We first went hands-on with MSI’s Pascal series laptops about a month ago at a press conference where the company boasted, once again, that its latest gaming laptops were prone to ‘shatter desktop performance’.
Featuring the same power of the Nvidia Pascal desktop GPUs we were all drooling over not three months prior, it’s not hard to see where MSI was coming from. After all, these weren’t GTX 1070Ms, they were the full-on, kick-ass GTX 1070 proper.
The GT62VR is just one of MSI’s many renamed gaming models in an attempt to take on virtual reality in the notebook space, a sly move separate from the company’s “VR backpack” initiative. In spite of Nvidia’s split focus between 4K and VR with its Pascal series cards, it’s crystal-clear what MSI’s target is. After all, you can’t spell GT62VR without VR.
Though a beast on the inside, the surface of the MSI GT62VR is a different story. Wrapped in a mostly plastic shell, the GT62VR’s display feels fragile and flimsy while the rest of the system is excruciatingly bottom-heavy.
Sure, the GT62VR is a gaming laptop, so it’s not meant to be lugged around on your back in the same way you can a MacBook. At the same time, though, the Razer Blade seems to strike a better balance between portability and power, something we’d like to see more early Pascal-equipped notebooks achieve.
At least the keyboard is great
Aside from being a bit of a showoff aesthetically, the keyboard on the MSI GT62VR Dominator Pro is a joy to use. Though it doesn’t take advantage of a full-size mechanical keyboard like the MSI GT80 Titan and Acer Predator 21 X does, and we’re thankful for it (and your local coffee shop probably is too).
The keyboard on the GT62VR manages to impress with a perfectly-spaced arrangement of characters and function keys that are surprisingly quiet. In fact, it’s quieter than Apple’s Magic Keyboard while being more tactile than a Razer Turret.
The default backlighting color scheme is more of a distraction than an enhancement. Luckily, though, the three-zone keyboard lights are completely customizable using the SteelSeries Engine 3 software, which is pre-installed unless you buy from a custom retailer that specializes in removing bloatware like XOTIC PC.
Given that the keyboard itself was developed by SteelSeries, naturally the GT62VR would take advantage of third-party software to manage key lights. Moreover, there’s a button dedicated to turning the lights off entirely if you’re so inclined.
The trackpad, on the other hand, is a different story. It’s spacious, sure, but by default the high sensitivity and precision it provides for gaming is not ideal for productivity.
Too often we found that while editing movies in Sony Vegas Pro or browsing the web and checking up on Facebook, the trackpad featured on the GT62VR demanded too many repeated swipes of the finger just to move around a page. You could argue that, yes, the sensitivity can be increased in your settings, but if you’re constantly toggling between work and play, it’s much easier just to use a mouse.