MSI PS63 Modern: hands-on review

The PS63 Modern is a portable powerhouse for creative pros that's looking to take on the Macbook Pro and Dell XPS 15. So how good is this new laptop from gaming giant MSI?

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Our Verdict

On paper, the MSI PS63 Modern certainly looks impressive. A powerful, premium laptop with the latest Whiskey Lake processor, it claims 100% sRGB colour accuracy and an impressive 16-hour battery life – and it's a grand cheaper than Apple's MacBook Pro. We’ll bring you our full review and score soon.

For

  • Powerful components
  • Colour accuracy and battery life
  • Much cheaper than a MacBook Pro

Against

  • Screen isn’t 4K (but there's a 4K HDMI-out so you can hook it up to a 4K monitor)

This is a hands-on review of the MSI PS63 Modern to give you the chance to see what the new notebook is all about as soon as possible. We'll be expanding and upgrading this review shortly with more information and a score.

The MSI PS63 Modern is the latest high-end laptop aimed at pro creatives from celebrated Taiwanese gaming company MSI. Part of the company’s Prestige series, the 15.6-inch notebook has been built with designers and content creators in mind, and promises to pack some serious performance punch. 

Headline features include Intel's latest Whiskey Lake processor and GTX 1050 Max-Q graphics card, 32GB RAM and space for dual SSDs. Meanwhile, a claimed 100% sRGB colour reproduction and a super-svelte 1.65kg weight place the new MSI PS63 Modern firmly in line with leading ultrabooks like the MacBook Pro and Dell XPS 15.

So will the new MSI PS63 Modern be a MacBook Pro killer? We were able to have a very brief look at the MSI PS63 Modern at CES 2019 and below are our first impressions. We’ll be publishing a full review of the laptop very shortly.

MSI PS63 Modern: Price and availability 

MSI PS63 Modern:

So far, we only have US pricing and availability for the MSI P63 Modern. Starting from $1,499, the PS63 Modern (085) model comes with a Core i7-8565U processor, 16GB RAM, 512GB NVMe SSD, Nvidia GeForce GTX1050 (Max-Q) graphics and 4G GDDR5 VRAM. The (008) model, meanwhile, will set you back $1,599 and comes with Nvidia GeForce GTX1050TI graphics. 

The new laptop is currently available for preorder from  Amazon and will be in stock from 8 February, and we expect it to be available from Newegg, B&H and Adorama within the next few weeks, and Best Buy from 17 February. 

We’ll update this with UK information as soon as we get it.

MSI PS63 Modern: Design and display

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The PS63 Modern is an attractive laptop, with a slick carbon grey chassis and diamond-cut edges. Designed with portability in mind – it’s 16mm thick and weighs 1.6kg – we liked how lightweight the machine felt in our hands.

The 15.6-inch 1080p IPS display has thin 5.6mm bezels and a drop-down hinge design for more screen real estate. It isn't 4K, but unless you’re a video editor or photographer who works with 4K content, 4K on a 15-inch display isn't especially useful: you're going to have to really squint to see that extra detail. (For 4K work, you can hook the laptop up to a larger 4K monitor using the 4K HDMI-out port. That's definitely easier on your wallet and your eyes than a 4K 15-inch laptop.)

MSI says that the PS63 Modern produces 100% sRGB colour reproduction, which we’ll test in our full review. Certainly, images appeared vibrant, vivid and sharp in the short time we had with the laptop.

MSI PS63 Modern: Performance

Over-the-shoulder photo of a man using the MSI PS63 Modern

It’s tough to meaningfully discuss the performance of a laptop in a hands-on review, but the hardware options certainly look promising. 

Boasting up to the latest eight-generation Core i7 processor, 32GB of RAM and the potential for dual SSDs – plus optional discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q graphics with 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM – the MSI PS63 Modern should make light work of demanding video-editing and graphic design tasks. 

MSI's Creator Center software aims to further optimise performance by adapting to whichever program you're using. If you’re editing images in Photoshop, for instance, it’ll ramp up CPU usage; if you’re gaming it’ll increase GPU output.

Another headline feature is MSI’s impressive “all-day” 16-hour battery life claim. If it’s true, this would make the PS63 Modern a tempting choice for creatives who need to work on the go. We’ll be testing how long the laptop can last with one charge in our full review. 

The MSI PS63 Modern

The MSI PS63 Modern has a backlit keyboard and feels snappy under your fingers

There’s also a larger trackpad with integrated fingerprint reader and multi-finger gesture support, making navigation easier and reducing the need for a mouse on the go. We really liked the silky smooth glass texture, and found it to be responsive and accurate. We also liked the backlit keyboard, which felt snappy under our fingers. 

As you’d expect, the MSI PS63 Modern comes with a slew of ports, including a Type-C USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, two Type-A USB 3.1 ports, an HDMI, microSD card reader and a headphone/mic combo jack. 

The MSI PS63 Modern

The MSI PS63 Modern laptop has a good selection of ports

It has Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 technology, too, so you can charge your camera phone faster when you’re out and about. And the MSI PS63 Modern is Quiet Mark certified, as well, so it shouldn’t distract you when you’re working. 

Finally, another standout feature worth mentioning is the compact power adaptor. MSI has worked hard to significantly reduce its size: the company says its almost 40 per cent smaller than regular power bricks, making it easier to carry around the world. 

MSI PS63 Modern: Early verdict

The MSI PS63 Modern

Is the MSI PS63 Modern a MacBook Pro killer? We'll let you know in our full review

The MSI PS63 Modern looks and feels like a premium laptop. It’s sleek, lightweight and promises to pack a real punch in the performance stakes. The 16:9 Full HD screen is also fantastic: colour and detail looked stunning in the CES 2019 showroom. 

All-in-all, the MSI PS63 Modern looks impressive so far. If you’re a designer or content-creator looking for a cheaper Apple laptop-alternative, we think this machine is worth a look. Our full MSI PS63 Modern review will be coming very shortly. 

The Verdict

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out of 10

MSI PS63 Modern: hands-on review

On paper, the MSI PS63 Modern certainly looks impressive. A powerful, premium laptop with the latest Whiskey Lake processor, it claims 100% sRGB colour accuracy and an impressive 16-hour battery life – and it's a grand cheaper than Apple's MacBook Pro. We’ll bring you our full review and score soon.