MSI GE62 Apache – First Impressions
The MSI GE62 Apache is the company’s latest slim gaming laptop that features improved battery life, quieter cooling fans, and a new Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M graphics card. All this is packaged in a 27mm-thick metal-clad chassis and is accompanied by a snazzy RGB LED-backlit keyboard. It’s an incremental improvement over its predecessor, but with some key features uprated it looks set to be a much more tempting proposition.
SEE ALSO: Best Gaming Laptops Round-up
MSI GE62 Apache – Design
This is a decent-looking laptop. Its slim 27mm thickness is complemented by brushed-metal panels on the lid and keyboard to give a more premium look, while the subtle angles used on the lid and sides give a more inviting profile than the completely generic chassis used by some system builders. The multi-coloured backlighting of the keyboard definitely lifts the look, too. It doesn’t necessarily make it more stylish but adds a touch of pizazz.
However, it’s definitely not quite in the premium category occupied by the likes of the Alienware 15 and Razer Blade.
Still, with dimensions of 383 x 260 x 27mm and weighing 2.4kg it’s relatively slim and compact for such a large-screened and powerful machine. You wouldn’t want to walk around all day with it slung on your back, but a couple of miles to and from college, for instance, wouldn’t cause too much strain.
MSI GE62 Apache – Screen, Keyboard and Trackpad
Backing up the solid design is good ergonomics, starting with the screen. It’s a 1080p IPS unit with a nice matte finish to keep reflections to a minimum. It produces strong but natural colours and has good viewing angles too, making it a pretty solid performer all round.
The keyboard’s been designed with the help of SteelSeries and has what’s described as a ‘solid feedback design’. This translates into the keys having a more pronounced action to them than your typical keyboard, with keys pressing down deeper. Combined with a reasonably well-defined break, this makes it easy to tell when you’ve pressed a key or not, helping both speed and accuracy when typing and gaming.
SEE ALSO: Best Wi-Fi Extenders Round-up
It’s not the best conventional laptop keyboard we’ve used – and certainly not a patch on the mechanical keyboard of the MSI GT80 Titan – but it is markedly better than average.
As mentioned, the backlighting looks the part, too. It can be changed to show any of over 1000 colour combinations and the consistency of lighting is impressive.
The trackpad is decent, though certainly not outstanding. It’s nice and large and generally responsive, but we’re growing so accustomed to MacBook-style one-piece trackpads that going back to two conventional buttons is seldom welcome. Still, it’s an improvement over the previous model, which used a rocker switch for the left and right buttons that people didn’t get on with.
MSI GE62 Apache – Features
The real heart of the improvements of this new laptop are its internal upgrades. Inside you’ve got the latest Intel Core i7 processors combined with the new Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M graphics card. The latter isn’t the fastest out there, but it’s typical of what you’ll find in these slimmer machines and its Maxwell architecture brings with it not just performance improvements but power savings, too.
Related: Best Laptops 2015
MSI reckons the GE62 Apache will last up to 6 hours on battery compared to just 2-3 for the previous model. That’s a significant upgrade that really expands the appeal of a machine like this. Of course you won’t be able to game for anywhere near that long, but you may be able to get a couple of hours’ gaming done while out and about.
Keeping these at an acceptable temperature is the new cooling system, which MSI boasts improves cooling yet reduces noise. Not new but still a neat feature is the fan speed button that lets you give the system a blast of full-speed cooling to get everything chilled: useful if you’re gaming with headphones on and don’t care about how much noise the system produces.
Storage speed is another thing MSI is proud of in this machine: a pair of m.2 SSD slots allow for a RAID 0 configuration. We tend to think this is a little excessive for a laptop, but at least the option’s there. There’s also a 2.5-inch hard drive slot for even more storage.
Rounding out the specification is a sound system developed with the help of Dynaudio, a Killer E220 game networking Ethernet port, a DVD drive and a comprehensive selection of connections. On the right you’ve got the DVD drive, USB 2.0 and SD card reader, while on the left is the Ethernet port, three USB 3.0, an HDMI, a Mini DisplayPort and both microphone and headphone sockets.
SEE ALSO: Best SSDs Round-up
The MSI GS62 Apache isn’t a revolution in slim gaming laptop design, but it’s a solid upgrade over its predecessor and should offer key improvements in performance and battery life. It’s also not the finest looking machine of its class, but its feature set is solid and with a starting price of £1099 it’s competitively priced.