MSI Katana GF66 Review: Poor Battery, Small Trackpad

Gaming laptops are an ever increasing breed, particularly in 2022 when machines with highly effective graphics playing cards lengthen far past the normal hefty gadgets with flashing RGB chances are you’ll  anticipate on this subject. Oddly, the MSI Katana GF66 sits extra firmly previously, although not essentially in a foul approach. 

It’s a laptop computer made for PC players who don’t wish to splash out for the very best high quality of supplies and design in addition to top-tier efficiency. As a end result, there are a couple of compromises to just accept. And maybe the toughest to swallow is that, despite the fact that the Katana presents itself as a worth proposition, larger costs throughout the board and an absence of low-end GPU choices restrict this laptop computer’s enchantment.

The mannequin of the MSI Katana GF66 I examined isn’t essentially the most wallet-friendly obtainable, sporting a Twelfth-Gen Intel Core i7-12700H chip, the mid- to low-tier Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, 1 TB SSD, and 16 GB RAM—all for a value of $1,399 (£1,399). There’s a small however important distinction between the UK mannequin I examined and its US equal, with the previous that includes a quicker 240-Hz show, and the latter, a 144-Hz panel. Both are 15.6-inch, with the Katana GF76 being the 17-inch model of this machine. You can enterprise as little as a $1,100 mannequin and get a RTX 3050, 512 GB SSD, and eight GB RAM as an alternative when you’re searching for the most cost effective possibility from this vary.

Spec Bump

Photograph: MSI

The Katana GF66 is actually a step up from the earlier mannequin, with a brand new Twelfth-Gen Intel chip being the largest change. You can comfortably break the 60 frames-per-second mark in graphically demanding titles like Borderlands 3, and even get above 100 fps in Ghost Recon: Breakpoint—all on Ultra settings at 1080p. For fps fanatics, testing noticed round 110 fps in Apex Legends on the identical settings. To take full benefit of the 240-Hz show, you’ll have to use decrease Medium settings and cut back the decision to 720p. The 144-Hz mannequin obtainable within the US ought to permit for round Medium settings at 1080p to hit the utmost body charge. 

Comparing these outcomes with our favourite funds gaming laptop computer of final 12 months, the Acer Nitro 5—additionally sporting an RTX 3060—it affords between a ten to 25 p.c bump. Frame-rate-focused titles see the largest distinction, with Apex providing comparable frames at 1080p Ultra that it supplied at 1080p Low settings on the comparable mannequin.

The efficiency provides little to complain about, and the identical goes for some key performance-adjacent elements. The followers aren’t overly intrusive, even when this laptop computer actually will get going, and, regardless of this, it by no means will get overly scorching to the contact. The regular efficiency is matched by a powerful show. OK, it doesn’t convey remarkably vibrant colours, however the 1080p decision gives appropriate element, it will get moderately brilliant for a gaming laptop computer—dealing with most indoor circumstances, however you gained’t be utilizing it exterior—and the 240-Hz panel has pleasingly clean gaming throughout all titles.

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