The MSI Prestige PX60 2QD is a gaming laptop that wants to give you a bit of high-end design flavour.
There’s none of the loud 'n’ proud multi-colour nonsense you’ll find on gaming juggernauts like the Asus ROG G751. It wants to be a bit more stylish, to offer you a bit of MacBook-style flair while blowing any sub-£1000 Apple laptop out of the water with its gaming skills.
It’s also a fair bit thinner and lighter than some gaming laptops. However, with a disappointing battery life, don’t think of this as anything approaching a road warrior. Take the MSI Prestige PX60 2QD out for a day of work away from the socket and you’ll have to clock off well before lunch time.
As a first-go for the MSI Prestige range, the PX60 2QD is a decent intro, but in its attempt to cover both the needs to gamers and more officious types, it ends up not really acing either area.
Brushing off the metal
First, let’s check out those lines. The MSI Prestige PX60 2QD is a serious-looking laptop, perhaps a bit more severe than your average Ultrabook. But from all that metal on show you can tell it’s after some of that Ultrabook feel.
The keyboard surround and lid are both lightly brushed aluminium, a bit different from the soft-touch plastic we usually see in gaming laptops. The MSI Prestige PX60 2QD isn’t exactly a beauty, though. Just look a it: the hard lines and the huge dotty grille above the keyboard don’t do it any favours.
We get the feeling MSI wants us to think this is a big old speaker grille: the Dynaudio speaker logo is jammed right up there, after all. However, the speakers actually sit underneath the laptop. That’s more-or-less the standard positioning for these drivers. They’re not much cop either. Despite having a 4.0 driver system, the sound is muddled and congested at higher volumes. It does go fairly loud, though.
The grille up top seems predominantly a way to let heat out. And heat is always going to be an issue when you’re cramming gamer-grade hardware into a laptop that’s pretty slim and light.
Games on a plane
The MSI Prestige PX60 2QD weighs 2.1kg and is just over 20mm thick. If you’re used to genuinely slim laptops, that’ll sound a bit heavy and thick, but having come from looking at some 3.5kg rigs, I can tell you this is a back-saving change.
It’s totally useless as a laptop to use while away from a power socket, though. Just using the MSI Prestige PX60 2QD as a general work laptop, checking out a few emails and doing some work processing, it barely scraped past 90 minutes of use before conking out. I never got it to last through two full hours of active use.
This does rather make you wonder: what’s the point of focusing quite this much on keeping the size and weight down when it’s still not portable when you really get down to it? If you’re going to be doing 95 per cent light work on the laptop, you’d be much better off with a more efficiency-driven laptop like the HP Spectre x360.
Stamina is not the only issue either. The adapter is big and the fans kick in with no provocation at all. Even just firing up the web browser for a minute will be accompanied by a decent fan whirr. The MSI Prestige PX60 2QD is a laptop that just won’t shut up. Whether this is a deal-breaker or no problem at all depends on what you’re after, but the strange dual focus of this model makes its target audience a bit tricky to put a finger on.
The Thor of CPUs
For example, its CPU has absolutely bundles of power. It has the Intel Core quad-core i7-5700HQ. This is a Broadwell (the latest currently available) generation processor that will absolutely steamroll the efficiency-driven chipsets you get in your usual slim laptops like MacBooks and the Dell XPS 13. It’s no wonder the battery won’t even last through your average film these days, even though the level it works at is limited when you’re not plugged in.
Other parts aren’t quite as impressive, though, compared with some of the others doing the rounds. For example, our MSI Prestige PX60 2QD doesn’t have an SSD, just a 1TB hard drive, and you can tell this in day-to-day use.
Booting up and coming out of standby isn’t quite as quick as a lot of laptops at this price. And a lot of you may notice this more than that the CPU is a real stallion.
There’s a little bit of this sort of awkwardness in the GPU too. The MSI Prestige PX60 2QD has a 2GB GDDR5 GeForce GTX 950M, a good mid-range card. It’ll handle just about any game you choose to throw at it fairly well at mid-level settings or higher, but there’s just a little niggle: the older GTX 860M is available in plenty of laptops around the same price, and it’s a bit better.
After using the MSI Prestige PX60 2QD for a few weeks, I’m not sure the combo it offers is really going to be the best balance for most people. After all, I find I soak up the RAM and GPU power of my laptop, but rarely need the flat-out power of a quad-core Intel Core i7. It’s great to have, but ultimately most people will likely appreciate the extra zip an SSD, or even some extra RAM, gives you. It’s an awkward one, this.
There’s much less to look sideways at in the screen, though. It’s 15.6in across, 1080p resolution and uses a good IPS LCD panel. That means you can look at it from pretty much any angle and it’ll still look right. Some cheaper laptop screens look dreadful from the wrong angle.
Colour packs a pretty powerful punch, and MSI says it has put extra work into calibrating these screens to get you particularly deep tones. I think the 17in Asus G751 still gets you a more satisfying display to play games on, but the MSI Prestige PX60 2QD’s screen is pretty strong. The MSI True Colour app lets you tweak the display too, to make it warmer or cooler, each more suited to movies or — shudder — spreadsheets.
It’s a matt-finish screen too, meaning any reflections are diffracted to the extent they’re not much of a problem unless you’re full-on gaming outdoors. And when the battery lasts less than two hours just doing a bit of typing, that’s not sensible anyway.
The MSI Prestige PX60 2QD lacks a touchscreen, and the large surround makes it a bit of a dated design. However, quite a lot of gaming-style laptops still lack touch input. It’s the norm.
This laptop works best when you plug in a mouse, because the trackpad isn’t quite perfect. The size, the surface feel and the look are all spot on, but the button response is a bit fiddly. I found it’s a bit too precious about exactly where on the pad you press, even though the ‘clicker’ lives under the pad rather than a separate set of buttons. The depth of the feedback varies too much across the pad too, which is a bit disappointing in a relatively high-end laptop.
There are no such complaints with the keyboard, though. While the gamer-style key font really goes against the whole idea behind the laptop, which largely hides its gamery nature behind a more professional facade, it has a good deep action I found both comfy and quick to type on. There’s a backlight too.
For all its efforts to fit a super-powered laptop into a pretty slim frame, the MSI Prestige PX60 2QD doesn’t have to trade many connections away either. On its sides you get three USB 3.0 ports, a mini DisplayPort, full-size HDMI, plus a full-size Ethernet port and full-size SD card slot. That’s just about all I’m after.
MSI Prestige PX60 2QD verdict
The MSI Prestige PX60 2QD is an interesting laptop that juggles gaming chops with altogether different priorities: those of someone who also needs a desktop-squishing CPU and a professional look that won’t embarrass you down at, erm, the water cooler.
It has some great specs, an impressive screen and its a bit thinner and lighter than most gaming rigs.
However, there are a few head-scratching elements. It’s quite noisy in use, lacks the everyday zip provided by a good SSD and the battery life makes the portability of the slimmer, lighter frame a bit, well, pointless. Perhaps we’re just missing the crowd for whom this is the perfect set of highs and lows, but we’re not sure the UK-spec MSI Prestige PX60 2QD has its priorities entirely in order.