MSI GE62 Apache Pro review

MSI GE62 Apache Pro review


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.

MSI GE62 Apache Pro review


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 Asus Strix ROG GL753, which has almost identical specifications but behind a 17-inch screen and weighs about a pound more. Neither is as affordable as the Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming 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 MSI’s Titan line.


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.

MSI GE62 Apache Pro review


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.


Here’s how the MSI GE62 Apache Pro performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
3DMark Sky Diver: 19,407; Fire Strike: 6,366; Time Spy: 2,563
Cinebench CPU: 733 cb; Graphics: 114 fps
Geekbench 3 Single-Core: 3,719; Multi-Core: 14,592
PCMark 8 (Home Test): 3,574 points
PCMark 8 Battery Life: 1 hour and 47 minutes
Battery Life (TechRadar movie test): 2 hours and 10 minutes
The Division (1080p, Ultra): 35 fps; (1080p, Low): 85 fps
GTA V (Ultra): 28 fps; (Low): 144 fps
Although the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti isn’t the fastest video card around, it was good enough to sustain 60 frames per second (fps) or better with games such as Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 on high settings. However, it isn’t meant for hardcore gaming enthusiasts who want to crank the settings for every game to the max. 

That being said, it comes as absolutely no surprise that the GE62 Apache Pro has almost the same benchmark results as both the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 and Asus ROG Strix GL753 given how all three sport the same video card and CPU.

PCMark 8 and Geekbench scores are also about the same, with only a negligible difference between the Apache and the competing systems.

There’s also no noticeable frame rate difference with games such as Tom Clancy’s The Division and Grand Theft Auto 5. In some cases, benchmark scores were fewer than 10 frames apart.

Battery life

However, the battery life tells a slightly different story. The PCMark 8 estimate puts the Apache at about 1 hour and 47 minutes. Our looping movie test was more generous, getting 2 hours and 10 minutes out of the computer before the battery is drained to 8 percent. 

That’s just about enough time to finish watching Rogue One before having to recharge. 

In comparison, PCMark 8 estimated that ROG Strix could get about 2 hours and 46 minutes out of its battery, and it could play a movie for 4 and half hours. Neither notebook measures up the Inspiron 15 Gaming, which got nearly 6 hours of estimated battery life from PCMark and played a movie loop for over 7 and a half hours. 

MSI GE62 Apache Pro review


That sound. We’re big fans

Surprisingly, one of the strongest features the GE62 has to offer is its sound system. The four-position audio has startling good sound separation, which breathes incredible life into games, especially atmospheric ones like Resident Evil 7. The positional audio also provides some advantages when playing shooters competitively. 

But not everything about the Apache Pro sounds great. The fans are pretty loud, and they sometimes compete with the game audio. Worse yet, the fans tend to kick in shortly after a game is launched – or even when the computer is just idling. As if to demonstrate how loud the fans could be, there’s a little button (which we’ve come to call the "screw that noise” key) that sets the fans to run at max power all the time. 

On the plus side, the notebook has unsurprisingly excellent cooling, and we hardly felt the warmth from the video card or processor come through the laptop shell, even after a few hours of playing.


MSI GE62 Apache Pro review


We liked

The GE62 Apache Pro offers some impressive gaming performance for the entry-level graphics chip that’s included. And, speaking of parts, MSI has stuffed this model with nothing but those sourced from well-known names. Finally, the speaker system is surprisingly robust, something we’ve been trained to not expect from laptops for a long time.

We disliked

Solid performance and audio chops aside, there isn’t much else helping this laptop stand out from its competitors, which are far longer lasting and at times cheaper than this model. Also, the system gets quite loud while under load, which isn’t surprising but nevertheless annoying.

Final verdict

If it weren’t for the impressive sound system, the made-for-gamers SteelSeries keyboard, and other brand name features, there would be almost no reason to choose the MSI GE62 over many competing 1080p gaming notebooks. Its performance is almost identical to that of the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 and Asus ROG Strix GL753, which is unsurprising given how they all sport the same graphics chip and CPU. 

The Apache might cost less than the Asus, but it also has a smaller screen. For just a little bit more cash, gamers can go for a 17-inch system. However, it’s really hard to make an argument for the Apache when comparing it with the Dell notebook. Not only does it offer roughly the same performance, but it also has a significantly lower price tag and more than twice the battery life. 

When taken alone, the Apache provides excellent performance for games at a reasonable price. However, while the surround sound and gaming keyboard are worthwhile features, they probably won’t end up being deal breakers when the MSI notebook is compared with systems that offer the same gaming performance or better at a competitive price.
24 March 2017 /
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