Our first impression of the GT72? Looks just like most high-end gaming notebooks out there – colorful LED, unusual shape, keyboard with a numpad, etc.
There’s a pair of LED at the front of the chassis for that extra bling.
The type of key switches used on the keyboard is the scissor switch which is commonly used on low profile keyboards.
There’s RGB LED located at the bottom of each keys and these LED can be customized to your liking with the SteelSeries Engine software.
- F5: Eco mode (power saving mode) for lower power consumption
- F6: Enable / Disable the webcam.
- F10: Airplane mode that disables all network connection
- F12: Hibernate mode to put the system to sleep
- Up & down arrow keys from screen brightness adjustment
- left & right arrow keys for volume adjustment
- numpad 0 for enabling / disabling the system sound
- Power button to turn on the system / force shutdown
- Toggle between the Intel HD graphics and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 870M
- Increase the fan speed for extra ventilation (Cooler Boost)
- Launch XSplit Gamecaster for easily recording gaming moments, broadcasting and sharing live gameplay sessions to Twitch, YouTube, UStream and more
- Launch the SteelSeries Engine keyboard customization and lighting software
For the gaming test, we’ve ran few graphically demanding games on ultra settings to see if the GT72 2PC is able to handle these games with playable gameplay. We take 30 FPS as the marker of our benchmark as it’s still considered as a playable frame rate.
The result turns out pretty well and we’re seeing a rough numbers that circles around 30 FPS even under ultra settings. Advanced Warfare, Far Cry 4, Battlefield 4 and Crysis 3 is among the games with lowest FPS recorded during our test but we didn’t notice any significant stutters that will affect the overall gaming experience.
The speakers performance exceeded our initial expectation for it as a sound system on a notebook. While gaming notebook manufacturer claimed that their speakers is able to deliver the promising audio quality but it turns out that not many is able to achieve that.
The Dynaudio speakers delivers clear and powerful sound stage during gaming and movie session that is pretty satisfying despite of its size. When it comes to music test, the sound quality isn’t as good as what we’ve experienced with games and movies as playing music in lossless format (FLAC, WAV) and high quality MP3 (320K) doesn’t makes much of a difference.
When it comes to gaming keyboard, we’re expecting for design and feature that is beneficial to gamers. Designed by the renown gaming peripherals manufacturer SteelSeries, the keyboard on the GT72 comes with fancy lighting and key mapping that appears to be helpful for the gamers, but we find that the keyboard itself is lacking of the N-key rollover feature that has been widely used on most expensive gaming keyboards on the market.
We’ve tried the commonly used key combination for FPS games and everything seems well for now.
The commonly used key combination for racing games seems okay as well.
When we tried playing rhythm games that requires simultaneous keys to be pressed at the same time, the signal blocking issue arises and the maximum amount of keys that can be registered simultaneously is limited to 6 keys (not including modifier keys). We’ve tried configuring the key configuration on other area of the keyboard and there’s not way for us to resolve the issue.
With this feature you can customize the buttons with macros according to your liking and needs.
You can customize the effect, lighting and colors of the RGB LED available on the GT72 which later can be activated with FN key + 1 / 2 /3 / 4 keys for each configured layer.
Not a fancy feature but it might comes in handy if the keyboard layout doesn’t match the current keyboard on your GT72.
Here you can configure which profile to be activated when an application is launched to suit your current mood.
Enabling the statistics will record details such as most frequent pressed keys so you can plan for the best macro configuration that will help to makes your daily tasks, gaming, etc easier.
While immersive entertainment experience is pretty much guaranteed, what’s holding it back is the battery life that isn’t really impressive when it’s not attached with its charger – as it will only last for about 2 hours on a continuous gaming session and around 4 hours for watching movies when the power settings is set to high performance.
On aesthetics aspect, the MSI Gaming GT72 2PC Dominator Pro is sculpted with an appearance that resembles an alien spacecraft that will give an impression of a high-end gaming notebook to almost anyone who first set their eyes on it, especially for its customizable keyboard back lighting.
In terms of graphics performance, we find 30 FPS is still a comfortable FPS count to game on but as not many will feel comfortable to gaming on 30 FPS (or less), turning down the graphics to high / medium will yield higher FPS count and smoother gameplay. What’s best is that you’re able to upgrade the existing GPU to the latest Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M / 980M without having to buy another gaming notebook solely for better graphics, thanks to the swappable GPU design.
Cooling performance is excellent and we have nothing much to complaint about except for the slightly increase noise as the result for both cooling fans operating at maximum speed. If you’re worried that having the cooling fans operating at maximum speed will encourage faster dust build up, have no fear as removing the bottom cover to clean up the cooling fans is as easy as pie.
The drawbacks that we find is its weight, size, battery-life. At this point we’ve already know that it’s a powerful gaming machine that is made portable, but we cannot deny the fact that the MSI Gaming GT72 2PC Dominator Pro is still one bulky gaming notebook that isn’t going to be pleasurable for one to carry around. In addition, large amount of energy is required in order for it to deliver stunning performance, the battery life isn’t going to last long enough especially if you’re on a long trip.
Another subjective issue that we would like to highlight is the keyboard roll-over feature. While not everyone is going to press all of the keys on the keyboard at the same time, the N-key rollover is still an important feature that should be cater of if its targeted audience is to be gamers from all kinds of game genres.
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Good audio performance
- Good graphics performance
- Customizable keyboard macros, LED colors and effect
- Excellent cooling performance
- Short battery life
- Keyboard doesn’t comes with N-key rollover feature