The Good Great gaming performance for the price; size and weight much lighter than comparable gaming laptops
The Bad Built-in Turbo overclocking had no real impact on gameplay; Dolby 4.1 speakers a little underwhelming.
The Bottom Line For a price below that of ultra hard-core machines, the MSI GT725-212us provides considerable gaming power, a 1080p 17-inch screen, and Blu-ray in a package that's relatively portable.
To game well on a laptop isn't always a cheap endeavor--some might even call it a fool's way to part with his wallet. It can often seem like price is no issue for enthusiasts, but thankfully, some manufacturers are looking out for more affordable ways to get a superior gaming experience on the go. MSI's GT725-212us, the model at the top of the company's notebook gaming line, has a remarkably good feature package for its $1,699 price. A quad-core CPU, 512MB ATI graphics card, and a Blu-ray drive add up to, on paper, a machine that's a worthy alternative to our other favorite budget quad-core gaming system, Gateway's FX P-7805u.
The GT-725 series has a stylish low-key design on the outside, highlighted by a black brushed-aluminum lid. Inside, the design gets a bit more garish: Ferrari-red trim and a shiny silver speaker grille above the keyboard make for a slightly dated red-black-and-silver look, but it's not terrible. The lid hinge is smooth and solid, and with the lid closed, the notebook feels beefy but not overweight, especially for a gaming laptop. A black-and-red touch control pad above the keyboard lights up when its media playback, Bluetooth, Webcam, and wireless modes are toggled.