MSI Katana GF76: Gaming laptop reveals several cost-saving measures
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MSI introduces the Katana GF76 with a battlesome name. However, the 11UE-036 configuration failed to fully convince us in the test. Although the gaming combat sword is quite well equipped with the GeForce RTX 3060 laptop GPU, the Intel Core i7-11800H CPU, 16 GB of DDR4-3200 RAM, and a 512 GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD. But in some respects, it tends to use rather blunt weapons.
MSI doesn't fully exploit the device's potential and partly lags behind expectations as well as behind other comparison devices with the same equipment. For instance, the Katana GF76 is outperformed in terms of the processor performance of its Tiger Lake CPU by the Aorus 17G YD equipped with the same processor. And the GPU isn't able to unleash its full potential either. Nonetheless, it should also be noted that all tested games ran smoothly on the MSI Katana GF76 11UE-036, even at the highest graphics settings.
The rest of the configuration also leaves plenty of room for improvement. The 512 GB SSD was quite slow in the test. Unfortunately, the display also failed to convince in the test. Admittedly, the IPS panel with LED backlight and Full HD resolution refreshes at a fast 144 Hz; however, many other metrics show some weaknesses compared to other gaming laptops in the same price range, e.g. in terms of color-space coverage and response times, which are very important for gamers.
There's only one USB-C port, but no DisplayPort or Thunderbolt. The backlit keyboard with red accents is solid to type on, but the number pad and arrow keys are quite small. In contrast, some positive aspects are the rather compact dimensions despite the 17.3-inch display, the fast Wi-Fi, as well as the expandable SSD, and the replaceable and upgradeable RAM, among others.
Judging by the recommended retail price of $1,499, the Katana GF76 delivers a solid but certainly not especially good performance in the test. To revisit MSI's own naming associations once again: The Katana GF76 11UE-036 isn't a blunt combat sword, but it could definitely use some sharpening here and there. More information as well as detailed test results and benchmarks can be found in our review.