Review: MSI GE66 Raider laptop offers serious portable power, still leaves room for improvement

Gaming Notebook MSI GE66 Raider review.
Photo credit: Newshub.

If you have around $6000 to throw down on a portable PC, could MSI's latest flagship laptop be the way to go?

I've been using the MSI GE66 Raider laptop for the past few weeks and here are my thoughts.

The good

As is standard in the gaming laptop race, MSI has aimed to cram as much into their little device as possible.

You'd be hard-pushed to outspec a laptop if you tried. 

This packs a latest-gen Intel i7-10875H CPU, an RTX2080 Super (you can now get one with an RTX3080 Super instead) and 16GB of RAM.

There's little chance of running out of space quickly as everything is stored on a 1TB NVMe SSD, which means seriously speedy load times.

MSI is generous with connectivity ports. The GE66 Raider's DisplayPort means you can hook it up to a monitor with ease, while the rest of the laptop is covered in an assortment of USB-C, USB-A, LAN and audio ports.

It also has Wi-Fi 6, which is great if your household is up with the times.

A crystal-clear 15.6-inch IPS LCD display creates vibrant colours and crisp details, while the bonkers 300hZ screen refresh rate makes gaming or movies a delight. 

And it really is delightful. Playing games like Cyberpunk 2077 and CS:GO is a lot of fun on the Raider, and I was surprised how well it performed even in a stuffy room or out on-the-go. 

I'm not sure my local cafe owners appreciated me sucking up all the bandwidth, however.

MSI GE66 Raider – Light'em Up.
Photo credit: MSI

For more mundane tasks like work or video rendering, the laptop is - well - a laptop. It's portable enough to be used out and about, and it does just fine out at the cafe or at the hotdesk. No quarrels there.

Finally, I really liked the keypad. It takes a bit of time getting used to compared to a standard keyboard layout, but Steelseries' keys rock for gaming or work. No complaints there.

The bad

Visually, MSI's flagship laptop is a behemoth - an assortment of brutal lines crisscrossed with RGB lights and odd metal protrusions. If an alien spaceship needed a centre console, it would probably look like this.

The design doesn't do it for me and I can't imagine it would for many other people either. Most consumers are looking for slim, sleek devices with an appealing form factor that looks good at the cafe or at the work desk, which the Raider definitely doesn't achieve.

Review: MSI GE66 Raider laptop is serious portable power, still leaves room for improvement.
Photo credit: Newshub.

Aside from its sharp lines, the MSI Raider GE66 is heavy, too. Most regular laptops will come in around the 2kg mark, depending on the size of the battery and screen, whereas this monster is pushing 2.5kg. 

That's like carrying five blocks of butter around in your tote bag.

I was underwhelmed by the battery performance, too. It's a gaming laptop, sure; but that doesn't mean it should struggle to stay juiced during regular tasks.

I would typically get less than a day's use out of the MSI Raider on a full charge and having to lug around the gigantic charger is a pain.

The verdict

So here's the deal. The MSI GE66 Raider is a cracking laptop that packs all the power you'd ever need and is just compact enough to perform the duties expected of a laptop.

Where it sacrifices on visual appeal and form factor, it more than makes up for it in its sensational screen and quality gaming experience.

The unavoidable caveat is its gargantuan price, which puts it at the top end of laptops and out of reach of most consumers. But if your wallet is as large as your tote bag, definitely consider the MSI GE66 Raider. 

Oskar was supplied a MSI GE66 Raider for this review.