Gamers looking for a relatively inexpensive gaming notebook that still packs a ton of performance would do well the check out the MSI GE62 Apache Pro. It might not be the fastest machine MSI has to offer, nor does it have a QHD or 4K UHD screen (just a plain old 1,920 x 1,080 FHD display), but it compensates by packing in a ton of name brand components.
Among some of the featured hardware is a Killer Gaming Networks Ethernet card, a SteelSeries gaming keyboard, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti video card, and 3D audio provided by Nahimic Sound and supported by four Dynaudio Tech speakers and a subwoofer. That’s on top of sporting a 250GB SSD boot drive, a 1TB spinning drive and 16GB of RAM.
The GE62 is technically a lower-range gaming notebook, but it feels like more. It might not be quite capable of supporting virtual reality without issue, but it can push out decent frame rates for those intense gaming sessions.
All taken together, the GE62 Apache Pro offers gamers an excellent balance of performance, affordability and portability, but simply struggles to stand out from the competition.
Here is the MSI GE62 Apache Pro configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
CPU: 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ (quad-core, 6MB cache, up to 3.8GHz)
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (4GB GDDR5 VRAM); Intel HD Graphics 630
RAM: 16GB (DDR4 dual channel; 2,400MHz)
Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) eDP IPS-level screen
Storage: 256GB SSD (M.2 SATA); 1TB HDD (7,200 RPM; SATA); SD card reader; Super-Multi DVD drive
Ports: 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C; 2 x USB 3.0; 1 USB 2.0; 1 mini DisplayPort; 1 x HDMI 1.4 (4K supported); 1 Killer Gaming Networks Gigabit RJ-45 Ethernet port; 1 headphone jack; 1 microphone jack
Connectivity: Intel 3168 Sandy Peak 1 1x1 802.11a/c Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.0
Camera: 1080p webcam
Weight: 5.29 pounds (2.34kg)
Size: 15.07 x 10.23 x 1.06 inches (39.9 x 25.9 x 2.6cm; W x D x H)
Pricing and availability
This MSI GE62 Apache Pro configuration will set you back about $1,399 (about £1,138, AU$1,814), which isn’t too bad given what’s inside.
That’s about 100 bucks less than an , which has almost identical specifications but behind a 17-inch screen and weighs about a pound more. Neither is as affordable as the notebook’s $849 (£1,099, AU$1,999) price tag when similarly configured, but with 8GB of memory.
Pricing for the MSI rests between these two rival systems, despite having very similar parts inside. So, the ultimate value is in how much brand loyalty you have. With features like four-point surround sound and a SteelSeries keyboard, this is a PC that’s clearly meant for gamers who are looking for a capable system without having to shell out $3,000 or more on a superpowered notebook, like those in .
The MSI GE62 Apache Po sports the signature MSI look, with an all-black exterior and a lid that’s shaped to look like the hood of a sports car. The lid doesn’t feature any lighting, which is fine, given how colorful the backlit SteelSeries keyboard is.
You have the option to adjust the color configuration of the keyboard to your liking, but be aware that its layout takes some getting used to. The SteelSeries setup is obviously geared toward gamers, as the keys feel small and are positioned very closely together.
It’s an excellent design for playing high-action games, when fast response is critical, but it’s not as ideal for plain typing. Our typo rate goes up significantly when using the SteelSeries setup in chats and emails, and certain keys (like Delete) are in odd spots, like above the numeric keypad, which doesn’t make for easy flow.
Smaller annoyances include how the volume and brightness functions are mapped to the arrow keys instead of the F-keys, which took quite a bit of getting used to.
Weighing about 5 pounds (2kg), the Apache Pro is roughly on par with competing systems, such as the Inspiron 15 Gaming and Strix ROG GL753, which is to say that it’s fairly light for a gaming notebook. You probably won’t throw out your back while carrying this system around, but it’s certainly not an Ultrabook.
Meanwhile, the 1,920 x 1,080 FHD screen provides a beautiful, clear picture. There are tools to adjust the color output to fit your needs, with presets that range from gaming to movies and art design. You can also hook up two additional monitors (or three for extended resolutions), and the computer comes with a cute little tool that helps you quickly organize windows while moving them around.
The only downside is that the colors appear to dim slightly when you’re not looking at it from a straight viewing position (read: not the widest viewing angles).
One of our biggest problems with the MSI notebook is with the touch pad, which has a rough, wood grain-like texture to it. We weren’t fond of running our fingers over a surface that feels as if it’ll give off splinters – it’s an odd feeling from an otherwise smooth notebook.