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MSI GT60 2PE Dominator Pro Review

MSI GT60 2PE Dominator Pro Review

Manufacturer: MSI
UK price (as reviewed): £1,999 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $2,499

It's taken a while for the latest laptops to claw back some of the lust-factor from the likes of Apple's retina-equipped tablets but the latest Ultrabooks with displays eclipsing 1080p have certainly helped. Combined with backlit keyboards, crazy battery lives and mSATA SSDs sitting along side large hard disks, Laptop owners have never had it so good. Leaving Ultrabooks to one side for the time being, though, there's another laptop segment that's also going through somewhat of a revolution.

Gaming laptops, specifically the full-fat 15.6in+ desktop replacements - usually monsters that generally eat old desktop PCs for breakfast, have until recently been content with 1080p displays. However, just as the desktop display arena is seeing a sizable shift in resolution thanks to cheaper 4K displays, the pixel count on laptops has been growing too. MSI was the first out the door with a 3K display (that's 2,880 x 1,620, as opposed to 3840 x 2160 for 4K) and its this display, along with Nvidia's brand new graphics chip, that is the central focus of its latest high-end laptop, the GT60 2PE Dominator Pro.

MSI GT60 2PE Dominator Pro Review
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It's a bit of a monster, as is usually the way with super high-end gaming laptops, and at 3.5kg it's not exactly portable either. That said, this is a little lighter than some similar examples we've seen and MSI includes a rather swanky rucksack that's custom made for the Dominator Pro to make lugging it around a little easier. The fact it's a 15.6in model and not 16in or 17in does mean taking it on the train is a slightly less daunting task too.

MSI GT60 2PE Dominator Pro Review
Click to enlarge

The outside is part plastic/part brushed aluminium and for the most part fairly understated and not at all garish. The lid is sturdy with little flex and should stand up to a fair amount of punishment.

Inside the black brushed aluminium continues around the touchpad but the rest is all high density plastic, which is a tad disappointing given that ultrabooks that cost half as much often feature all-metal bodies. It's far from poor quality but equally not very appealing, even if it does keep the weight down - at least until you power it on, but more on that shortly.

MSI GT60 2PE Dominator Pro Review
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The exterior is bristling with ports with three USB 3.0 ports on the left side along with an SD card reader, plus a further USB 2.0 port and four minijacks on the left side. This is also home to the Bluray drive/DVD Rewriter with the front of the Dominator Pro reserved for air intakes to help keep the beast cool.

MSI GT60 2PE Dominator Pro Review
Click to enlarge

In addition to these, two huge air vents sit on the left side and rear of the Dominator Pro, which also sports the video outputs by way of two mini-DP and an HDMI port along with a Killer e2200 Gigabit LAN port plus the power port. Sadly, there's no 802.11ac WiFi adaptor, which is surprising given how increasingly prevalent it now is, and how effective it is too.

MSI GT60 2PE Dominator Pro Review
Click to enlarge

The Dominator Pro also sports a generous pack of extras, including a SteelSeries Kinzu Gaming Mouse, SteelSeries Limited Edition Red Siberia MSI Branded Gaming Headset and MSI Gaming Mouse Surface.

Specifications
  • CPU 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-4800MQ
  • GPU Nvidia GeForce GTX 880M 4GB
  • Memory 16GB DDR 3 1,600MHz
  • Screen 15.6in 2,880 x 1,620 IPS
  • Storage 3 x Toshiba THNH128GMCT SSDs in RAID 0, 1TB Hitachi 7K1000
  • Networking Killer e2200 Gigabit LAN, Killer Wireless-N 1202 WiFi, Bluetooth
  • Ports 1 x USB 2, 3 x USB 3, SD card slot, 2 x mini-DP, 1 x HDMI, LAN, 4 x mini jacks
  • Operating System Windows 8
  • Weight 3.5kg
  • Warranty 2 year parts & labour collect and return
  • Extras SteelSeries Kinzu Gaming Mouse, SteelSeries Limited Edition Red Siberia MSI Branded Gaming Headset, MSI Gaming Mouse Surface