Tech reviews

Review – MSI Creator 17 with the world’s first Mini LED backlit display


Let’s take a look at the brand new MSI Creator 17 here, with the codename of A10SFS. The main highlight of this laptop right here is the display as it is the world’s first laptop to be equipped with Mini LED backlight technology. Let’s talk about it.

The one we have here is the highest-spec configuration, but it’s also available in a lower-spec variant and also has the same mini LED backlit display that we’re talking about here.

The MSI Creator 17 is the world’s first laptop to be equipped with mini LED backlight. With its beautiful 4K “IPS-level” LCD panel, this is one of the best displays I’ve seen on a laptop. Learn more about the science behind it here.

A little introduction on how displays work

Let’s backtrack a little and talk about how a display works. In simple terms, there are two independent components in a modern screen – the backlight, and also the LCD layer. The LCD reacts and changes the pixels to show what it’s supposed to show, and the backlight illuminates the LCD so we can see what’s going on.

MSI Creator 17

Without the backlight, then it’ll be back to the Gameboy days where we’ll need an external light source.

What’s it like to use a laptop with mini LED backlight

And the Mini LED technology is a different type of backlight technology. As the name suggests, the entire backlight is filled with an array of tiny little LEDs, illuminating the display. Every single mini LED measures in at only 0.2mm, it is able to provide even lighting across the screen at a much higher brightness compared to conventional backlight technologies.

MSI Creator 17

And I have to say, the Mini LED backlight in the MSI Creator 17 is really as bright as an OLED screen – like the Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED that I’ve reviewed here.

And since the screen on the MSI Creator 17 is so bright, it is certified for VESA DisplayHDR 1000 as well. And yes, viewing content in HDR is just too beautiful.

MSI Creator 17

To “emulate” the contrast of an OLED panel, the Mini LED in the MSI Creator 17 has a total of 240 local dimming zones, so that it can dim certain areas. But since it doesn’t have the granularity like OLEDs to turn every single pixel off, there is a visible halo when viewing a white object on a black background. But thanks to that 240 local dimming zones, the halo is really difficult to see.

MSI Creator 17

While we praise the mini LED for its brightness, we also have to praise it for its dimness because let’s be real here – we’re never going to use the laptop at its highest brightness all of the time.

Okay, so let’s talk about colors. MSI included a lot of different color profiles within the MSI Creator Center software, so we can switch between the commonly-known sRGB, Adobe RGB, DCI-P3, and some other color spaces that I’ve never heard of before. While we’re talking about color spaces, thanks to MSI for educating me back on what’s the difference between the 3 commonly-known color spaces.

MSI Creator 17

But remember – the specialty of the MSI Creator 17’s screen here, is the backlight. It’s still using a conventional IPS LCD for color, which we have to be honest here – it’s definitely not the most color-accurate display we’ve seen with our own two eyes, but it’s very good to the point where I immediately noticed that a previous video’s white balance is wrong.

I’d say, the mini LED backlight with IPS LCD panel has traits from both OLED and conventional LED backlit screen. It doesn’t have burn-in issue but has local dimming zones for better contrast while having brightness levels close to what an OLED has. So far, I’m loving this technology.

MSI Creator 17 A10SFS
At its lowest and highest brightness settings.

As for the MSI Creator 17 itself

Okay so now enough about the screen. Let’s talk about the laptop here. It’s packed with:

  • Intel Core i7-10875H
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q
  • 2x16GB RAM at 2666MHz
  • 1TB NVMe SSD

Performance is great – and I edited a number of videos using this laptop because of its amazing performance and obviously magnificent screen.

MSI Creator 17

However, I’m not particularly liking how the fan sounds because these fans are not the low-pitched hum. They whirl up and it sounds quite loud – especially if you’re editing using loudspeakers like I do.

Other than that, it’s pretty much the same as the Prestige P75 Creator 9SD that we reviewed last year. They have the same chassis with a pretty lightweight build – and even with the same color too.

MSI Creator 17

The keyboard is also the same, whereby it’s soft to type on and I like its responsiveness. The ultra-wide trackpad is also the same and with a fingerprint scanner as well. My complaints about the Prestige P75 Creator 9SD apply here to the Creator 17 too – like the huge “waterfall” between the spacebar and the trackpad.

While the ports are also the same as the Prestige P75 Creator 9SD from last year, some of them got a speed upgrade.

So all in all, for the price of RM13,999 – it might seem like a pretty high price – but actually, it’s not. When we compared the MSI Creator 17 spec-by-spec with other laptops in the market, that price tag of RM13,999 isn’t that far off. There is definitely some price premium involved here but definitely way lesser than what we expected.

MSI Creator 17 A10SFS

And let’s not forget – the Creator 17 is the world’s first – and as far as this review is written – the only laptop in the world that uses a mini LED backlit display.

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