MSI GS65 Stealth 8SF Review: Who Said Performance Can’t Come Sleek?

My biggest complaint with most gaming laptops is the simple fact that they are, for the most part, either too bulky and heavy to lug around everyday to and from work (and around the office), or they are sleek, but not powerful enough to actually play games the way I want to play them. I mean, I’d rather not play Battlefield V on low graphics. However, the MSI GS65 Stealth 8SF is a laptop that lives up to its name. I’ve been using the MSI GS65 for a while now, and if you’re planning on spending your money on this laptop, here’s what you need to know.

MSI GS65 Stealth: Specifications

Processor8th-gen Core i7-8750H
GPUNvidia RTX 2070 MaxQ
Storage512GB SSD
Display15.6-inch FullHD IPS Display (144Hz)
I/O1x Type-C (USB3.1 Gen2 / DP / Thunderbolt™3)
3x Type-A USB3.1
1x RJ45
1x (4K @ 60Hz) HDMI
1x Mini-DisplayPort
ConnectivityKiller Gb LAN
Killer ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth v5
PriceRs. 2,09,990

MSI GS65 Stealth: Design and Build

Clearly, the MSI GS65 has impressive specs, but even if you were to abandon the age old adage and judge this proverbial book by its cover, it’s still a mighty impressive and attractive book, so to speak.

For starters, MSI has gone with an understated design on the GS65 Stealth; it comes in all black, with gold accents used in a subtle, yet exciting ways. There’s the MSI logo on the lid, and that’s the only decoration adorning the otherwise matte-ish black lid on the laptop. The chamfered edges of the lid are, once again, golden in color.

msi logo picture

Inside, the MSI GS65 Stealth maintains its stealthy black aesthetic with minimal bezels, MSI written in black, the keyboard with per-key RGB lighting, and an ultra-wide trackpad. The power button is set up-top and dead center, and is once again, outlined in gold. The entire look and feel of the laptop is decidedly classy, ruined only partially by the ginormous sticker on the palm rest. Then again, that’s something you can remove, so I’m not going to deduct points for that.

msi gs65 stealth power button

msi gs65 stealth sticker

Over all, as far as the design and build of the GS65 Stealth are concerned, this is definitely a very ‘MSI’ looking laptop, but thanks to its understated design language, and the lack of flashy RGB lighting on the body, it does fit in very well in an office setting. Although your office might be more office-y than mine, so your mileage may vary.

MSI GS65 Stealth: Display

The MSI GS65 comes with a 15.6-inch FullHD display, and it looks great. It’s sharp, the viewing angles are great (although there is a definite drop in brightness at wider angles, but it’s not too drastic), and everything on this panel looks bright and vibrant, but not to the point where it feels unnatural.

msi gs65 stealth display 1

There’s also a matte coating on the display here, and while some people at work don’t really like a matte coating since it makes the display slightly less bright than it would be if it were glossy, I understand the need for something like this. Especially because when I’m at work and using this laptop at my desk, I’m not annoyed by lights behind me causing glares on the screen – that’s an issue I face quite often on my MacBook Pro which does have a glossy panel (and yes, it does get brighter than this).

msi gs65 stealth display 2

More importantly for gamers though, MSI is using a 144Hz display on the GS65, which means you can expect less motion blurring in fast paced games, which is great for anyone who likes to play a lot of FPS games. If you’re more into strategy games though, this might not be such a big deal to you, but it’s still nice to have.

