MSI GF65 Thin 10UE Review: Thin-and-Light Gaming Machine

MSI GF65 Thin 10UE Review Gaming Laptop
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MSI is a globally renowned name when it comes to gaming laptops. The company recently updated its “GF” series of thin-and-light gaming laptops with NVIDIA’s latest RTX 30-series graphics cards. Following this, the MSI GF65 Thin 10UE has been available in Nepal for a couple of months now. And I’ve been using it ever since. So, in this review, I’ll be sharing my experiences with the MSI GF65 Thin 10UE gaming laptop.

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MSI GF65 Thin 10UE Specifications:

  • Design & Build: Plastic + aluminum build, 14.13W x 10.0D x 0.85H-inches, 1.86 kg
  • Display: 15.6″ matte IPS panel, 144Hz refresh rate, 45% NTSC color space
  • Resolution: FHD (1920×1080) resolution, 16:9 aspect ratio
  • Keyboard: Chiclet-style backlit keyboard (Red), Anti-Ghost keys
  • Trackpad: Plastic multi-touch trackpad, Windows Precision drivers
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-10750H CPU (Comet Lake), 6C/12T, 5.0GHz Max Turbo Frequency, 12MB Intel Smart Cache, 14nm process, 45W TDP-up
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 RAM (2666MHz) (Up to 64GB)
  • Storage: 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD (expandable)
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 75W (6GB GDDR6, discrete)
  • Audio: 2x 2W bottom-firing speakers with Hi-Res Audio
  • Battery: 51 Watt-hours Li-Ion battery
  • Power Supply: 180W AC power adapter
  • Webcam: 720p HD camera (no privacy shutter)
  • Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 6 (ax), Bluetooth 5.1
  • I/O Ports: 1x LAN (RJ45), 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x 3.5mm headphone combo jack, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 1x Kensington Lock
  • Price in Nepal: Rs. 215,000
  • What’s inside the box: Laptop, power adapter, quick start guide

MSI GF65 Thin 10UE Review:

Design

  • Plastic + aluminum hair-brushed finish
  • Impressively lightweight for a gaming laptop

Starting with a design, this device respectably adheres to its thin-and-light heritage. Despite featuring a 15.6” chassis, MSI has managed to keep GF65’s weight below 2 kg. More specifically, it weighs just 1.86 kg. As a result, if you’re on the hunt for a powerful gaming laptop, but one that’s also fairly lightweight, then this could be one of the options you could consider.

Plus, GF65 Thin 10UE’s outer lid hosts a brushed aluminum finish for an elegant look. And maybe also to keep the spotlight away from its plastic build material. Therefore, MSI’s “GL” or “GP” series will fare you better—if a comparatively premium build quality is what you’re gunning for.

Additionally, this laptop’s keyboard deck, screen, and lid attracts dust and fingerprints way too easily. Consequently, I had to carry around a piece of fabric so that I could wipe it clean. Regardless, its hinge is pretty sturdy and the keyboard chassis doesn’t flex much either—unless when applied excessive pressure, of course. Moving on, MSI GF65 Thin 10UE brings a handful of I/O ports.

This includes a barrel-pin charging connection and an HDMI 2.0 port on the left while you’ll find two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C, one combo audio jack, one LAN (RJ45), and a Kensington Lock port on its right frame. Here, I find the lack of a Thunderbolt port disturbing.

Display

  • 15.6″ matte non-touch IPS LCD panel
  • 144Hz refresh rate, 45% NTSC gamut

Moving up front, GF65 Thin 10UE brings a big 15.6” screen with support for a 144Hz refresh rate. To minimize cost on such relatively affordable gaming laptops to the optimum level, manufacturers compromise on the display department and unsurprisingly, that’s what’s happened here.

GF65 Thin 10UE - Display

This 15.6” IPS LCD panel covers just 45% of the NTSC color gamut. So, you’re obviously not going to get the most vibrant color reproduction on this screen. Therefore, the colors look noticeably flat here, especially the reds. In the default factory color calibration, I noticed that things leaned slightly on the bluish side of things.

Strictly sub-par display

What all this boils down to is the fact that professional graphics designers or someone in a similar field searching for a gaming/content creation hybrid machine will have to look somewhere else. Besides colors, this gaming laptop’s brightness level is just about average as well.

Even when indoors, I’d have to set the display’s brightness level around 60-70%. That should effectively rule out any possibility of easy visibility when taking this machine outdoors. Anyway, mediocre color reproduction and brightness levels aside, I don’t have much to complain about this panel’s viewing angles as they’re pretty good.

Plus, I couldn’t notice any sort of backlight bleeding here either. Overall, GF65 Thin 10UE’s screen is strictly acceptable only—although most other comparable gaming laptops don’t do much better either.

