Laptop: MSI GT72 2QE Dominator Pro

MSI has refreshed its top-of-the-line Dominator Pro gaming laptop with a new design.

Its front edge gets two red LED strips while the exhaust vents at the back now appear to be inspired by automobiles.

This 17.3-inch laptop is still as bulky and heavy as its predecessor. Not only does it weigh 3.8kg, but it also comes with a chunky power brick.

That is the price you pay for top mobile graphics performance - the GT72 comes with the latest Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M graphics chip.

While you should not expect to play games for more than an hour on this laptop when it is unplugged - it only lasted about three hours running a video in our battery life test - its graphics performance is certainly impressive.

The previous MSI Dominator Pro (with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 880M) managed a decent 35 frames per second in Crysis 3 at Very High setting, but there were moments when things felt choppy. The new model delivered 47 frames per second and a smooth, lag-free gaming experience.

Its matte 1,920 x 1,080-pixel screen is exactly what gamers want, though it is not an IPS (in-plane switching) display. This means that viewing angles are decent rather than excellent. Colours also look more muted than on an IPS screen.

Key travel is decent, though I was more fascinated by the countless combinations of colours you can set for the keyboard backlight.

On the left of the keyboard are new short-cut keys to trigger features such as the XSplit software, which lets you stream and record your games as videos. Another key cycles through the dazzling keyboard backlight options.

The absence of a gap or boundary between the touchpad and the surrounding palm rest makes for a more comfortable place to rest your palm and wrist. Most of the time, the touchpad is redundant as a gamer will plug in his own gaming mouse.

The internal fans were audible but not overly noisy when Crysis 3 was playing. The GT72 runs relatively cool for a gaming laptop.

Equipped with four 128GB solid-state drives configured in Raid 0, the laptop feels fast and responsive with the Windows 8.1 desktop. A secondary 1TB hard drive is included for extra storage capacity.

Those who order this laptop in the next two weeks will also get bundled items including gaming accessories worth a total of $509. It somewhat lessens the sticker shock - this gaming laptop costs $5,499.

Powerful though this gaming laptop may be, its price is quite hard to swallow. vinchang@sph.com.sg

TECH SPECS

Price: $5,499

Processor: Intel Core i7-4980HQ (2.8GHz)

Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M GDDR5 8GB

RAM: 32GB

Screen size: 17.3 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels

Connectivity: 6 x USB 3.0, 2x Mini-DisplayPort, HDMI, Ethernet port, SD card slot, headphone and microphone combo jacks

Battery: 83 watt-hour

RATING

Features: 4/5

Design: 4/5

Performance: 5/5

Value for money: 1/5

Battery life: 1/5

Overall: 4/5


This article was first published on Oct 29, 2014.
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