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Hands-on with the world’s first miniLED laptop: MSI’s Creator 17

Hands-on with the world's first miniLED laptop: MSI's Creator 17


Hands-on with the world’s first miniLED laptop: MSI’s Creator 17

With the MSI Creator 17, we have seen the light. As the name implies, the laptop features a 17.3-inch, 16:9 screen with a UHD 4K resolution panel. But it’s not the size, nor the resolution, that matters here. As the first laptop in the world with a miniLED screen, it’s crisper and brighter (can you say 1,000 nits?!) than anything we’ve seen before. 

Typical laptops use standard LEDs that are larger and limit the density in a laptop screen. A typical display LED might be 2mm in size.

A miniLED could be a tenth the size of that conventional LED. Being able to pack LEDs closer together inside of a display means the potential for more zones, which gives you blacker blacks, and increased contrast, too.

msi creator 17 Gordon Mah Ung

The MSI Creator 17 is relatively thin and has the same footprint of most 17-inch laptops. The silver color is designed to help it blend in.

The most eye-catching part, though, is that brightness. A budget laptop might barely hit 230 nits, while most gaming laptops push 300. Laptops such as Gigabyte’s Aero 17 and its HDR400 4K panel may emit up to 450 nits. The MSI’s HDR1000 panel hits 1,000 nits on paper. We measured ours at about 940 nits.

For a quick comparison we set up Gigabyte’s Aero 17 with its HDR 400, 4K and 10-bit panel next to the Creator 17, and ran both through a photo and video shoot-out. Both are large, yet slim, laptops aimed at content creators who need a little portability. 

The Aero 17’s panel, an AU Optronics 329B, is no slouch itself at greater than 400 nits. But next to the Creator 17’s AU Optronics AUO278E, it definitely was at a loss for brightness. Photos on the Creator 17 had a pop and intensity that at times made the Aero 17’s panel look pale. Playing back video on the Creator 17, scenes of fire exploded off the screen with an intensity that just can’t be done with conventional screens.

msi creator 17 4 Gordon Mah Ung

Want to know why the the TV HDR 1000 demos use flames? Because they’re bright to make you feel like you’re there.

Not all was perfect. Even though the panel reports that it is 10-bit capable, Windows recognized it as an 8-bit panel. That gave the Aero 17’s 10-bit the advantage in the display of smoother gradations.

We can’t say the Creator 17’s miniLED panel has that black-hole contrast of an OLED, but it was pretty good. And we have yet to see a 17-inch OLED in a laptop. Most, we suspect, are just getting out of the way for miniLED panels and eventually microLED, which is expected to offer near OLED-levels of contrast.