Officially unveiled to the world just last month, the MSI GS40 Phantom is now available in Malaysia. With a retail price of RM8,999, this is not an affordable gaming laptop; but what do you get for that kind of money? Well, a few things, which may or may not matter to you as a gamer.
For one, the GS40 is a light and compact gaming laptop; two words that are rarely associated with gaming laptops in general, which are often unwieldy and heavy. Measuring 22.8mm thin and weighing only 1.6kg, I was surprised at how light it was when I picked it up. I wondered to myself if it even has a dedicated graphics card.
As a gaming laptop, of course the GS40 has a discrete graphics card. Under its hood is an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M coupled with an Intel Core i7-6700HQ quad-core processor. Thanks to the Skylake processor, the GS40 supports DDR4 RAM, and it has 16GB of it. This laptop is also packed with a 14-inch 1920 x 1080 resolution anti-glare IPS display and a very fast 256GB PCIe SSD coupled with a generous 1TB HDD.
Needless to say, the GS40 is a well-equipped machine. While it’s not the most powerful gaming laptop on the market, it’s more than capable at running modern games well, although it’s probably not possible to max out the graphics settings.
Design-wise, the GS40 definitely reminds me of the GS30 Shadow. Both are relatively similar in terms of size, and they have a very good keyboard. When I started typing on the GS40, I like how clicky the keys are; they have quite a decent amount of travel as well. For a 14-inch laptop, I’m quite pleased with the keyboard.
The trackpad of the GS40 is equally as good. I was told by an MSI representative that the trackpad is made out of plastic, but honestly, I couldn’t tell. If I wasn’t told it was plastic, I would’ve probably assumed that it was a glass trackpad. It offers little to no resistance as I glide my fingers on it, and it’s pretty accurate too.
Unfortunately, I did not manage to see how much potential the GS40 has when it comes to gaming. I did, however, played a few rounds of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on it. While CS:GO is hardly a graphically intensive video game, the GS40 definitely ran it well, which is a given.
Although the GS40 only has a 14-inch 1080p panel, it’s more than enough for a gaming laptop. After all, the GTX 970M will struggle to render games at any resolution higher than 1080p. On top of that, the display is decently bright and vibrant with good viewing angles as well. As it’s a matte panel, the GS40 should be usable under bright sunlight.
While the GS40’s hardware are impressive, the RM8,999 price tag is still tough to swallow. At that price point, there are many other alternatives to this laptop, such as the 2015 Razer Blade. Then again, not many laptops offer the same package as the GS40, which has excellent portability, capable hardware, and a sleek design.
The MSI GS40 Phantom is an interesting gaming laptop, although the high asking price may discourage potential buyers. I, for one, am intrigued by it. Perhaps there are more to the GS40 than my initial impressions that could justify the RM8,999 retail price. Only a full review of it can shed light on this.