There are countless laptops that claim to be capable of running the latest games. The trouble is, the only ones that can actually do it at any sort of quality level are back-breakingly heavy and could only be more expensive if they were made from solid gold.
Which is why MSI's new GT725 defies all our expectations of a games machine. It's only 200g heavier than a 17in aluminium MacBook Pro, and the price tag is only just the wrong side of a grand.
But inside that relatively small, keenly priced chassis is a laptop that will play any game you can throw at it at native resolution. Surely there must be a catch?
Not really. The only thing this notebook doesn't have is a 1920x1200 screen capable of Full HD video playback – a shame as there’s a built-in Blu-ray player that could make the most of it.
The thing is, for games, it doesn't matter. To make a game look good, it needs to be run at a monitor's native resolution – and the sharp, bright 1680x1050 panel doesn't stress the graphics hardware but still makes Crysis look awesome.
With AMD's wonderful HD4850 video chipset on board it could probably cope with more pixels, even though you wouldn't notice. That 3D chip is the best there is for notebooks: it uses less power and runs cooler than its rivals, but can fling polygons around with the best.
Hence the thin chassis compared to, say, Alienware's GeForce-powered M17, and fairly respectable two-and-a-half-hour battery life even in something as processor-hungry as World of Warcraft.
When you're running on mains power, though, it's worth hitting the 'Turbo' button that waits for you on the touch-sensitive media panel. This ups the clockspeeds all round, giving you even more gaming bang for your buck.
Review continues after the break…
The CPU is no shirker at stock speeds, though. Our review model came armed with a dual-core Intel chip based on the quiet running Penryn architecture, but there is a quad-core version also available for a hundred pounds or so more.
In an ideal world we'd get rid of the red plastic stripe that defiles the otherwise understated brushed aluminium finish, but on the whole this is a remarkably tasteful design compared to MSI's more garish previous efforts.
If the red flash is too much for you, PC World is selling an Advent 6555, which is essentially a rebranded quad-core GT725. There's no turbo button, but it's an all-gunmetal machine that's even cheaper – just £1000, in fact. That's exceptional value.
Even that can't quite take the sheen of MSI's achievement here, though. Unless you want a Mac or something lighter, it's the only laptop worth buying.
- Graphics card
- AMD HD4850 512MB
- Operating system
- Windows XP
- Optical drive
- Intel Core 2 P9500 (2.6GHz)
- Screen resolution
- Screen size