MSI WS60 review

Quad-core processing and powerful graphics in Ultrabook form factor

MSI WS60 review

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The WS60 packs a lot of performance into a thin and sleek package. However, that performance doesn't come cheap.

Starting at $2,299 (£1,550, AU$3,035), the WS60's entry level price starts a lot higher than some of MSI's competitors, but you do get a lot more in the base configuration. Lenovo's W541 starts at just $1,232 (£827, AU$1,613) after discounts, but you're getting a weaker processor, less RAM, and a more meager Quadro K1100M graphics chip along with just a single 500GB hard drive.

We liked

The WS60 delivers fast performance and plenty of power in a stylish case. The mobile workstation is a heavyweight performer disguised in the body of an Ultrabook.

Given that the WS60 delivers comparable performance to the Lenovo ThinkPad W540 and ThinkPad 541, the lighter weight and slimmer body of the WS60 makes it a better companion for traveling.

If you're working with large files, the option to configure the WS60 with a dual-solid state drive design and a hard drive makes this a great choice for those who work with large design files.

And even though the Nvidia Quadro K2100M graphics isn't tuned for gaming, the GPU delivers more than the integrated graphics inside most ultrabooks, like the Lenovo ThinkPad T450s. Gamers will find gaming performance satisfactory, and the Dynaudio-tuned speakers help to keep sound effects loud and crisp.

We disliked

To keep the design thin and light, MSI made some compromises with the WS60. The system doesn't come with the security features, nor the added durability that enterprises may seek.

The WS60 lacks a fingerprint reader, the military specification testing for durability for use under different environmental conditions, short battery life and a sealed battery that can't be swapped on the go. A missing touchscreen option and a fickle trackpad create the perfect storm for a frustrating input experience.

Final verdict

The WS60 is a solid mobile workstation that delivers plenty of performance. But unless you're in the market for a machine with high desk appeal, there isn't much that sets the WS60 apart from the competition.

Sure, the WS60 is thinner and lighter than some of its competitors, but that comes at a cost to battery life. And in making the WS60 thin, MSI eschewed some of the enterprise-centric features such as a biometric fingerprint reader and spill-resistant keyboard.

Despite its excellent performance, the WS60 feels like a notebook stuck in the past. Limited to Windows 7, lacking a full touchscreen, and equipped with a trackpad that delivers mixed performance, users may be better off finding similar specs and more modern features at a similar price elsewhere.