Remember the 15.4-inch MSI Turbobook GX600 gaming laptop with the 'turbo' overclocking button? Well, the MSI GT725 is its faster, more intimidating relative. It too packs a turbo button, which can, according to MSI, make its already powerful quad-core CPU up to 20 per cent faster than it would be in a standard laptop. It's also very well-suited to gaming and has Blu-ray playback capability, meaning it could be the ideal desktop replacement.
The GT725 is available to buy now from Amazon.co.uk for around £1,200.
The GT725 is seriously ugly. MSI has taken what is a fairly inoffensive-looking laptop and ruined it by spraying its edges in red paint, creating an effect which, at best, is reminiscent of cheap red nail varnish. We presume MSI's logic is that buyers of powerful gaming hardware are drawn to bright colours. Perhaps nobody in its design team has noticed that the PlayStation 3 is black and the Xbox 360 is white.
Looks aside, MSI's done a fairly good job with the GT725's design. Its 395 by 35 by 278mm chassis is about as compact as 17-inch machines get, and it weighs just 3.2kg, so it's fairly easy to carry around. MSI tries to ram this point home by bundling the GT725 with a 'free' gaming rucksack. This, ironically, is more attractive than the laptop itself, so you needn't worry about beat-downs from the fashion police on your way to LAN parties.
Large gaming laptops tend to have great input-output connectivity, and the GT725 is no different. The left side is home to modem and Ethernet ports, two USB ports and a Blu-ray optical drive. The front edge has an infrared receiver, which lets you use third-party remote controls with the laptop. The right side gets the most loving, however. It packs two additional USBs (one of which doubles as an eSATA port), four-pin FireWire, ExpressCard/34, a four-in-one memory-card reader, and four separate audio jacks.
It's pretty hard to get the keyboard and mouse wrong on laptops of this kind, but MSI has tried its best to do just that. The keyboard itself is fine, and even includes a dedicated numerical keypad. However, the selector buttons aren't up to par. They're cut directly from the chassis in a sideways 'S' shape, where the semicircle sections of the S represent the buttons. It's a clever, and somewhat attractive, design, but each press causes your thumb to sink into the cut-away lines, which is quite an odd sensation. It's almost as if you're placing your digits directly into the chassis with each press, and that's unnerving. Thankfully, MSI has chucked in a 'free' 3200dpi USB gaming mouse.