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amazon MSI Katana GF66 reviews
The MSI Katana GF66 (12UD-436) is a decent, good-performance, affordable gaming laptop, but overrated compared to other laptops of the same price or lower. There are some compromises made to keep the price as affordable as possible.
Count on MSI to deliver some of the best gaming laptops to fuel your latest AAA games. I’ve reviewed a lot of MSI’s gaming laptops over the past few years and they’ve always impressed with the range of ultra-thin to super-large gaming machines, and everything in between is pretty good. With the MSI Katana GF66, you have an impressive gaming laptop that offers more value than some of the best gaming laptops.
The Katana GF66 is available in a variety of configurations, but the MSI 12UD-436 model we’re reviewing in that lineup offers the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti at a price you’d normally expect to find on lower specs, plus a 12th generation Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB, and a spacious 512GB solid-state drive.
Although the battery life is short and the display is less bright than we would have liked, the Katana still provides the essentials for gaming without major sacrifices in performance, especially given the current price of core components redefining what makes a cheap gaming laptop. The Asus TUF Gaming F15 (2022) remains the winner of our Editors’ Choice among mid-range 15-inch gaming devices.
In terms of price, the MSI GF66 Katana is on the lower end of the price spectrum for a gaming laptop. Somehow, MSI positions itself in such a way that it doesn’t compete directly with similarly priced laptops. Our review unit, the MSI Katana 12UD-436 comes with an Intel Core i7-12650H CPU, an RTX 3050Ti GPU, 16GB, and 512GB of NVMe SSD storage.
There is also an RTX 3060 version – the MSI Katana 11UE-617 – with an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-11800H processor, everything else remains the same. No matter which model you choose, you get great gaming performance across the board at a reasonable price. Here’s a quick look at the specs of our review unit.
Specifications of MSI Katana GF66
Laptop Class Gaming
Intel Core i7-12650H processor
Processor speed 4.7 GHz
RAM (as tested) 16 GB
SSD boot drive type
Boot disk space (as tested) 512GB
15.6-inch screen size
Original screen resolution 1920 x 1080
Touch screen: No
IPS panel technology
Variable refresh support: None
Screen refresh rate 144 Hz
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics processor
Graphics memory 4 GB
Wireless network Bluetooth, 802.11ax
Dimensions (HWD) 15.63 x 10.24 x 0.9 inches
Weight: 4.85 lbs
Design And Features
If you’re looking for a discrete laptop for gaming and maybe college, the MSI Katana GF66 extends that favor by opting for the original, with a black plastic lid and only the engraved MSI logo on the lid. The lower part is designed quite curved down and harmoniously combined with the hinge.
However, when opening the lid, the design is quite gaudy. Most people would immediately say that this is a gaming laptop with a sharp red keyboard and, of course, a red keyboard light. Well, the keyboard doesn’t have RGB backlighting like most of its competitors, and it’s an inexpensive keyboard. The bezels on the screen aren’t too thick, but we found them thinner. The design is simple, but being an affordable gaming laptop doesn’t have to look cheap.
At 15.6 x 10.2 x 0.9 inches and 5.1 pounds, it’s thicker and heavier than the competition, even some machines from MSI. For example, the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 measures 14 x 9.6 x 0.8 inches and weighs 4.2 pounds, while the MSI Stealth 15M measures 14.1 x 9.8 x 0.6 inches and weighs 3. ,7 pounds, making for a better profile than the Katana GF66.
The port selection is pretty good, but it would be nice to see a Mini DisplayPort. On the left side, there’s the power jack and a pair of USB Type-A ports, while the right side has an RJ45 port, an HDMI port, a USB Type-C port, a USB Type-A port, and a headphone jack.
Monitor, Keyboard, and Trackpad
As for the screen, the Katana GF66 has a 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 display that looks flat and isn’t bright enough to stand out from the competition. Its 144Hz refresh rate saves very little viewing experience. It covers 43.9% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, far below the mainstream gaming laptop average of 70%, and at 247 nits of brightness in the test, the panel was average compared to the mainstream gaming laptop category with the average entry-level gaming laptop (303 nits). Both the Asus Zephyrus M16 (481) and the Stealth 15M (255 nits) have more vibrant displays.
