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MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 3K review

One of the first 3K gaming laptops impresses

MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 3K review

The MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 3K is as close as you're going to get to a premium gaming laptop without the matching price tag. Over $2,000 for a mobile gaming machine sounds like a lot of money – and it definitely is – but for the hardware you're getting, it's tough to beat.

Sure, the chassis isn't a unibody aluminum enclosure, and the bezel is quite thick when compared to the Razer Blade. But the sturdiness of the build is spot on, and the Ghost Pro 3K offers so much more hardware inside for $100 less.

But regardless of its intense value play, seriously consider how important 3K gaming is to you before picking one of these thin and light monsters. At such a small screen size, I'd argue that gaming at WQHD+ isn't all that prettier than 1080p, considering the cost.

We liked

I fell in love with the Ghost Pro design back when it was still in the prototyping phase at CES 2014, and nothing has changed about that since. MSI has achieved a premium look and feel for a fraction of the cost of its competitors, namely Alienware and Razer. This is thanks to subtle touches, like brushed aluminum on the lid and keyboard deck, plus an illuminated logo and power button.

MSI and Nvidia have together proven that 3K gaming is possible on mobile setups, albeit with a few conceits to texture detail and other settings. Is it worth it? That's up to how much stock you put in resolution. What's important is that it can be done, and within reason.

This gaming laptop is a great value even at the high end, but starting at just $1,699 for the 1080p version with a GTX 860M is a steal in comparison. At the moment, the Ghost Pro is no doubt one of the 15-inch gaming notebooks to beat.

We disliked

One knock against this machine is that, given its super slim design, it's in no way safe to play games with on your lap. (Dudes especially, you've been warned.) While MSI's cooling efforts and component placement go a long way, it's not enough to prevent scorching temperatures up near the hinge.

Gaming in 3K on a laptop is certainly possible, but is it really necessary on a 15-inch screen? Considering the extra cost and sacrifices to in-game settings needed to make it happen, I'd say "not really." Perhaps this will change with a possible 900M series of Nvidia mobile graphics chips, but it's just not yet worth it.

Finally, I would have expected more battery life from a machine that's designed to better fit in a backpack and easier on the spine. It is a gaming laptop, after all, and as such shouldn't be expected to challenge the 13-inch MacBook Air any time soon. But an extra hour or two would have been nice – again, cue the 1080p model.

Final verdict

Whether you settle for the FHD model or spring for 3K gaming, the MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 3K is one 15-inch gaming laptop to beat. Though, while an undoubtedly impressive feat, beyond-HD gaming is neither something I'd call a must-have feature nor will it be all that great on this series of cards come 2015 and beyond.

Just don't expect the endurance of an Ultrabook from this rig. And gentlemen, for the sake of your future spawn, don't play with this thing on your lap without protection. (I mean a laptop cooler, you gutterhead!)

The GS60 Ghost Pro 3K is not only a beauty to behold, it offers more hardware in nearly as premium a package as the big boys. But unless you're seriously intent on getting into post-HD gaming right now, save yourself a few hundred bucks and opt for the 1080p version.