Mechanical keyboards may have fallen by the wayside in the the laptop era, but there are pockets of devotees that still swear by them — especially when it comes to gaming. It's something we discovered first hand last year when we looked at the culture that still exists around IBM's Model M. Today, MSI is looking to give fans of the click a slightly more portable option with its new GT80 Titan laptop, the first with a mechanical keyboard.
Available today, the behemoth is completely meant to be a desktop replacement — the 18.4" screen, bulk of the mechanical keyboard and massive 350W power brick make it portable only in the most literal sense. Additionally, it has two mini-display ports and HDMI out, so MSI is really counting on the Titan never leaving your desk. Luckily it has the specs to allow for pretty serious gaming, as it's loaded with things like an intel Core i7 processor, dual NVIDIA Geforce graphics cards (GTX980M), and at least 16GB of RAM. All of that is covered by an easily removable plate above the keyboard which allows for easy access to all the internals.
This laptop isn't leaving your desk
But it's that keyboard that really separates the Titan from its competitors. The full Cherry MX Brown mechanical keyboard is backlit by red LEDs and provides an instant and lasting burst of nostalgia upon using it. Quieter than Cherry's MX Red keys, the MX Brown series still registers extremely satisfying clicks that make it hard to return to the chiclet keys of a laptop. Cherry has been making mechanical keyboards for almost 50 years, and the pedigree really shows.
Next to the keyboard is a built-in two-button trackpad that, with a tap in the top left, turns into a haptic-enabled number pad that's also backed by red LEDs. It’s not the same as having a mechanical number pad — if anything, juxtaposing it next to the mechanical keyboard means you’re constantly served with a harsh reminder of how far haptic feedback still has to go — but the effect is cool.
Because a laptop with glowing mechanical keys isn't flashy enough, MSI is also including a special set of shiny, gold-colored metal "WASD" keys. It's a nice touch of fan service for the small group of people that have been looking for an option like this for years. None of this will come cheap, though, because the Titan starts at $3,299. If that price is too steep, you might be better off scouring the IBM model M resale market.