Screen and Speakers
The 15.6-inch diagonal display on the GX660R features LED backlighting and a 16:9 aspect ratio with 1920 x 1080 resolution. This is a huge step up from the pathetic 1366 x 768 screen used on the older GT660R and is a nice surprise to see on any 15-inch notebook.
The new display is very nice with a peak brightness level of 205 nit and a contrast ratio of 184:1 as tested in our lab. The color saturation is good within the narrow vertical viewing angle sweet spot. Horizontal viewing angles (side view) are very good out to extreme angles, meaning this screen should be fine for sharing a Blu-ray or DVD movie with a friend.
The MSI GX660 series features the same Dynaudio-branded premium speakers and a built-in subwoofer found on the earlier GT660 series. Dynaudio supplies the car speakers for Volvo, Volkswagen and Bugatti so they aren’t exactly a new name in the audio market. Like most of the premium speakers on multimedia notebooks, Dynaudio tweaks the audio drivers and equalizer settings to deliver better-than-average sound quality.
Be prepared for a very impressive audio experience when you open this notebook and listen to your music or play your first game. The large stereo speakers and subwoofer produce a fantastic range of highs, midtones and low frequencies that let you hear all the subtle details in your favorite games and music.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Chiclet-style keyboard on the GX660R offers a reasonably enjoyable typing experience and is also fine for hours of gameplay. Individual keys are a little mushy and the center of the keyboard flexes inward under heavy typing pressure, but the individual key action still delivers acceptable feedback when pressed. The typical gaming keys of W,A,S,D feature special red paint to help you quickly identify where your fingers need to be during a game (just in case you didn’t already know). Each key is flat with a nice matte texture and a little extra spacing to prevent typos. I was a little annoyed that MSI didn’t include an LED backlit keyboard considering that there are multiple decorative LEDs all over the exterior of the notebook. A backlit keyboard would have been far more useful than lights next to the touchpad or under the edges of the palm rests.
The touchpad itself offers a quality interface with a lightly textured surface and excellent responsiveness. The touchpad itself feels just the right size for the notebook: any smaller and it would have been too small and any larger would have made this notebook even bigger than it already is. The touchpad drivers provide excellent accuracy and minimal lag with a range of options. The touchpad buttons are hidden under a single “rocker bar” and have a shallow press with audible “click” when pressed. I really hate single touchpad buttons, but at least MSI was wise enough to put a notch in the middle so you can feel the obvious separation between the left and right sides. Although separate buttons are idea, at least you can tell where the left touchpad button ends and the right button begins.