The GS65’s display is definitely pretty impressive, and I don’t really have any complaints with it. Even though MSI calls the color accuracy “close to 100% sRGB” I don’t think it’ll make any difference in your usage or during games, unless you’re using the laptop for pro-level color-grading stuff, or if you know exactly what you’re looking for in the display.

msi gs65 stealth display 3

My only complaint with this display, is one I have with almost every gaming laptop out there, including the Alienware Area 51m that I recently reviewed – the bezels may be thin, Once again, I’m assuming that’s because of the display controller and stuff, but it looks kind of weird. Still, that’s not something I would take points off for.

msi gs65 stealth bottom bezel

MSI GS65 Stealth: Performance

Ruining the iconic moment for every Spider-Man fan ever, let me say this about the MSI GS65: “With great specs, comes great power,” and the MSI GS65 doesn’t care about responsibility when it comes to exerting that power to the best of its capabilities when you’re pushing it to the limits. I mean that in a good way. The performance on this laptop is pretty damn amazing, as you’d expect from something that packs in the hardware this thing is packing.

Still, one fact that’s important to keep in mind here, is that the GS65 Stealth is a thin laptop, and it uses the Max-Q architecture RTX 2070, so the graphical performance on this won’t be as good as something you’d get in a laptop with a full-fledged RTX 2070. That said, let’s take a look at what this laptop can do.

Synthetic Benchmarks

Starting off with benchmarks, I obviously put this laptop through all the usual benchmarks I put every other gaming laptop through, and it performed remarkably well.

In 3D Mark Time Spy, the GS65 Stealth scored an impressive 6259 points, whereas in PCMark 10, the laptop scored 5029.

I also put it through Geekbench, and Cinemabench R20, and the laptop scored 2330cb in the Cinemabench CPU test, and scored 4938 and 20260 points in the Geekbench single core and multi-core tests respectively. That’s quite impressive for a laptop this thin.

Real World Performance

If the benchmarks didn’t make this plenty clear, the MSI GS65 Stealth can absolutely go through usual day to day tasks as if they were a walk in the park. Multi-tasking is awesome thanks to the 8th-gen Core i7 and the 16GB of RAM that’s on board here, and even with multiple Chrome tabs open along with Steam and Origin running in the background, the laptop never seems to freeze or even drop frames in Windows’ transition animations. It’s pretty impressive.

In games, I tried playing PUBG and Far Cry 5 on this laptop, and as you might expect, it was an amazing experience. Keeping the settings set to what the game automatically selected on first start (which was a mix of Ultra and High settings), the game was running smoothly at well over 90 to 100 FPS. Still, if you use a smoke grenade, the frame rate did drop down to the 70-80 range, but that’s still pretty impressive. I also set the graphics to Ultra, and the game still performed exactly the same, so that’s pretty great. Basically, if you’re a PUBG player, you can easily play at over 90FPS on this laptop.

I don’t think any of you will ever switch PUBG’s graphics to low on this laptop, but just for the sake of it, I tried doing that, and the laptop went up to 120-130 FPS with that setting. Clearly, the gains aren’t enough to offset the graphical loss there, and 90+ FPS is pretty great anyway, so I’d suggest you stick to Ultra in PUBG.

Over all, as far as the performance is considered, the MSI GS65 Stealth doesn’t leave a lot to be desired. It can handle all the games you might want to play, and it can handle them really, amazingly well.

MSI GS65 Stealth: Keyboard and Trackpad

Moving on, the keyboard on the MSI GS65 is definitely one that I love. It’s made by Steelseries and that’s very evident when you’re using the laptop, whether to play a game, or, as I am right now, to type stuff out. The keyboard has less travel than a lot of gaming laptop keyboards, but it’s very tactile and I love the feeling of typing on this keyboard.

msi gs65 stealth keyboard 1

MSI doesn’t mention if this is a mechanical keyboard, but it does feel that way to me, which is definitely great, regardless of whether it actually is mechanical or not.

Personally, one of the things I really love about this keyboard is the fact that it has a full-size arrow key layout, instead of the stupid condensed layout on my MacBook Pro. Plus, I’m a sucker for backlit keyboards, and this per-key RGB setup on the MSI GS65 Stealth is just amazing. It’s also pretty bright, and it looks wonderful.

msi gs65 stealth keyboard 2

Basically, you will not have any issues using the keyboard on this laptop, and it even makes typing for long hours fun; which is not something I can say for too many laptops out there.

