Every laptop makes compromises, but some try to hide them more aggressively than others. The MSI GT680R is the opposite – it does nothing to disguise its advantages, and nothing to curb its weaknesses. This is a reasonably priced, blazing quick gaming laptop. It’s not quiet, or pretty, or practical, but it does what it was meant to do.

There’s just one problem. The competition plays this game as well, particularly ASUS, which is happy to offer ASUS G series laptops at incredibly low prices. Currently, Newegg lists the ASUS G53SW, the GT680R’s direct competitor, for $1199. That’s $300 less. Sure, it only has 6GB of RAM and a single 500GB hard drive, but all of the hardware that matters for gaming – the processor, video card and the display – is identical to what you’ll find in the GT680R. I also prefer the styling of the ASUS G53, which is strictly conservative. 

MSI’s GT680R does have its advantages. The sound quality is superb, and the connectivity options – as well as their placement – are superior to the competition. But these advantages do not justify the higher price. The story might be different if MSI built this laptop with higher quality materials, and it might be different if the touchpad wasn’t a mess. As it stands, however, the MSI GT680R costs too much for what it offers.


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