Keyboard

  • Backlit chiclet-style keyboard (single-color)

As expected, you’re getting a full-sized chiclet/island-style keyboard here. But despite its 15.6” chassis, MSI has skipped on a dedicated Numpad on this setup. Instead, this compact layout leaves an open flank—which should’ve been complemented by a set of front-firing speakers if you ask me. But, alas!

Nevertheless, I’m quite fond of the key travel distance on this keyboard while they don’t rattle much either. I would’ve preferred a quieter sound profile though. Now, since this is a gaming laptop, you’re gonna ger RGB lighting here as well.

GF65 Thin 10UE - Keyboard

Before you raise your expectations, let me quickly simmer it down. Unlike the quad-zone or per-key RGB lighting on relatively expensive gaming laptops, MSI has settled for a single-zone backlit keyboard on the GF65 Thin 10UE with red lighting. You can toggle between three levels of brightness on this keyboard.

I found the second level to be fairly bright enough. But what’s weird here is that shortcuts like volume, brightness control are embedded into the arrow keys; instead of the Function keys which is where most of us are used to seeing them.

Trackpad

  • Plastic trackpad with integrated left/right keys

Likewise, its trackpad is of pretty average quality too. Its non-centric placement and the comparatively compact form-factor don’t bode well with tasks like photo editing and such—although it’s no problem for regular everyday usage. I find the integrated left/right keys a little too plasticky as well and they click quite loud. Despite all this, since it supports Windows Precision Drivers, I had no trouble with using multi-finger gestures here.

Webcam

  • 720p HD webcam, No privacy shutter

Moving on, while a handful of 2021 gaming laptops so far have seen a taller 16:10 aspect ratio implementation, the MSI GF65 Thin 10UE doesn’t enjoy the same fate. The big chunky bezels on the top and bottom look quite dated, even though it’s nothing of a deal-breaker. Here, the top bezel houses a standard 720p HD webcam.

GF65 Thin 10UE - Webcam

It’s not accompanied by a physical privacy shutter either. But, the F6 key hosts a dedicated notification LED to indicate the camera’s on/off status. Talking about the quality of the camera itself, things are exactly how you would expect from a laptop webcam.

Videos turn out pretty grainy whereas the subject itself looks a bit dark too. Yet, the audio pick-up from the built-in microphones is quite decent. All in all, this laptop’s camera will suffice you just fine for your video conferencing needs—but you’ll need to shell out for a dedicated webcam if you’re into streaming.

Audio

  • 2x 2W bottom-firing speaker setup
  • Hi-Res Audio certified, Nahimic tuning

In terms of audio, like in other relatively inexpensive gaming laptops, this one has a dual speaker setup totaling to 4W of output. It supports Hi-Res Audio too and can get adequately loud enough for an average-sized living room.

But of course, the sound quality from these bottom-firing speakers is strictly sub-par. While mids sound clear enough, you can notice that it clips the highs—on top of the audibly non-existent bass. Still and all, thanks to the elevation aided by the sharp rubber feet, the audio doesn’t get muffled as much.

Performance

  • Intel 10th-gen Core i7-10750H CPU (45W TDP)
  • NVIDIA RTX 3060 GPU (75W, 6GB GDDR6 VRAM)
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD

Allow me to talk about the performance side of things now. As I mentioned in the beginning, the GF65 Thin 10UE brings the latest RTX 30-series GPU from NVIDIA. However, maybe due to the global chip shortage or to maintain its affordable stature, MSI has opted for the older 10th gen Intel Comet Lake CPU here.

GF65 Thin 10UE - Design

In Nepal, you’ll find two configurations of this gaming laptop—one with the Core i5-10300H, and the other with the i7-10750H CPU. Despite the processor difference, both variants share 16GB of DDR4 RAM and 512GB SSD.

Our review unit of the MSI GF65 Thin 10UE boasts the high-end Core i7 processor which retails for NPR 215,000 in Nepal. On the other hand, the i5 variant costs NPR 190,000. It’s sad to see these price tags since the i7 configuration of this laptop goes for just USD 1,300 (~ NPR 155,000) in the international market.

CrystalDiskMark
Read (MB/s) Write (MB/s)
SEQ1M Q8T1 2232.07 1147.36
SEQ1M Q1T1 1925.42 1139.02
RND4K Q32T1 506.25 262.73
RNK4K Q1T1 65.95 147.35
Cinebench R23
CPU: Multi-Core 4737
CPU: Single Core 835
MP Ratio 5.67x
Geekbench 5
CPU: Single Core 1197
CPU: Multi-Core 5726
Compute (OpenCL) 82505
Unigine Heaven

(FPS: 114.0, Score: 2872, Min FPS: 9.1, Max FPS: 245.6)