As with all MSI laptops, typing on the keyboard is OK. The keys are comfortable and easy to click, and the experience is far from the worst gaming keyboard I’ve typed on. That’s usually what you’d expect from a cheap gaming laptop. Red keyboard lighting is a drag as always on a budget gaming laptop – MSI should just opt for full white or RGB.
Below the keyboard is a 4.1 x 2.6-inch touchpad that is smooth but sometimes feels sticky. Clicks are a bit stiff for my taste, but Windows 11 gestures, like two-finger scrolling and three-finger tabs, work well.
The MSI Katana GF66, while packing a screen that isn’t too bright, has some impressive internal configurations: three are available, and our review unit is the latest in that lineup with Intel 12th Gen Core i7-12650H, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti, 16GB RAM, and 512GB NVMe PCIe SSD. RTX 3050 and RTX 3060 options are also available, but any GPU option delivers the latest ray tracing technology and Nvidia’s DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) feature that uses artificial intelligence for acceleration frame rate.
The Katana GF66 12UD-436 can comfortably run most AAA games at 1080p, although not at the same frame rates as pricier and more capable laptops like the Asus ROG Strix G15 (AMD Ryzen 9; RTX 3070) or Alienware M15 R6 (Intel Core i7-11800H; RTX 3080). With Red Dead Redemption 2 configured to use almost all of the 4G graphics memory, the Katana GF66, for example, averaged 42-60 frames per second. For all but the most demanding gamers, this is more than enough muscle, and the stereo 2W speakers also do a good job of delivering solid sound.
In the Time Spy 3D Mark benchmark, the laptop scored an average of 5,680, well below the laptop average of 5,730 – not top performance, but you’re buying this laptop for gaming and performance is not high. That’s still decent productivity performance, and for the price, coupled with some of Intel’s latest chips backed by a dedicated graphics card for the game, we couldn’t ask for more. Add to that this laptop runs pretty cool and quiet during gaming, and overall it’s a great package.
Elsewhere, battery life is typical of most gaming laptops – lasting just 3 hours and 48 minutes with continuous video playback at full brightness. Again, that will go strong once you start running demanding games on it. Don’t plan to stay away from the power outlet for too long with this particular laptop. However, all is not lost with gaming laptops and battery life, we’ve seen excellent battery life on many laptops lately, with some like the Acer The Predator Triton 330 SE and Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 lasting almost all day.
While we wish the MSI Katana GF66 had longer battery life and its display more vivid, there are no flaws that stop it from being a great budget gaming laptop. It delivers respectable gaming performance thanks to the latest Intel Core chip, offers the GeForce RTX 3050 Ti at a reasonable price, and that GPU helps make the most of the 144Hz display. That’s impressive for a laptop at this price, and the good-quality keyboard makes it an ideal choice for everyday gaming on a tight budget.
For the same price, you can pick up the Asus TUF Dash 15 (2022) which has over 7 hours of battery life, a colorful battery, an RTX 3060 GPU, and a nice chassis. It’s very portable and boasts an equally comfortable keyboard.
Overall, the MSI Katana GF66 (12UD-436) isn’t a bad choice if you want to prioritize performance, but you can do much better for the price.
where can you get a MSI Katana GF66 online
MSI Katana GF66 15.6″ 144Hz FHD Gaming Laptop: Intel Core i7-12650H RTX 3050 Ti 16GB 512GB NVMe SSD, Type-C USB 3.2 Gen 1, High-ResoluTion Audio, Cooler Boost 5, Win11 Home: Black 12UD-436: Buy it now
MSI Katana GF66 15.6″ 144Hz 3ms FHD Gaming Laptop Intel Core i7-11800H RTX3050TI 16GB 1TBNVMe SSD Win10: Buy it now
MSI Katana GF66 15.6″ 144Hz 3ms FHD Gaming Laptop Intel Core i7-11800H RTX 3060 16GB 512GB NVMe SSD Win11 (11UE-617): Buy it now
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