With the MSI GF65 Thin 10UE-014UK, MSI has at long last updated its leading gaming line of laptops to elite status, packing the absolute best of technology and a timeless design. The result is a sleek, thin and portable 15-inch laptop that easily passes for a 14-inch device that sees through high-end gaming as well as intensive productivity work.
The MSI GF65 Thin gaming laptop brings immense power in an understated yet attractive package unlike never before, earning our coveted Editor’s Choice award. But we simply like it so much that we’ve listed it as one of our best gaming laptops of 2021.
MSI GF65 design
MSI has thankfully gone for a different direction with the look and feel of its flagship thin-and-light gaming laptop, sticking to a device with far wider appeal. It doesn’t come with stark angles or red LEDs all over the chassis – rather, a sleek, all-black device with a red MSI logo on the lid.
As for how the laptop feels, the GF65 Thin weighs just 1.8 kgs and measures 2.17 cm at its thickest edge. The laptop fits just fine in a backpack and won’t weigh you down, which is impressive considering MSI would have decided to go even thinner and lighter but opted for an Ethernet port and at least eight hours of battery life.
While the MSI GF65 Thin’s frame is definitely thin, it still has plenty of ports. On the right sists a pair of USB 3.1 ports, two USB-C ports, headphone jack, Ethernet port and a Kensington port. The left side has a US 2.0 port and an AC adapter input.
On the MSI GF65, 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.
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 GF63, 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.
MSI GF65 Thin 10UE-014UK performance
Of course, the main driver behind the purchase of a gaming laptop is how best it holds on when the going gets tough. The H-Series Intel core i7 processors, paired with that Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, make quick of everything you’d throw at the GF65 Thin.
Additionally, the 16GB RAM and 1TB NVMe PCIe storage are an overkill for gamers and creative professionals who need something capable for gaming and professional media creation.
Gaming and Graphics
The system holds its own well on modern titles including, Doom (2016), Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales and World of Warcraft, and the MSI GF65 Thin 10UE-014UK runs each one at Ultra graphical settings at 1080p resolution, often with 100+ frames-per-second frame rates.
Luckily for those looking for a capable gamer, the specs translate incredibly well to real-world performance. For instance, Metro Exodus, a graphically demanding game, runs at an average 63 on Ultra settings, which is more than enough to enjoy the game with a butter-smooth gaming experience.
Then there are the usual Nvidia RTX benefits to consider, this being a GeForce RTX 3060 (6GB) graphics card. The overclockable RTX 3060 is a capable card, and with ray tracing effects being available in supported games to boast your experience, your gaming is enhanced. Also, you’re also getting the benefit of DLSS support, so with the help of machine learning AI, you’re assured of improved graphics without worrying about the impact on actual gaming experience.
Unless this is your first gaming laptop, you should be well aware that almost none of these devices carry decent battery life. That said, these thin and light models have turned around that assumption, and there’s room to grow – and the Asus Zephyrus are good examples.
Our review model promises up to eight hours on a single charge, but real-life use doesn’t come very close to that figure. However, lasting 5 hours 13 minutes on typical use is not too bad for a gaming laptop – and one this thin.
The MSI GF65 Thin is certainly one of the most impressive RTX 3060 gaming laptops we’ve reviewed to date. The laptop meets or outclasses its most performant competitors and undoubtedly trounces them all in terms of design and performance.
That said, we wish a few more niceties given the price, like USB-C support for Thunderbolt, DisplayPort, or Power Delivery; and the laptop delivers below-par CPU and GPU performance unless Cooler Boost is activated.
All told, for the price, the MSI GF65 Thin 10UE-014UK is one of the best gaming laptops you can buy today. While you’ll have to do with some compromises in audio, and there’s no biometric login available yet, those are small conceits to make for an otherwise stellar laptop you can confidently take into work, college or your next gaming session.