Soon after Razer launched its Razer Blade thin and light gaming laptop last summer, MSI looked to one-up its competitor's line of ultrabook-esque mobile gaming rigs. It's answer: The GS70 Stealth, a $1,699 17-incher that was a hair thinner than the Razer Blade Pro (the GS70's 0.85 inches to the Blade Pro's 0.88 inches) and undercut Razer's $2,499 offering by almost half at launch.

Now, MSI looks to outdo itself with a 15.6-inch gaming laptop that looks to be the smaller successor to the GS70. Though during CES 2014, MSI was reluctant to even name the device much less associate it with its award-winning Stealth notebook.

MSI 15.6 inch gaming laptop prototype
This one's got curves

I'm told that's simply due to how early this project is along in the prototyping phase – I wasn't even allowed to turn on the gaming laptop during my time with it. MSI is also mum on plenty of other details, down to its weight and insides.

MSI 15.6 inch gaming laptop prototype
Shouldn't every laptop be aluminum?

But one look at this machine and the design inspirations are clear: the same brushed aluminum finish, the singular hinge and glossy power button dead center on the keyboard deck. There are, however, already subtle differences in this early design.

MSI 15.6 inch gaming laptop prototype
A centered touchpad would be nice

For one, the recess in the keyboard deck extends out to the palm rests, leaving the black, matte plastic keys more level with the player's fingers. Second are the slight curves on the laptop's lid, which are purely aesthetic. Finally, an MSI representative revealed that the device's fan intakes are housed beneath its Dynaudio speaker grille to optimize space – clever girl.

MSI 15.6 inch gaming laptop prototype
That numeric keypad might come in handy, though

As for inputs and outputs, the unit will have at least two USB 3.0 ports, a media card reader and HDMI out, though I expect a little more I/O out of 15.6 inches once this is final. On the inside, I was told that MSI is looking into 3K resolution as a display option (1080p at minimum) backed by an Intel chip and Nvidia GPU.

MSI 15.6 inch gaming laptop prototype
In laptop land, blue =

While I've only lifted the device once, it felt incredibly light and smooth, something I'd have no problem slipping into my backpack. It also looks gorgeous in a subdued sort of way. In other words, the new gaming laptop won't give you away in a coffee shop or in class. (The frantic typing and clicking will cover that for you.)

MSI 15.6 inch gaming laptop prototype
You'll never forget whose laptop this is

MSI was incredibly tight-lipped otherwise, but opened just enough to say that this beauty will be available later this year. And I wouldn't be surprised to see Razer or even Alienware close behind (or even ahead) with an equally slick mobile gaming solution.