MSI GE72 2QD Apache Pro review: A dream laptop for gamers
MSI doesn’t do middle-of-the-road laptops – it makes brash, in-your-face laptops built for gaming. With the GE72 2QD Apache Pro, MSI delivers a 17in beast of a laptop stuffed with powerful components at a modest price.
Despite its gaming pedigree, the Apache Pro is a surprisingly pretty laptop. The bottom may be made of molded plastic, but the lid and keyboard surround are clad in luxurious brushed black aluminium. Compared with the rather bland Chillblast Helix 2 or the angular plastic of Dell’s Alienware 17 R2, MSI’s machine feels rather luxurious.
Once you switch it on, the Apache Pro has a real treat in store: a hallucinogenic haze of ever-changing lights that gleam out from beneath the keyboard. You can switch these off but – call me crazy – I rather liked them, especially the option to create a rainbow selection.
Normally, I wouldn’t bother to mention a laptop’s trackpad, but I can’t fathom why MSI thought it wise to carry the chassis’ brushed aluminium texture over to surface of the touchpad. It’s a terrible design decision that ruins its usability. Thankfully, since most keen gamers use a dedicated gaming mouse, it’s unlikely to be little more than a minor irritation for most.
As with most 17in gaming laptops, the GE72 is a desk hog. It measures 419 x 280 x 29mm (WDH) in size and weighs a hefty 2.7kg without the charger, so you’re not going to want to lug it around. Still, this is a do-it-all laptop designed to replace your hulking desktop – it even has a DVD-writer.
MSI GE27 2QD Apache Pro: Specifications
At the heart of it all is a fifth-generation Intel Core i7-5700HQ with a nominal clock speed of 2.7GHz, turbo boosting to 3.5GHz in times of need. Backing that up is a respectable 8GB of RAM, although you can up that to 16GB, plus an Nvidia GeForce GTX 960m supplied with 2GB of GDDR5 memory. When you don’t need the power of the 960m, Intel’s own on-chip HD Graphics 5600 GPU takes over and eases the burden on the battery.
As for storage, the Apache Pro is equipped with a 128GB SSD plus a mechanical 1TB hard disk. With Windows 10 installed on the SSD, the Apache Pro boots in seconds, which is always welcome.
Connectivity is also excellent, especially when it comes to video. You can plug in two external monitors via the HDMI and DisplayPort outputs, and if you’re lucky enough to own two 4K monitors, you can output to both at the same time – although don’t expect smooth, full resolution gaming if you do.
The speakers Dynaudio-branded speakers pump out substantial sound and, even on the loudest setting, don’t distort. However, if you’re playing using an external keyboard and mouse (as your hands aren’t pressing the laptop down on the desk) the chassis does tend to resonate and vibrate at higher volume levels.
Elsewhere, you have everything you’d expect from a high-end laptop: three USB 3 ports, one USB 2, dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.0 and an SD card slot.
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