MSI GT72: Unboxing and Initial Impressions

Since this is a preview, I figure starting out with unboxing is in order. Yeah, unboxing on AnandTech, but bear with me. I'll get to the notebook once it's unwrapped….

The packaging is typical MSI, with a mostly black box sporting the MSI and Dragon Army logos along with information on the specific configuration. The notebook actually ships in a box within a box within another box, and there's a moderate amount of padding around the notebook to help keep it safe during shipping. Within the main box, the notebook is protected from scratches by a nylon sleeve, and furthermore there's a plastic sheet protecting the top of the notebook with a cloth sheet (that can also work as a cloth for cleaning off dust) between the display and the keyboard. There's nothing too unusual to see with the packaging, so let's move on to the notebook itself.

Having tested and used the GT70 several times during the past year or more, I'm actually thrilled to see MSI finally update the GT70 with a newer chassis. While this is still a big notebook, it's noticeably slimmer than the GT70 and the keyboard and palm rest have been updated to look like a modern design. The touchpad in particular looks much nicer now, blending smoothly into the surface of the palm rest; there's no edge for you to feel when using the touchpad, but since most gamers will use a dedicated mouse I don't find this to be a serious concern.

As for the keyboard, it remains largely the same in terms of the keys, but gone is the glossy bezel surrounding those keys – hallelujah! The top of the chassis is also clean now, with no garish speakers or capacitive buttons for controlling multimedia, WiFi, fan speed, etc.; those controls are now to the left of the keyboard and they look far more discreet. My only remaining complaint is minor at best: I still want the Windows key to the left of the space bar; others probably disagree and it's easy enough to adapt, plus you can use the MSI Steel Series software to reprogram any key if you want (except for the Fn key, unfortunately).

There's only one real sore spot I have with the GT72: the display. It's a bit maddening to me that MSI now has the GS60 with either an AHVA (similar to IPS) 1920x1080 panel or an IPS 2880x1620, but the 17.3" GT72 still gets saddled with a TN panel. Where's the 3K or 4K treatment for the laptop that has the best chance of actually powering games at high DPI resolutions? Oh, this is probably about as good as TN panels get, but it's still TN and not something better. Part of the problem is that there really aren't many options for non-TN 17.3" displays, but I know Samsung at least has a PLS 1080p panel that could work. Hopefully in the coming year we'll see enough demand from notebook vendors in general that we start getting higher quality 17.3" panels.

Overall, the new GT72 chassis is a huge improvement in my book. It looks more like a beefed up version of the GS60/GS70, and the build quality is also good. In fact, the new GT72 almost looks like an Alienware M17x in some respects, though without so much of the angled front and back sides. This is still more of a desktop replacement than a laptop in my opinion, but compared to the competition (Alienware 17 and various Clevo notebooks), I think right now the MSI GT72 is the overall best looking high-end gaming notebook. It's also large enough and has sufficient cooling that it won't get uncomfortably hot in your lap, which is a problem with some of the slim gaming notebooks (e.g. Razer Blade and MSI's GS60/GS70).

Introducing the MSI GT72 Dominator Pro MSI GT72: Ultra Quality Gaming Performance
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  • Ironchef3500 - Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - link

    I'll take one.
  • Da W - Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - link

    I'll take one of those in a 27" touchscreen all-in-one
  • rodolfwelsh - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    I think you might be missing some of the best gaming laptops when you consider MSI GT72 (see for example), at least in my opinion.
  • Highlanderwolf - Monday, April 20, 2015 - link

    And I think that you've clearly missed the difference between a "best gaming laptop" and a "best general use" laptop, considering the fact that you linked a chart placing THREE CHROMEBOOKS above an Asus ROG laptop. At least, that's my opinion.
  • Aegrum - Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - link

    Curious to see what the thermals look like. I know this class has suffered from a less-than-ideal cooling solution in the past, but this new chassis leads me to believe they've addressed that...?
  • Khenglish - Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - link

    Seconded. If MSI picks up their cooling then there is no reason to pick Clevo over them anymore.
  • Khenglish - Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - link

    Well I did some google searches and the CPU cooling looks on par with clevo, but the GPU cooling looks inferior. The fan is not quite a large and spins the wrong way. In addition the GPU core heatpipes only appear to be 5mm, which is the same as the older HM and EM series, but smaller than the dual 6mm on modern SM series. If MSI doesn't warp their die contact plates like clevo does though then unmodded cooling may end up better anyway.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - link

    I haven't looked into this in detail yet, but it looks like the cooling is doing better than before. Clevo's fans are still larger and more powerful, but the laptops are also thicker to accommodate those fans. ASUS still has the quietest gaming solution in my experience, but the G750 is larger than the G72 I'm pretty sure.
  • xenol - Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - link

    ASUS's G series has really good cooling without having the laptop take up as much volume as a boat anchor.
  • Meaker10 - Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - link

    The G750 series are just as big and do not offer upgradable cards.

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