The trackpad here is fun too, until it stops being fun – which happens around 10 minutes into using the laptop. Then again, I’ve been spoiled by the insanely good trackpad on Macs, so maybe I’m being slightly unfair to this one.

msi gs65 stealth trackpad

It’s an ultra-wide trackpad, and I really enjoy using it, however, the palm rejection on this thing is pretty bonkers, and every now and then it would consider my palm as me touching the trackpad and start selecting text, or moving the cursor to a random position on the screen, which can get annoying.

Still, this is one of the best trackpads I’ve used on a Windows laptop by far. It’s a glass trackpad, which means it’s super smooth to the touch, but it’s3  also very responsive, and I like that. Plus, since it’s so wide, it makes using it a lot more fun. Obviously, it won’t cut it for gaming, not even extremely casual gaming, but then again, you’ll obviously be attaching a mouse for that anyway.

MSI GS65 Stealth: I/O and Ports

In terms of I/O, the GS65 brings in quite a decent amount of ports for you to plug stuff into, along with some ports you might not actually use that often but they’re there still. The GS65 comes with 3 USB 3.1 Type-A ports (2 on the left, 1 on the right), a USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 2 port (Thunderbolt 3), an RJ45 ethernet port, an HDMI port (with support for 4K @ 60FPS) and even a Mini-Display port (if you need it).

That’s clearly not as many ports as you would find on something thicker and more bulky than this laptop, but I don’t feel like you’ll find yourself wanting for more ports on the GS65 Stealth laptop.


The MSI GS65 Stealth comes with top-firing speakers, which is great, because it means when you’re not using headphones, the sound comes straight at you, which makes it more intense, and also louder than it would be with something that’s firing downwards, or to the sides.

msi gs65 stealth speakers

MSI uses what it’s calling ‘Dynaudio’ on the GS65 Stealth, and according to MSI, it results in 50% boost in amplitude, and 10dB extra volume boost as well. Now, I’m not sure about the accuracy of those numbers; after all, they are most likely tested in lab settings, but I can tell you that the speakers on the MSI GS65 Stealth are pretty loud and do sound great. The bass is underwhelming though, so if you were planning on enjoying bass heavy music without speakers or headphones on this, well, don’t do that.


The MSI GS65 Stealth comes with a 4-cell 82Whr battery pack inside which lasts it for a considerable time. According to MSI, the laptop can last up to 8 hours on regular productivity work, and in my experience that’s almost true. With some general work load including writing articles, browsing Twitter and Reddit, and a couple of videos on YouTube, the laptop lasted me over 7 hours with ease. That’s pretty incredible.

Obviously, you shouldn’t be gaming on this without connecting it to power, so battery life won’t be much of a concern while gaming anyway. But yeah, for regular usage, if you’re thinking this can double up as a work or college laptop for you, it sure can.

MSI GS65 Stealth 2019 Review: Should You Buy It?

All things said, the MSI GS65 Stealth is definitely a very powerful gaming laptop, and if it has found its way into your shortlist of gaming laptops you’re considering to buy, it fully deserves to be there. It offers a great performance with top of the line specs, a sleek and sturdy build, an amazing display that looks incredible, a keyboard that’s just a pleasure to type on, and a battery life that won’t let you down. At Rs. 2,09,990, the MSI GS65 Stealth 8SF is definitely a laptop you can consider buying.

However, there are other laptops you can check out as well. For starters, if you’re looking to cut down on the cost by quite a margin, and leaving out some graphical performance is not an issue, you should check out the RTX 2060 variant of this very same laptop which comes in at Rs. 1,84,990. Other than that, you can check out the Asus ROG Strix Scar II which also brings in a Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and a 1TB HDD, along with the RTX 2070 for the same Rs. 2,09,990 price.

Still, if you’re looking for a sleek gaming laptop in this price bracket, the MSI GS65 Stealth 8SF is definitely one to check out, even if you probably can’t remember its full name.StilI

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