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Otherwise, the specs are identical to the 11UE. Micro Center also carries other 11UE variants. If you were to draw a mental picture for "gaming laptop," sight unseen, you would probably come up with something very similar to the MSI Katana GF It has a black plastic chassis, with a slightly metallic sheen and a few angular flourishes toward the front and back.
There's an MSI logo on the lid, and a keyboard that lights up in red. It's not pretty, and there's some wasted space on the inside, particularly the large border around the keyboard and the noticeable bezels near the screen. But it gets the job done — particularly the large and numerous hexagonal vents on the bottom. Be warned, though, that if you want the GF76's inch screen, you'll have to deal with a pretty large, heavy laptop as a result.
The machine measures It fit in my backpack without too much trouble, but I can only imagine how I'd feel after carrying it around a convention center or airport all day. The system also doesn't have much in the way of ports. On the left side, there are two USB-A ports and a power port. Three USB-A ports is admittedly not too bad for a laptop, but only one USB-C port feels a bit limiting, particularly if you're going to use it to plug into a monitor.
A microSD port would have been handy, too. That's because the GF76 has a complete number pad, as well as full-size Backspace, Delete, Enter and arrow keys. As a touch typist who hates how many compromises laptop keyboards usually make, the GF76's keyboard design deserves some credit. Yes, the key travel is shallow; yes, some of the key placement feels cramped.
But it has every key I wanted, and that's worth something. The touchpad is inoffensive, which is high praise as gaming laptops go. It's slightly off-center, which means I didn't accidentally rest my palms on it while trying to type. My commands registered quickly and accurately. Still, I hooked up a gaming mouse as soon as I got the computer up and running, and I imagine most prospective GF76 buyers would do the same. If you want portable QHD or 4K gaming, you'll have to look elsewhere.
However, the screen supports a generous Hz refresh rate, and it has the capacity to push many games up that high. With a inch screen, you may not even need a separate monitor, depending on how big your gaming space is. In terms of metrics, the Katana GF76's screen features nits of brightness, compared to on the Razer Blade 15 Advanced , or on the Alienware m15 R4.
I never had trouble discerning what was happening onscreen, whether the surrounding room was bright or dark. The GF76's color accuracy isn't so bad, though, with a Delta-E of 0. Closer to zero is better. Granted, the Katana GF76 is a much cheaper machine than the Razer and Alienware models compared here, but color range and accuracy are absolutely vital when it comes to gaming. Having that big, bright screen only goes so far when the colors on display fall short.
In terms of audio, the Katana GF76 has typical laptop speakers — which is to say, you'll want to get a gaming headset. The bass and treble are muddy at comfortable volume levels, and the overall sound gets distorted when you turn it up. MSI compensates for this by offering a robust suite of Nahimic audio tools, which can emulate 3D sound and so forth.
It's better than nothing, but it doesn't solve the central problem. However, it didn't perform all that impressively in our benchmarks. As such, you won't be able to crank up the settings all the way on the latest and greatest games — and the system may not perform perfectly if you elect to hook it up to a higher-res monitor.
Let's start with a numerical comparison. We measured frames per second in the games listed below at p and Ultra settings:. While it's important to remember that the Katana GF76 is a much cheaper system than either the Blade 15 or the m15 R4, the difference in performance is still worth discussing. But Red Dead Redemption 2 doesn't, at least without turning some of the settings down.
In fact, "turn down the settings" sums up my experience with the Katana GF76 pretty well overall. I managed to get good framerates and smooth performance out of every single game — but I also let the Nvidia GeForce Experience software choose the settings for me. They landed somewhere between "Medium" and "High" depending on the game. The Katana GF76 can't play the latest games at maxed-out settings; then again, based on its specs, you probably wouldn't expect it to.
Once I configured each game at a reasonable level, though, I was very pleased with the system's performance. The Hz screen turned out to be an especially useful tool for games like Doom Eternal and Final Fantasy XIV, both of which hovered in the fps range, depending on whether I was exploring or fighting.
