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 MSIís 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 wonít 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 GX70ís 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 isnít one of them. The unit included on MSIís 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 weíve had with integrated buttons and thereís even a handy switch next to the keyboard to completely turn it off. Unfortunately, thatís where the fun stops but MSI is only partially to blame here.
The trackpad has plenty of real estate but its functions donít work particularly well with the GX70ís Windows 8 OS. For whatever reason, it just doesnít 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 trackpadís associated driver. As a matter of habit, weíd normally place most of the blame on Microsoftís 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 systemís memory or hard drive but that isnít the case here. MSI doesnít allow for any modification to their original hardware and protects the GX70ís internals with a Warranty Void if Removed sticker.
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