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MSI launches GT60 and GT70 high-end gaming laptops (hands-on)

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Hands-on impressions of MSI's new gaming laptops, the GT60 and GT70.

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MSI has introduced a pair of new gaming laptops at CeBIT this week and we're here to test them out for ourselves. The GT60 and GT70 both include Full HD displays, with the 60's measuring 15.6 inches and the 70's 17.3. The matte screens have great viewing angles and the sort of rich colors usually reserved for glossy models. Inside, a quad-core Core i7 Ivy Bridge processor will be joined by up to 32GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce 600 series discrete graphics card. Also included is support for MSI's "SuperRAID" technology, which pairs two SSDs in RAID 0 and adds an HDD for storage.

The company has collaborated with PC peripheral maker Steelseries for the laptops' keyboards, which in typical gaming laptop fashion light up in a wide array of gaudy colors. There're a heap of ports on tap, with both machines offering three USB 3.0 ports, an SDHC reader, Ethernet, eSata, and HDMI. The only difference in connectivity between the two is USB 2.0 ports: the GT70 has two whereas the GT60 has only one. Both will come with a choice of optical drives and four-port audio (line-in, line-out, microphone, headphones).

While these aren't svelte machines by any stretch of the imagination, they're well proportioned. Apart from the rainbow keyboard and a few unnecessary chrome flourishes, everything is pretty tasteful in comparison to most of the gaming laptops out there. The keyboard is a pleasure to use: the keys have a good amount of travel and bite to them, and it's definitely a step-up from the MacBook Pro i'm used to typing on. The trackpad offers a little too much friction for my tastes but is precise enough and functions well. For some reason, while the GT70 has two separate mouse buttons underneath its trackpad, the GT60 has only a single rocker, which isn't great if you're looking for a quick gaming session whilst away from a mouse. European pricing will start at €1,999 (about $2630) for the GT60 and €2,299 ($3025) for the GT70, and MSI is targeting a late April release, dependent on Intel having the high-end Ivy Bridge processors ready in time.