaming desktops in performance. Its real-world gaming scores are impressive, thanks to Nvidia’s GeForce 1650 graphics card with 4GB DDR5.
Gaming & Graphics
Playing Overwatch on high settings at 1080p yields a consistent 136FPS throughout. Graphic intensive modern titles like Far Cry 5 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider will prove to be a little more of a challenge for the machine, scoring 51 and 47 FPS respectively at 1080p high settings. You might want to lower few settings for games like these, but the rest of your older gaming library can be played at 1080p with 60 FPS or higher.
It won’t give you a glorious 60 FPS on those new titles like Assassin´s Creed Odyssey, but the GF63 does a great enough job considering the price point. If you don’t mind adjusting a few graphic settings or playing at 720p, this laptop provides more than enough power for casual gaming.
Going cheaper than this would likely mean integrated graphics where you’d have to kiss any kind of playable framerate goodbye on those modern games. On the other hand, if your pocket allows, going higher than this price point will get you better performance on modern titles, more storage, double the memory and even more premium looks. We’re looking at something like the MSI GF63 Thin 9SC-066 with a 144Hz refresh rate, an intel Core i7-8750H CPU, 16GB RAM and Nvidia’s flagship GTX 1650 graphics card.
The MSI GF63 Thin 9SC-614 is one of the more portable gaming notebooks we’ve reviewed. MSI manages to pack quite a bit of firepower in a machine that weighs as little as 4.10 lbs. Unfortunately, this lightweight profile does come with a couple of caveats. A light laptop usually means a smaller battery, and in this case, a 3-cell (51Wh) battery that’s only good for about 4-5 hours.
Battery life aside, the MSI GF63 stacks nicely as a value machine for school, work and play. In addition to a lightweight design, this notebook includes all the essential ports you’d need on a daily basis.
Our review unit, the MSI 9SC-614 makes the portable, thin-and-light gaming laptop category more accessible than ever before, especially for those shopping on a budget. It stacks nicely as a value machine for school, work and play. In addition to a lightweight design, this notebook includes all the essential ports you’d need on a daily basis and the power to play modern games, edit images and videos all that while remaining very affordable.
If you need more power, our Editors’ Choice for midrange gaming laptops the Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH315-52-78VL) is a good option if you’re going to spend around $1,000 on a gaming rig. It has better specs than the GF63, weighs slightly more, but it has a better display, the latest processor, a better GPU and a more premium design.
Overall, the MSI GF63 Thin 9SC-614 is a decent laptop for folks who want strong performance and a dedicated GPU for casual gaming, but can’t nab a better alternative than can serve the same purpose at this price point.
MSI GF63 Thin 9SC-614 15.6" Gaming Laptop, Intel Core i5-9300H, NVIDIA GTX 1650, 8GB, 512GB NVMe SSD, Win10
1 used from $1,499.77