MSI GT80 Titan review

The world's most powerful gaming laptop is more like a foldable desktop

MSI GT80 Titan review

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If buying a gaming laptop is a lifestyle choice, then getting a MSI GT80 Titan is like getting the house to go with it. It's one of the few gaming laptops that completely replicates the desktop experience. You'll have an incredible level of performance at your disposal, plus an authentic mechanical keyboard that's all topped off with an excellent screen to round out this larger than life package.

At the same time though, it's a serious investment at $3,299 or £2,573 (about AU$4,165). This large machine has also sacrificed quite a bit to recreate the desktop experience. With its low-set keyboard, lackluster battery life and massive size, the Titan isn't a machine you can comfortably use as a portable computer.

We liked

After you double down on a truly expensive piece of tech, there's no better feeling than knowing it can easily take on everything you throw at it. The Titan will absolutely plow through almost any graphically intense game you try to run.

MSI also set out to build the world's first gaming laptop with a mechanical keyboard, and it's a resounding success with the GT80. As soon as I laid my hands on the keys, I felt right at home, as if I was using my mechanical keyboard back at home. Add in the excellent screen and this is a great setup PC gamers can feel comfortable using wherever they are.

We disliked

The biggest downfall of the MSI GT80 Titan is you simply can't use it as a laptop. It's far too big, heavy and the ergonomics of the keyboard and trackpad make it impossible to use on anything but a large desk.

With battery life maxing out around two hours, this is a mobile gaming rig you'll barely take out. It's for these reasons the Titan feels more like a movable desktop, a transformable gaming all-in-one or, as I like to call it, a foldable typewriter.

Final verdict

The Alienware 17 is an amazing machine through and through, being more powerful and thinner than its previous iterations. What's more, with the optional Graphics Amplifier this machine can truly sing. However, when it comes to gaming, the MSI GT80 has the advantage, thanks to being a completely self-contained machine that's just as, if not more, powerful than the Alienware 17. And that's even with the added boost from a top of the line desktop graphics card.

The Aorus X7 Pro falls into role of the MSI GT80's little brother from another mother, thanks to its smaller 17.3-inch screen and lower-end dual Nvidia GTX 970M setup. Although the X7 Pro can be seen as a step down, it's not too far off in terms of performance in benchmarks and will play most games on ultra settings without breaking a sweat. That said, the Aorus rig has a few knocks against it, including heat issues and a far inferior screen compared to the Titan's excellent 18.4-inch display.

The MSI GT80 Titan is a touch too big for my personal tastes, but if you're looking for a mobile machine that delivers the same gaming experience of using a desktop PC down to the keyboard, this is the one to get. Just make sure you're ready to carry the burden on your back.

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee was a former computing reporter at TechRadar. Kevin is now the SEO Updates Editor at IGN based in New York. He handles all of the best of tech buying guides while also dipping his hand in the entertainment and games evergreen content. Kevin has over eight years of experience in the tech and games publications with previous bylines at Polygon, PC World, and more. Outside of work, Kevin is major movie buff of cult and bad films. He also regularly plays flight & space sim and racing games. IRL he's a fan of archery, axe throwing, and board games.