On the outside the GT80 exemplifies what we've come to expect of a gaming laptop, with a "freaking huge" chassis that Laptop Magazine found both "graceful and imposing." Open it up, however, and you'll lay eyes on the real star of the show here: a genuine mechanical keyboard, outfitted with Cherry MX Brown switches for a typing experience that TrustedReviews calls "streets ahead of other gaming notebooks" with keys that "hammer down with huge speed and precision."
To accommodate this unusual feature, MSI had to make a few design changes, moving the keyboard to the edge of the machine and placing the trackpad to the right instead, a decision that AnandTech says "makes a lot of sense" and "works better than you might suspect." Even if the trackpad's layout doesn't work out for you, you're more likely to use a mouse to game anyway. The one big drawback is that the keyboard's position leaves little room for your hands, but thankfully MSI bundled in a palm rest that PC Gamer finds "oh-so-comfortable."
It's good that it's so comfortable, because the GT80 delivers "powerhouse" performance that impressed Eurogamer, exceeding the capabilities of even many desktop machines boasting GTX 980 or Titan X graphics cards. It blew other gaming laptops out of the water, with PC World finding it "unbelievably fast" and TechRadar calling it "one of the best performing machines I've ever tested."
Unfortunately, the heavy-hitting performance of the GT80 comes at the usual cost -- added weight and low battery life. It's "one of the heaviest laptops" TechRadar has ever reviewed, with "virtually non-existent" battery life. However, Eurogamer notes that "a desktop replacement is likely to spend much of its life plugged in," and AnandTech says that despite the size, the entire package is "pretty smartly done."
With its enormous bulk and low battery life, it's unlikely you'll be taking the GT80 anywhere -- even with the handy backpack that MSI so thoughtfully provided. This is more like having an all-in-one machine that is so inclusive it even has a built-in mechanical keyboard. And if you like that kind of convenience the GT80 will serve you just fine -- though you might want to pick up a gaming mouse on the side.