MSI is debuting a bunch of new laptops at CES 2024, but none are quite as over the top as the Titan 18 HX A14V, a boat anchor of a gaming laptop that costs as much as a beater car and has one of the coolest (or most garish, depending on your preference) trackpad designs I’ve ever seen.
The Titan 18 HX sports an 18-inch Mini LED display with 3840 x 2400 resolution and 120Hz refresh, Intel’s new 14th Gen Core i9 14900HX processor, an RTX 4080 or 4090 GPU with DLSS 3.5 support, up to 128GB of DDR5 RAM in its four slots, three M.2 SSD slots (one of which is PCIe Gen 5), a six-speaker audio setup, a SteelSeries-made mechanical keyboard, and a new vapor chamber cooler with a slick-looking exhaust design on the laptop’s elevated underside.
Being such a beefy laptop, it has room for plenty of ports, with two Thunderbolt 4 / USB-C ports, three USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, HDMI 2.1, and a full-size SD card reader. While all of this costs an eye-watering $5,000, it also weighs a shoulder-tiring 7.94 pounds / 3.6kg. And like other new MSI laptops, it has AI-based performance profiles that promise to optimize settings based on whether you’re gaming or doing other tasks like video conferencing. Though, I expect almost nobody buying this behemoth is going to do much outside of play games with it and won’t be moving it around. This desktop replacement machine is meant to mostly live in one spot and play games as it lets its colorful peacock feathers of RGB lighting shine.
In addition to the usual per-key RGB lighting that’s found on most gaming laptops, the Titan’s most unique accoutrement is its edge-to-edge illuminated trackpad. It’s a small sight to behold up close, as the entire front deck of the laptop is a clean sheet of matte-finished glass with the trackpad lighting up in the middle. It’s certainly a look, and it uses MacBook-like haptics to maintain a clicky feel when you press it. It’s silly and fun and lands squarely in the “I know nobody needs this but I’m glad it exists” camp. Because, come on, if you’re actually going to spend $5,000 on a gaming laptop, it should offer a bit of flair as well as have the specs to back it up.
Compared to last year’s very formidable Titan GT77 HX, the 2024 Titan is capable of 270W power output over the GT77’s 250W. The Titan 18 also has a display that’s bigger / taller by 0.7 inches but with a slightly slower refresh rate (120 versus 144Hz). That may be a fine compromise for the lovely and massive Mini LED panel of the new Titan, especially since it uses the much superior 16:10 aspect ratio compared to the last-gen’s 16:9 screen. The new model also has Wi-Fi 7, and while its battery is still a four-cell Li-polymer setup with 99.9Whr of capacity, its power supply is a whopping 400W brick for faster charging — yet it’s a little smaller than the previous 330W version.
Everything about the Titan is very Extra, as its name implies it very well should be. I’d love to know who actually buys these kinds of halo laptops, which are simply not made for mere mortals and seem to be a bit of a dying breed — the days of laptops like the absurd Acer Predator 21 X are long gone now.
Photography by Antonio G. Di Benedetto / The Verge