Keyboard & Trackpad / Upgrade Options
Keyboard & Trackpad
SteelSeries is well known in the gaming industry for their uncompromising commitment to providing gamers with the best peripherals possible so we had some high expectations for the keyboard they provided MSI’s GX70. Our experience was mostly positive but there are some areas in need of improvement.
Feedback is generally excellent with just the right amount bounce-back from every one of the keys when typing, though the small Enter and left Shift buttons quickly become an annoyance in some situations. The whole keyboard is also slightly recessed into the chassis meaning a longer than normal finger reach will be needed but this is tempered by the fact that MSI has angled the whole notebook to ensure it is ergonomically perfect for long-term use
The learning curve on this keyboard is minimal but there is a nearly imperceptible flex in certain critical areas. It won’t be noticed until gaming enters the equation but when that happens, the lack of reinforcement on the WASD keys becomes abundantly obvious since the keys have so little travel to begin with. Under no circumstance is this a glaring flaw but it will definitely be picked up by serious gamers.
Maximizing the amount of horizontal space for a slightly more spacious layout would have been preferable since the keyboard does feel a bit cramped. Some separation between the number pad and the main buttons would have been welcome since its current position alongside the direction arrows leads to the stunted Enter and Shift buttons. While typing this review, we constantly hit the Up or 4 keys instead of those two, causing no small amount of frustration.
On the positive side, the GX70’s keyboard is completely backlit and has various intensity settings making it the perfect companion for mobile gaming.
There have been very few notebooks which have absolutely nailed the trackpad experience but this isn’t one of them. The unit included on MSI’s GX70 does feature excellent palm recognition, a good border and nearly perfect placement. Its physical keys are also welcome addition considering the number of disastrous outings we’ve had with integrated buttons and there’s even a handy switch next to the keyboard to completely turn it off. Unfortunately, that’s where the fun stops but MSI is only partially to blame here.
The trackpad has plenty of real estate but its functions don’t work particularly well with the GX70’s Windows 8 OS. For whatever reason, it just doesn’t seem to support the countless navigation eccentricities Microsoft rolled into their latest operating system and as a result, navigating the Metro UI becomes a lesson in extreme frustration. Ironically, all of the gesture controls are present and accounted for within the trackpad’s associated driver. As a matter of habit, we’d normally place most of the blame on Microsoft’s horrid software but MSI and their partners could have made the experience a bit more user friendly.
Gaming notebooks typically include for some user access to upgrade the system’s memory or hard drive but that isn’t the case here. MSI doesn’t allow for any modification to their original hardware and protects the GX70’s internals with a Warranty Void if Removed sticker.
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