MSI GP62MVR Leopard Pro-406 Review
The MSI GP62MVR Leopard Pro-406 is among the first Pascal gaming laptops that don’t struggle to eschew their desktop counterparts when it comes to high-end gaming. Extras like USB-C and the latest Kaby Lake Intel Core i7 processor resolve in a win-win for both gamers and power users.
- Top-notch gaming performance
- Good array of I/O port options
- Physical design may be unappealing to some
- Only 3GB memory for graphics card
- 256GB is less what rivals offer
New generations of PC components have a way to make consumers smile, as we are often treated to an evolving PC landscape with powerful systems becoming affordable. Case in point: the late 2016-launch of Pascal-based graphic cards by Nvidia has brought desktop performance to the laptop category, and they’re getting more powerful as days go by.
The MSI GP62MVR Leopard Pro-406 is among the few Pascal notebooks we’ve tested this year, with performance made possible by its GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card. With a snappy SSD, tons of memory and decent port options, this VR-ready system sets the bar so high, making it a top pick for midrange gaming laptops.
The Leopard Pro-406 will look familiar to anyone who has used MSI’s gaming laptops before, since the chassis is similar to past systems. On looks, it isn’t the flashiest system you might be seeing in the near future, and if you’ve had a system like ASUS ROG GL552VW-DH71, you get allure and beauty you get out of the box. It strikes me as a rather big, boxy system (measures 1.1 by 15.1 by 10.2 inches, 9.6 pounds) that is a thrifty smaller and lighter than most Pascal laptops such as the 17-inch ASUS ROG G752VS-XB78K.
The 15-inch matte display utilizes In-Plane Switching technology (IPS) which suffices for wider viewing angles on the Full HD (1920-by-1080) screen; although its overall benefit is minimized by lack of a glass coating. The new graphics notwithstanding, 1080p is still acceptable for notebooks, since they lack the oomph to run QHD+ or 4K resolutions without toning down performance.
On the same base model, you have different resolutions, though. Both the MSI GP62MVR Leopard Pro-406 and MSI GP62MVR Leopard Pro-408 run at 1,920-by-1,080 resolution. The MSI GP62MVR Leopard Pro 4K-463 boasts a 4K (3840-by-2160) screen, and the Razer Blade Stealth boasts the same 4K resolution with added touch capability, and on both performance drop is noticeable. Most gaming notebooks feature Nvidia’s G-Sync technology, that’s enables smoother frame rates during gaming, but it’s generally a demanding feature on system that are struggling with most games.
Keyboard and Touchpad
For a gaming laptop, the keyboard is one area that undoubtedly gets the most hits. Here you have a keyboard deck and lid clad in a black brushed motif, with a red stripe separating the deck and lower chassis, and the red MSI logo on the lid. The stripe doesn’t look nice, at least for me, and they give the system a rather faux cheap feel inherited from lower decals and not glamorous accents.
It comes with a backlit SteelSeries keyboard with impressive key layout. As expected, the color zones are customizable, while the anti-ghosting technology we see in most gaming laptops and keyboards addresses the issue of logjams during frantic gaming sessions. I found the keys comfortable to type on, although they have too much key travel which may not be so-good for some users. Its touchpad is equally sturdy and has all the smoothness we’ve come to like in most gaming keyboards, although its slightly offset to the left.
Port options are excellent, especially for such a slim system. MSI were generous to pack an Ethernet port, a Mini DisplayPort 1.4 connector, an HDMI 1.4 port, an SD card slot, one USB-C port, two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, a Kensington security slot, a microphone jack, and a headphone jack. Storage is up for debate on the system, but you have different storage configurations to choose from the same base model.
There’s a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD) on board. This is quite lean, but very appealing for faster boot speeds and copying of data. If you need more storage, both the MSI GP62MVR Leopard Pro 4K-463 and MSI GP62MVR Leopard Pro-408 combine a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD) and a 1TB 7,200rpm hard drive on board.
Alongside the brand new 3GB GTX 1060 graphics card, the MSI GP62MVR is equipped with a seventh generation “Kaby Lake” Intel Core i7-7700HQ (2.8-3.8GHz) processor and 16GB DDR4 (max 32GB) system memory. This is a beastly combination, and you should be able to play even the latest titles at high settings, without sacrificing frame rates.
While not gaming, this combination allows you to tinker with multimedia projects such as video editing and image creation without unnecessary lags. Still, for such a superb system, I can’t comprehend why MSI opted to use 3GB instead of 6GB for the graphics card, and that is a glaring tradeoff right there.
The launch of new graphics system was meant to compete with their desktop counterparts, and for the first tie we’re seeing notebooks get closer and close to desktops. Notably, the GTX 3GB’s performance is only slightly behind what you’d get from the full-fledged 6GB GTX 1060; still it does crunch the numbers on most games at 1080p settings–Hitman average 61FPS, GTA 5 average 60FPS and 62FPS on Rise of the Tomb Raider, although you expect more numbers as you reduce the settings. Even though the 1060 isn’t the top of the new graphics line, the entry of Pascal provides a clear boost in gaming muscle over previous generation’s graphic cards.
Finally, the battery will last roughly 3 hours 42 minutes on general use, though, you expect it to drop to even less than 2 hours during intense gaming sessions. This is typical for the category, and is far much shorter than a desktop replacement or ultrabooks that can last all day on a single charge.
The Bottom Line
A jump into Pascal graphics technology and the new Kaby Lake processor make the MSI GP62MVR Leopard Pro-406 an attractive value proposition in every angle, beating even high-end machines with previous generation graphics cards on gaming–it does so affordably. While its physical appearance may not be appealing to everyone, but that’s not much of a deal-breaker for a stay-at-home gaming system, that’s less bulky and heavy than most gaming rivals. Memory is quite mean, and even with a smaller screen, the graphics card is still hard to pass by, especially at its price range.
On a feature-by-feature basis, on the MSI GP62MVR, it’s hard to recommend anything else than the newest graphics card and processor. That said, the Asus ROG Strix GL502VM wraps the best of both worlds into a sleek, portable laptop featuring the Nvidia’s GTX 1060 graphics card; a Kaby lake Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor, 128GB SSD and 1TB hard drive storage, and for all these reasons it remains our Editors’ Choice midrange gaming laptop.
New Model: MSI GV62 8RD-200
With the release of Intel’s eighth generation “Coffee Lake” chips, the MSI GV62 line of gaming laptops was among the first once to pick up the wave, and with that we saw a couple of svelte, powerful yet incredibly affordable gaming laptops. The most notable was the MSI GV62 8RD-200, a 15.6-inch gaming that’s, for now, the hallmark of the new breed of portable, powerful and reasonably priced laptops that compete well with most midrange gaming desktops.
It sports the same design and packs almost the same components as its predecessor, but adds 16GB Intel Optane Memory and a snappy Coffee Lake chip. With this module, it amends the only issue we had with its predecessor –lack of a solid-state-drive (SSD). It is our Editors’ Choice for entry-level gaming laptops. We reviewed it here.