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MSI GT72 Dominator Preview: More like GT72 Sominator

Hardware Reviews By Som Pourfarzaneh on July 18, 2014

While I do most of my online and PC gaming on a desktop, there’s certainly a big part of me that would like to have a top-of-the-line gaming laptop on hand, just because.  It’s probably the same part of me that wants a Lamborghini Sesto Elemento so that I can drive it around the streets of San Francisco at 25 MPH when the traffic is light.  At least the gaming laptop would cost a tiny fraction of the Sesto Elemento’s $2 million+ price tag, and would allow me to play The Witcher 3 comfortably on my couch.


This is the kind of rationalization that I go through in thinking about MSI’s new GT72 Dominator gaming laptop.  It’s in almost every way a revamp of the manufacturer’s flagship GT series, and is filled to the brim with the hardware you’ll need to play Titanfall on the go.  Here’s an outline of what’s in the box (click for full-size image):

MSI has changed the look and feel of the GT72 from its predecessors, and this transition is immediately evident in the machine’s form factor.  It’s much more sleek and streamlined, with a one-piece full aluminum chassis instead of an aluminum/plastic combo.  It’s lighter and more balanced in weight than the current GT series, with a brushed aluminum back cover and matte black coloration with red trims.  The GT72 weighs in at 8.59 lbs and has a thickness of 48mm, and feels comfortably heavy - but not overly so - in your hands.

The streamlined design of MSI’s new hog is readily evident in the seamless integration of the GT72’s components into the chassis.  The integrated SteelSeries keyboard has less give and a better response time than previous models, and the trackpad takes up no visual real estate at all, without compromising functionality.  The palm rest, made from a pseudo-glass material that resists grubby fingerprints, is spacious and feels great to the touch, and the customizable lighting elements of the keyboard, trackpad, and front of chassis are quite lovely.

Also integrated into the GT72’s chassis are two Dynaudio speakers and a subwoofer, and MSI has removed the touch panel present in previous models and replaced it with ease-of-use physical buttons to the left of the keyboard.  These include buttons for power, switching between integrated and GPU graphics, manually turning the fans on and off, one-touch enabling of XSplit Gamecaster (for which you’ll receive a 6-month free subscription and discounted price thereafter), and changing between your customized SteelSeries profiles.  Additionally, MSI has improved the series’ original 720p camera to a 1080p one in the GT72, so all of your stream buddies can now see your Dragon Age: Inquisition tattoos more clearly.

The GT72 doubles the number of fans from previous models (from one to two), with the exhaust on the back and air intake on the bottom.  There’s just one piece to remove on the base of the machine if you want to upgrade RAM, storage, or other items, and ports on the side for all your display and other needs.  I didn’t get to play anything or see much action on the GT72’s 1080p anti-reflective screen, but was pretty sold on form factor and hardware from the moment I looked at the thing and its specs.

MSI’s GT72 Dominator launches this Friday, July 18, with a Newegg exclusive until July 27.  The machine will run you $2599-2999 based on configuration.  If you’re looking for a workstation equivalent, you can also take a look at the similarly-designed WS60, which goes for about $2000 depending on configuration and will release next month.

Som Pourfarzaneh / Som has been hanging out with the crew since 2011, and is an Associate Director & Lecturer in Media, Anthropology, and Religious Studies.  He’s a former Community Manager for Neverwinter, the free-to-play Dungeons & Dragons MMORPG from Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment, and is unreasonably good at Maze Craze for the Atari 2600.  You can exchange puns and chat (European) football with him on Twitter @sominator.

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