API: OpenGL Multi-monitor: Disabled
Quality: High Anti-aliasing: x2
Tessellation: Extreme Fullscreen: Yes
Stereo 3D: Disabled Resolution: System
GFXBench
1440p Aztec Ruins OpenGL (High Tier) Offscreen 153.058 fps
1080p Car Chase Offscreen 341.440 fps
1080p Manhattan 3.1 Offscreen 459.853 fps
1080p ALU 2 Offscreen 1936.73 fps
1080p Driver Overhead 2 Offscreen 169.657 fps
1080p Texturing Offscreen 187.417 fps
3DMark
Overall Graphics Physics Combined
Fire Strike Extreme v1.1 8235 8554 17460 3975
Total Graphics CPU
Time Spy v1.2 6706 6801 6215

Anyway, even though it’s a last-gen CPU, the i7-10750H is still a powerful processor and it’s not given up on my day-to-day workloads. With 16GB of RAM onboard, multitasking has been no hiccup for this laptop either. Oh, by the way, you can upgrade both RAM and SSD on this thing if you want to. No soldered limitations here.

Upgradeable to Windows 11

And one more thing, many of you might be wondering if this device can be upgraded to Windows 11. Thankfully, it comes with TPM 2.0 pre-installed, thereby letting you upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft Windows when it becomes available.

In order to maintain a thin-and-light form factor, MSI has gone with the Max-Q design of RTX 3060 with a 75W TGP (Total Graphics Power). So, this RTX 3060 won’t be able to deliver as powerful a gaming performance as say, Ripple’s Raze Pro which boasts a high-TGP RTX 3060 (Max-P design). In spite of this, I was able to get impressive gaming results here.

Before talking numbers, let’s quickly discuss the MSI Dragon Center. It lets you toggle between different performance profiles while also allowing you to adjust fan speed settings. For the absolute best performance, there’s the “Extreme Performance” mode which cranks the speed of the dual-fan setup underneath to max. Under this, the fan noise is quite loud but that’s easily drowned out when putting on headphones during your gaming sessions.

Gaming experience

In relatively less graphic-intensive games like FIFA 2021, I managed to get a stable 160fps gameplay under the Highest graphics settings with 4X MSAA turned on. Even after playing the game continuously for more than 2 hours, I was impressed to see that there was no performance throttling of any sort.

Yet, the GF65’s thermal solution couldn’t quite keep up with such load as the upper portion of the keyboard deck got quite hot with such usage. The trio of exhaust vents—one on the left frame and two on the rear—blow warm air continuously although the dual fans and the integrated heatpipes couldn’t efficiently bring down the temperature.

Likewise, CS: GO is playable with 133 – 135fps under High graphics settings and 8X MSAA whereas Valorant gives you 138fps on average under High graphics and 4X MSAA. Contrary to these, playing demanding titles like Star Wars Battlefront II does take a toll on this gaming laptop.

GF65 Thin 10UE - Gaming

With DX12 turned on and graphics setting kept at High, I got around 48 – 49fps on average whereas that number jumped to 52 – 55fps when dialing down the settings to Medium. On the other hand, turning off DX12 altogether gives 99 – 106 and 108 – 114fps on average under High and Medium graphics settings, respectively.

Battery

  • 51 Watt-hour 3-cell battery
  • 180W AC power adapter

Finally, let’s talk about the battery life of this laptop. Throughout the review period, I managed to get 2 – 2.5 hours of screen-on time from the 51Wh battery on MSI GF65 Thin 10UE. My usage consisted of light photo editing and browsing multiple tabs on Chrome; with the performance profile set to Silent and brightness level at 70%.

GF65 Thin 10UE - Charger

For a gaming laptop, that’s a fairly standard battery endurance. And if you primarily work from home, then that’s never going to be a problem in the first place. However, those who are constantly on the run might find it tenuous exhausting to carry around the big power adapter. Unfortunately, the onboard USB-C ports don’t support power supply. Whereas, the 180W AC adapter takes around 2 hours to fully juice up this battery.

MSI GF65 Thin 10UE Review: Conclusion

To conclude this review of the MSI GF65 Thin 10UE, for its price, this is quite an average gaming laptop. Its mediocre display, last-gen 10th gen Intel CPU, plastic build quality, and sub-par battery life could be a dealbreaker to many. Additionally, at its price range, you can get something like the Asus TUF Dash F15 (2021) which is powered by the newer 11th gen processor—while also bringing a bigger battery and a relatively premium build quality.

MSI GF65 Thin 10UE Review: Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Portable build quality
  • Smooth 144Hz refresh rate
  • Efficient port selection
  • Great gaming performance
  • Decent thermal solution

Cons:

  • Sub-par display quality
  • Older 10th gen CPU
  • Average battery life
  • No USB-C power delivery
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design & Build
Display
Keyboard
Trackpad
Performance
Audio
Webcam
Battery
Value for Money