Introduction And Product Tour
MSI recently updated its gaming laptop lineup with Nvidia Pascal GPUs, offering more performance for the dollar than ever before. We were able to get the budget-friendly GP62MVR 6RF Leopard Pro-218 in the lab and subject it to our full review suite to see how fast the Intel Core i7 and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060-equipped Leopard can run.
The MSI GP62MVR 6RF Leopard Pro features a durable plastic chassis. Although it's not as stylish or sturdy as CNC aluminum or magnesium, it's surprisingly firm. The lightweight material doesn't compromise the structural integrity, but the underside vents are noticeably flimsy. You can see the laptop's PCB and heat pipes through the vents in the center, and the vents appear to be there for passive cooling (there are no intake or output fans in these vents). However, there are two intake fans in the underside's corners that exhaust the heat through the rear hinge. It will be interesting to see how the thermals hold up for the Leopard.
The hinge moves easily, almost too easily. The screen stays in place when the laptop rests on a desk, but a light "shake test" of the device made the screen fall forward without much effort. This isn't particularly troublesome, but we've definitely seen firmer hinges. Four 2W speakers reside in the front edge of the laptop, along with a woofer on the underside, and the sound is consistent with the average audio experience you would expect in such a device; it's unimpressive.
The GP62MVR sports two USB 3.0 ports in addition to a USB 2.0 port. There's also a USB 3.1 Type-C port, capable of 10 Gb/s data rates. However, the next-gen interface lacks Thunderbolt 3 and video output, the latter of which is achieved via the HDMI 1.4 and DisplayPort 1.2 ports. The lack of HDMI 2.0 is also surprising given the 10-series GPU under the hood. If (for some reason) you absolutely must connect to a 4K display at 60Hz, the DisplayPort will have to suffice. However, using the Leopard in such a way would be counter-intuitive for gamers, because the GTX 1060 simply doesn't perform well at that resolution without serious cutbacks to the graphics settings, and we wouldn't recommend it.
The MSI GP62MVR 6RF Leopard Pro features a 15.6" 1920 x 1080 IPS display with a 60Hz refresh rate. It's sharp and vibrant despite its lackluster feature set. The resolution and refresh rate pair with the GTX 1060 quite well, and moving up to a laptop with a higher resolution display or a 120Hz panel would substantially increase the price. The simplicity of the Leopard Pro's display doesn't hold it back from delivering a pleasant gaming experience.
The full-sized SteelSeries keyboard is backlit with white LEDs. The spacing and actuation of the anti-ghosting keys is comfortable, and they are firmly stabilized without becoming rigid and resistant.The SteelSeries Engine software lets you create macros, but LED control is limited to what MSI's Dragon Center software can do (effects, brightness).
The trackpad is arguably the least-useful feature of any gaming laptop for anyone planning to put some serious game time in, and MSI's GP62MVR Leopard Pro is no different in that respect. The pad is smooth and responsive, and the buttons are detached from the touchpad and each other, making it easier to determine where the left click ends and right click begins. It also sports shiny edges, giving it a stylish look. However, it's still a track pad, and it's fortunate that MSI included a hotkey to disable it. As always, we recommend getting a real mouse if you plan on gaming with this device.
Accessing the interior of the GP62MVR requires you removing 16 screws before taking off the back panel.
Once inside, you're treated to a fairly standard internal laptop layout; the cooling solution spans the length of the Leopard's rear end. The GPU, which is to the right, has two more heat pipes than the CPU, one of which is routed to the CPU's cooler. On the top right is the slot for the 2.5mm hard drive, and to the left of it are the memory slots. An M.2 slot is located at the center-top, but this Leopard Pro is configured without an SSD.
The Leopard Pro includes the aforementioned MSI Dragon Center (for hardware monitoring, cooling and overclocking options) and SteelSeries Engine, in addition to MSI's System Control Manager (SCM), a central hub where users can edit brightness, volume, battery, networking settings, and more. The Leopard also includes MSI Help Desk, which sends system information to MSI and acts as a link to MSI's customer support.
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