The MSI GE72 Apache Pro-001 is a midrange gaming laptop that performs on even the most recent game titles just like a high end gaming rig.
THE GOOD: Solid gaming performance. Full set of I/O ports.
THE BAD: No touch screen. Short battery life.
Some gaming laptops target on hitting the highest frame rate, but any pro-gamer will tell you that animation and rendering quality are equally important. The MSI GE72 Apache Pro-003 comes into play with the ability to play high-end games smoothly at full 1080p HD resolution; it adds MSI’s exclusive True Color Technology to help improve the quality of a game’s animation.
The big 17-inch screen puts your game visuals front and center, glitch-free. It’s equipped with the latest 6th generation (codenamed Skylake-released August 2015) Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of memory and 128 SSD +1TB hard drive storage. Draw backs like short battery life and portability, are outweighed by good connectivity, a nice screen and decent performance scores. It’s one solid laptop for any user who takes gaming seriously.
The GE72 has the signature look of a gaming laptop, set in a sleek body, measuring 1.14 by 11.02 by 16.49 inches (HWD) and weighing 6.4 pounds. A red accent stripe is embedded on the front, and a red G Series badge is set on the lid with a dragon on it. As a bonus for gamers, the system’s Steelseries chicklet-style keyboard has a multizone backlighting that is relentlessly colorful.
It is controlled by a pre-installed utility through which you can change the backlighting color, which is set to a trippy rainbow color scheme out of the box, or even turn it off completely. An added benefit with a 17.3 screen is that it gives enough room for a full keyboard with a separate numeric pad, unlike what you’d find in a 15-inch laptop. The texture touchpad below the keyboard has physical mouse buttons, which are easier to find in the heat of gaming than on a one-piece touchpad.
Built-in speakers, including a subwoofer, offer good output, capable of filling a medium-size room. The sub won’t shake the walls with bass, but it’s sufficient for games and watching films. The system’s rear-facing fans can be heard when you are taxing the system playing games, but it’s not overbearing. Battery life is a bit shorter than the competition.
The 17.3-inch screen uses embedded DisplayPort (eDP) technology, which gives the system a more direct connection to the graphics card. It is bright, with a full HD (1,920-by-1,080) resolution. The screen has a matte finish, but no touch screen, which would have helped users navigate the Windows 10 operating system that comes bundled with the system, like the Lenovo Y70 Touch. The Pro-001’s screen is nice and bright, displaying colors more vividly but you may notice some glare depending on the direction of the light source, although they claim that its anti-glare.
Connectivity is good: including an Ethernet port, a headset AMP + Gold Flash jacks, an HDMI port, a mini DisplayPort, an SD card reader, one USB 2.0 port, and two USB 3.0 ports. A DVD burner is present for older game titles and when you want to watch movies. We expected a Blu Ray drive, but its still a bonus as most manufacturers are completely ignoring optical drives in more recent releases.
Intel 3165 Stone Peak and Bluetooth 4.0 handle wireless connections. Using the HDMI and mini DisplayPort, the system can support two external displays simultaneously. Here you also have a front-facing webcam that shoots 1080p at 30fps, which is high quality for a laptop as most come with basic VGA webcams.
The sixth generation Intel Core i7-6700HQ (2.6GHz, Turbo 3.5GHz) and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M (with 3GB GDDR5 video memory) on the MSI GE72 Apache Pro-001 deliver impressive power on the gaming grid, with over benchmark CPU Mark scores. Apparently, this happens to be a lot more than your regular laptop processor with most struggling to deliver ~3500 points. There’s a 1TB hard drive for data storage and a 128GB M.2 solid-state drive for fast bootup and loading of your programs. While 128GB is a little tight once you install games on the drive, you can swap it with a larger SSD storage.
The GTX 970M graphics card may not be the highest in the class as we currently have GTX980M, like the one outfitted in the 17-inch ASUS ROG G751JY-WH71(WX) gaming laptop, but it does deliver some impressive frames per second (fps). Here we are looking at a gaming rig that can deliver upwards of 50-60fps on most games from 2015 and even upcoming 2016, including GTA5, while more RAM-taxing titles like Far Cry 4 will yield playable 24fps, all at high settings and 1920 by 1080 resolutions.
In fact, this are the same playable levels (or slightly better) you’d expect from other midrange gaming laptops in the same category like our Editors’ Choice the Alienware AW15R2-6161SLV for midrange gaming laptops. Away from games, a combination of features and components helps the laptop deliver on other projects such as media editing, word processing among others.
The 16GB DDR4 of system memory is upgradable to 32GB via two free DIMM slots; and DDR4 is supposedly faster than its predecessor DDR3-at least on paper. Still, this combination is potent enough for the best gaming experience and high settings whilst maintaining the eye candy of some of the latest games.
On a full charge you can 3.5 hours of juice but when gaming I don’t think you’re getting more than 2hrs, especially on graphic-intensive games. His is way shorter than the Acer Aspire V 15 that lasts almost an hour more (4:10), and theLenovo Y70 Touch leads the pack (4:33). Generally, it’s good enough for a movie session, but ensure that the AC adapter is at hand as you may need it in the middle of a play.
The MSI GE72 Apache Pro-003 is a midrange gaming laptop that performs on even the most recent game titles just like a high end gaming rig. While it does come with shorter battery life and lacks a Blu Ray drive, it punches on performance numbers and hubs gamer-friendly features like a 17.3-inch HD screen, and the Steelseries keyboard with multi-colored backlighting. Sure, the MSI GE72 has a good resolution, gives you a better experience on even the most-demanding titles, and after all, isn’t that the point?
If you have the means, you can rule the game grid with this system, and it deserves an extra look as you shop around. For our top pick in the midrange gaming category, there’s always the Editors’ Choice Alienware AW15R2-6161SLV while the Dell Inspiron i7559-763BLK is our Editors’ Choice for budget entry-level gaming category, both thanks to superb performance and solid battery life.