MSI GT70 Dragon Edition Review
You can't help but be impressed by the MSI GT70 Dragon Edition. No matter what task you set it just chomps through without missing a beat. There are many elements to a successful laptop, and we think the Dragon Edition ticks all the boxes. We know that there is a balance to be had between looks and performance, and generally we err on the side of performance, but the looks are also stunning.
The brushed aluminium coating with the engraved dragon look fantastic, and will really impress anyone sitting opposite you. If someone is lucky enough to be alongside then the keyboard is a show stopper. We adore it. Who doesn't want customisable lighting on their keyboard, especially when you can turn it into a rainbow? It's not only the looks of the keyboard that are impressive but the configuration and typing experience are equally lovely. Shifting the Windows key to the right of the space bar helps your left hand duck and dive without accidentally appearing at the desktop. The touch pad is responsive too, with no over-sensitive click detection problems, and splitting the left and right button only enhance this accuracy.
Continuing the theme of nice to look at the screen is fantastic. Great colour reproduction, good viewing angles, nice brightness and punchy blacks. If you've used a smaller laptop then the sheer real-estate available from a 17" 1080 screen makes productivity a joy. Your ears aren't ignored with the THX audio being truly fantastic. There is absolutely nothing tinny or muffled about it whatsoever. It's truly spectacular whether you're listening to music, watching a film or using the inbuilt HD webcam for a Skype chat. Glorious. The BluRay writer and ability to output to another screen via HDMI or VGA only enhances the multi-role abilities of the GT70 Dragon Edition.
Performance is, as we're certain you'll agree if you've seen the graphs, amazing. We thought the Valkyrie was a good performer and the MSI blows it away. From the speed of the RAID array to the calculation abilities or to the nVidia GTX675M it is impressive on almost any benchmark you care to name. Not impressive for a laptop. Impressive full-stop. We haven't even discussed the Killer Networking, Bluetooth 4.0, excellent WiFi performance or a host of other features that work exactly as you'd hope.
Battery life is always a concern with such a performance laptop, but with a saturation test of solid gaming and Turbo enabled the GT70 Dragon Edition went from full-charge to nearly flat in 3 hours and 13 minutes, and then recharged back full in 3 hours and 2 minutes. Impressive figures we think you'll agree. More normal use will obviously greatly extend this. Temperatures are good, and the noise level was extremely low at all times. If you're in silence you can hear when the cooler speeds up briefly to dissipate a little extra heat, but otherwise you wont notice it. Of course if you hit the "Fans 100%" button you can hear it, but even then it's not irritating.
Of course, as with anything, there are a few niggles. The touch-pad is positioned a little too far off centre for very comfortable gaming. If you've got small hands you'll be okay but if you're a person with larger mitts then you'll be a little cramped for room. Indeed if you planned on a hardcore session we'd recommend plugging a mouse in. Not a game breaker, and fine if you're not WASD gaming, but a little annoying when just placing it centrally would have solved the problem. The price is naturally a little steep compared to the bargain basement options around, but compared to similarly specced models it's extremely competitive. Finally, and it's less of a fault with the laptop as such, we'd recommend you see if it's possible to purchase it with Windows 7 instead of 8. Win8 is so obviously designed for tablets and just SO irritating to use. It brings nothing to the table that makes it worth sticking with.
So the MSI GT70 Dragon Edition laptop. It looks awesome, performs spectacularly, is chock full of brilliant technology but does come at a price for a laptop. Unquestionably a OC3D Performance Award winner, even at £1700.