Price Analysis And Conclusion
MSI's gaming laptops seem to be hit or miss for us. The GT73VR Titan Pro-201 and GS63VR Stealth Pro-034 proved to be hits. The Titan Pro featured an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080, making it the most powerful system we've tested; the Stealth Pro packed an impressive punch in a thin and light package, beating a similarly configured Razer Blade 14. On the other hand, the GP62MVR Leopard Pro-218 suffered from poor gaming performance because it only had the 3GB version of the GTX 1060. The GE72VR Apache Pro-010 is a mixed bag, but we're erring to the side of "miss."
The Apache Pro's lack of system memory didn't exhibit any major issues during the synthetic and productivity tests. It trades blows with the Asus Strix 17 and even has the upper hand in terms of storage because of its 128GB Samsung SM951 SSD. Cooling performance is exceptional as well, and although our Optris camera reported high temperatures, the GPU diode remained cool. On the surface, the Apache Pro appears to be a solid contender.
Things change when we focus on the Apache Pro's gaming prowess, and its lack of memory becomes an issue when faced with extremely demanding games. In easy-to-run titles such as Bioshock Infinite and Alien: Isolation, the Intel Core i7-6700HQ and a GTX 1060 have enough horsepower to achieve well above 60 average FPS, so the performance hit isn't as severe. However, our suite includes a number of games that easily pull even the GTX 1070-equipped Gigabyte P37X v6 below 60 FPS, so every little ounce of performance makes a difference. In some cases, the Asus Strix 17 and Gigabyte P57W's extra 4GB of memory made the difference between playable and unplayable frame rates. Across the board, the Apache Pro took last place against the competition.
Outside of gaming, the MSI Apache Pro also exhibits poor battery life, clocking in at about an hour and 35 minutes. This is disappointing considering two other GTX 1060 laptops in our comparison either come close to or exceed two hours. Additionally, while the Apache Pro's display has decent overall color accuracy, its contrast and grayscale accuracy are lackluster. Top that all off with mediocre build quality, and the Apache Pro no longer looks quite as attractive.
The last and perhaps most important facet to consider is price. At $1,500, the MSI Apache Pro is $100 more than the Asus Strix 17 and trades off better performance and battery life for a 128GB SSD. This would have been a good trade had if there had been no alternative to the Apache Pro at this price point. An identical Asus Strix 17 with an additional 256GB SSD is normally priced at $1,600, but at the time of this writing it can be found for $1,500. Such a configuration would not suffer drawbacks from lack of memory, plus it would feature the robust build quality we commended the Strix 17 for previously.
Unfortunately, the MSI GE72VR Apache Pro-010 doesn't impress us as much as its contemporaries did. To shine at such a competitive price point, the Apache Pro must bring better quality, performance, and design to the gaming laptop table.
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