I recently, after several months of miscellaneous frustration with my old laptop, sprung for a new MSI GT70-0NE. (PR Sheet; Amazon detail page). Despite some disappointing service from Amazon (first time in 8 years) which got it to me a few days later than I expected1, I’m completely thrilled with my decision.

First off, I won’t be saying much about the hardware specs, because this thing is a straight up beast. If machine were any more beastly, it’d be living in a Cretan labyrinth. Once I got it set up and drivers installed2, everything I threw at it ran at full video settings with nary a dropped frame. I’ve also had none of the cooling issues that some other folks reported, even under high load. Then again, when I’m gaming or doing intensive work, I usually have the machine on a fan-cooled laptop stand, so it’s possible that helps as well.

The fit and finish of the machine are superb. Looking at the form factor and physical design online it looked a bit gimicky, but in person its stealth-fighter lines and variable-color backlit keyboard actually look pretty sweet. The keyboard itself, by Steelseries, feels great. The keys have a pleasing slightly sticky friction and, with a few minor exceptions3 that I’m quickly getting used to, the layout is great. The screen is clear and has excellent viewing angles. The audio from the speakers alone is remarkably good for a laptop, but that’s kind of damning with faint praise. Your external speakers or nice headphones are still going to give you a much better listening experience.

The machine came with Windows 8 installed, and remarkably little non-Microsoft bloatware. There was the obligatory Norton Security bullshit to uninstall4, which has gotten slightly more annoying to do on Win 8. But other than that, the MSI-branded apps that were installed all seem at least nominally useful. There’s a WiFi network monitor that I probably won’t look at again, but which was at least interesting to poke at, and a slick app for customizing the coloration and pattern of the LED-backlit keyboard.

A little over 24 hours in to owning, the MSI GT70-0NE is an awesome machine, and I’m thrilled with my purchase. It’s definitely premium kit, but if you’re someone like me that spends the majority of their waking hours on computers, you’ll definitely appreciate the killer hardware, top-quality interface components, and excellent fit and finish, all with a minimum of cruft or headaches. Highly recommended.

1 If you ever want to see the most pathetic frustration, tell a nerd his new toy will arrive on Saturday, then make him wait until Monday. To say that I’m spoiled by fast shipping rates would be a charitable understatement. “Had to wait two extra days for a laptop” isn’t even a first world problem, it’s a zeroth world problem.

2 I did run into one minor issue where the first-time setup for the drivers failed to correctly install the WiFi driver, leaving me unable to connect to any networks. Uninstalling and re-installing the driver fixed the issue completely, however.

3 This is the most minor of all minor grievances, but the right shift key is too short and abuts the up-arrow, resulting so far in frequent frustrating mistakes whilst editing text.

4 Norton has managed to suck even more on Windows 8. It won’t actually let you close the pesterware dialog, only letting you select “remind me later”. What it really needs is a “Fuck off, uninstall yourself, and never darken my door again” option, but then I imagine that’s a bit long to fit on a standard dialog button.