Especially the number keys, but also the arrow keys, are quite small. On the other hand, the WASD keys, which are important for gamers, have a comfortable size, just like all the other letters. In addition, there are special Gaming Hotkeys for specific functions as well as for the usual double assignment of the F1 to F12 keys.
Unfortunately, a fingerprint sensor is not on board. The key travel is 1. That is generally quite a lot for a laptop and solid for a voluminous gaming device. Noise development remains pleasingly moderate when typing quickly. The typing experience is good, allowing the device to be used not only for gaming but also for the occasional typing session. However, there are definitely better alternatives when it comes to office devices.
The keyboard illumination can be adjusted in three levels, and it makes sure that the keys labeled in red are well illuminated and recognizable. It glows exclusively in red. The touchpad, which is only slightly recessed, is placed in the center under the space bar and measures It's comfortable to the touch, and the two click surfaces at the bottom left and right aren't noticeably loud. The touchpad works with pleasant precision, so there are hardly any points of criticism in our review of the Katana GF76 in this regard.
In addition to the powerful hardware, the It refreshes at a fast Hz, which provides for a smooth gaming experience combined with the performance level. In addition to the modest brightness, the remaining values are also rather poor. Response times, which are even more relevant for gamers, aren't all that good either. While we could extend this list by quite a bit, we'll keep it short: The displays of most of the comparison devices are significantly better, and they have refresh rates that are at least as fast.
This is mostly due to the matte and non-reflective display. However, since the device is relatively bulky by design due to it being a gaming laptop, it's unlikely to be used outdoors. The anti-glare panel also has an advantage when gaming indoors. The matte display hardly reflects any light sources, which means that you always have a good view of the game.
If PWM was detected, an average of minimum: 5 - maximum: Hz was measured. Viewing-angle stability is excellent thanks to the IPS panel, allowing content to be easily recognized even from oblique viewing angles. The clock rate goes from a minimum of 2. Thanks to the newer CPU, however, it positions itself clearly ahead of the competitors in our comparison field that are equipped with the Intel Core iH as well as the Intel Core iH. Here, the current Tiger Lake H generation shows what it's capable of and its considerable performance gain.
However, compared with the other devices, it performs well, which is mainly thanks to the new CPU generation. Therefore, there are no problems in everyday use, and the laptop runs at a fast speed. The Katana GF76 exhibited very high latencies in our test, and these were confirmed over multiple repetitions. This implies that the device isn't ideal for real-time audio and video editing. That said, this always remains a momentary snapshot. On one hand, it's relatively small for a gaming device with GB.
However, thanks to the free M. The built-in model's operating speed is modest. It's not a clear performance bottleneck in everyday use though. However, copying operations and the like can sometimes take a bit longer than in other gaming laptops. It scores slightly less points in most benchmarks and also ends up below the GPU average.
This shows that MSI isn't exploiting the full potential of the graphics solution but is keeping it on a tight leash instead with a TGP of a good 85 watts. Needless to say, the Katana GF76 can't really compete with the even more powerful graphics solutions found in the other test devices.
When it comes to gaming performance, the device delivers an above-average performance under low load. The frame rates in The Witcher 3 are in the lower half of the test field, but they are constant and absolutely sufficient throughout the entire time. All the games that we tested ran without issues and very smoothly at the maximum supported resolution of x pixels and the highest settings.
The MSI Katana GF76 doesn't show any weaknesses here yet, but it could eventually reach its limits in future and even more demanding games. Intel Core iH 8 x 2. Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.
Connectivity: The ports in the Katana GF76 leave room for criticism. Left: 1x power supply, 1x USB 3. Input devices: Keyboard with number pad and Gaming Hotkey. Keyboard MSI uses the Display: Fast Hz refresh rate but many weaknesses as well. CalMAN: Grayscales. CalMAN: Color saturation.