The MSI GT83VR Titan SLI wasn’t the only standout product launched by MSI today; there’s also the slim and light GS43VR Phantom. While this little gaming machine isn’t as powerful as its bigger siblings, it’s definitely an interesting product – I personally find it to be the perfect gaming laptop for those who are always on the go.
In many ways, the GS43VR feels and looks a lot like the GS40 Phantom, which isn’t all that surprising: both laptops are essentially the same outside, after all. What has changed is the GPU: the GS43VR is equipped with the recently announced Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, which is supposedly almost equivalent to the desktop GTX 1060. Needless to say, this is a huge improvement over the GS40’s GTX 970M GPU.
Other than the new GPU, other specifications of the GS43VR include a 14-inch 1920 x 1080 resolution IPS display, an Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor paired with 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 256GB M.2 NVMe SSD, and a 1TB 7200rpm HDD. The combination of an SSD and a HDD on the GS43VR is definitely a good compromise between cost and performance.
Right off the bat, the GS43VR appealed to me the most at today’s launch event. Personally, I love the idea of a portable gaming machine, and the GS43VR fits the bill: it can run most modern games well, and it is compact – and light – enough to be carried around as a productivity machine. It also has a generous selection of ports, such as two USB 3.0 ports, a card reader, an RJ-45 port, as well as a Thunderbolt 3 port.
Its compact dimensions aside, the GS43VR also has a bright display. The colours look good, viewing angles are decent, and the matte display should help with the laptop’s usability under bright sunlight. However, I would’ve preferred for the display’s bezels to be more minimal.
Much like the GS40, the trackpad and keyboard of the GS43VR are good. My fingers can glide on the trackpad without much resistance, and the tactility of the keyboard really appealed to me. However, I do wish the keyboard had more travel, although it is by no means a shallow keyboard.
The user experience of the GS43VR as a whole is promising in my short time with the gaming laptop. Of course, while its trackpad isn’t on the same level as a MacBook’s, it’s definitely one of the better trackpads on a Windows machine. The laptop itself also feels sturdy and premium.
Even though the MSI GS43VR Phantom appears to be an impressive little gaming machine, it does have a couple of disadvantages. For one, the GS43VR retails at RM7,999 in Malaysia, and not many may be willing to fork out that kind of money for a gaming laptop. That being said, it is the first GTX 1060 laptop of its size to be available in Malaysia, so it’s not entirely possible to see how it compares against other gaming laptops in terms of pricing.
For what it’s worth, the GS43VR Phantom actually costs less than the GS40 when it was first introduced in Malaysia – the latter was going for RM8,999 at the time. Regardless, as far as compact gaming laptops go, the GS43VR is a promising little gaming machine – I am definitely looking forward to reviewing it.