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MSI GE72 6QF Apache Pro review - Skylake powered gaming

Richard Easton
16 Dec 2015
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
MSI GE72 6QF Apache Pro teaser
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,257
inc VAT

Page 1 of 2MSI GE72 6QF Apache Pro review - Skylake powered gaming

The MSI GE72 6QF Apache Pro is eminently powerful and sets the early benchmark for Skylake gaming laptops

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MSI’s gaming laptops all have the same hulking black chassis, and the GE72 6QF Apache Pro is no different. The brushed aluminium finish looks familiar, as does the crimped lid and splashes of red. It’s an aggressive look typical of gaming laptops, going some way to matching the rather imposing size. Weighing a significant 2.7kg and at 27mm thick, the GE72 is hardly designed for portable use, but it's actually 2kg lighter than the behemoth Asus G751JT.

Display

The screen is, as you would expect, the reason for the large footprint. The 1,920x1x080 resolution is the minimum we would expect from a screen this size, but the anti-glare matt coating means you aren’t distracted by reflections. Black levels were respectably deep at 0.37cd/m2, and a peak brightness of 330cd/m2 was high enough that you can just get away with outdoor use in a pinch. Contrast was a little lower than we’d have liked, with a ratio of 808:1, but images and video still had enough punch. At 86% of the sRGB gamut, colour accuracy was on par for a gaming laptop, but below what you’d want for professional work.

The accompanying speakers are surprisingly impactful, with real presence and volume. A headset will still be best for gaming, but the GE72 is fine for casual listening.

MSI GE72 6QF Apache Pro back

Keyboard and touchpad

Gaming peripheral maker SteelSeries has supplied the backlit keyboard. There's just enough travel and feedback from the keys so that accuracy isn't hindered. Keys are well spaced, so you're not going to mishit keys as you frantically mash at the keyboard during an intense gunfight or raid. It has the usual macro customisations you would expect of a gaming keyboard, available through the pre-installed customisation software, but there aren't dedicated macro keys. With plenty of room on the chassis, a vertical row of macro keys could easily have fit, as is the case on gaming laptops from Gigabyte, but as it stands macros become a bit fiddly to use. The customisation software extends to customising the colours and brightness levels of the keys, too.

The reasonably-sized touchpad is located off-centre below the keyboard, but won’t likely get much use for gaming, where a USB mouse makes more sense. Even in day-to-day use it was a little frustrating, with occasionally unresponsive multi-finger gestures and a rough finish.

MSI GE72 6QF Apache Pro keyboard

Performance

MSI has made the switch to Intel’s Skylake platform for the GE72, opting for a quad-core i6-6700HQ that runs at 2.6GFHz and can boost up to 3.6GHz when temperatures allow. This is paired with 16GB of 2,133MHz DDR4 memory, and delivers a respectable performance jump over the Haswell processor found in last year’s GE62. Scores were impressive across the board, with an overall of 116 versus 105 on Haswell, but Skylake excels at multitasking and video encoding in particular.

The GE72 relies on an Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M with 3GB of GDDR5 memory for the all-important gaming performance. Frame rates were on par with other 970M-equipped systems, with 84.5fps in Dirt Showdown at 1,920x1,080 and Ultra graphics, and 30.5fps in Metro Last Light at 1,920x1,080 and SSAA enabled. Turning this off saw this leap to 55fps.

Page 1 of 2MSI GE72 6QF Apache Pro review - Skylake powered gaming