MSI GS43VR 7RE Phantom Pro full review
Is MSI's jack-of-all-trades portable gaming laptop worth buying?
- Decent combo of size and power
- An expensive compromise
This gaming laptop from MSI is much smaller than most of the range's other models, but it's still a jack of all trades and master of none.
Price$ 2,799.00 (AUD)
We've seen a great many MSI Gaming laptops over the past months. There's a flavour for everyone, whether it’s a 120Hz screen, a desktop-style mechanical keyboard, a water-cooled chassis or SLI graphics. Some of them are the size of a briefcase.
So we're happy to see the GS43VR 7RE Phantom Pro appear with far more-portable size. But does the compromise in bulk equate to a a compromise in performance?
14-inch 1080 x 1920 IPS non-touchscreen LCD, 2.8-3.8GHz Intel Core i7 7700HQ, 256GB NvME hard drive, 1TB mechanical hard disk, 16GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060; 802.11AC WiFi; 61Wh battery. 1.8KG
Left: Gigabit LAN, USB 3.1 SD Card slot, 3.5mm headphone and mic jacks.
Rear: Micro HDMI
Right: USB-C, USB 3.1 VR-read HDMI port
The plastic lid and chassis are reasonably sturdy and have an effective brushed-metal-like black finish. There are some nice, contoured design flourishes on the lid and this with the dragon logo and MSI brand name all look rather classy.
Once open the red-back-lit keyboard and trackpad greet you (you can switch the intensity to two levels or off) and the triangular power button adds another design flourish.
It all looks very good and classy although, for some reason, the status lights at the front remind us of the chunky old laptops of yesteryear and spoil the lines a bit. Also note that it's quite a fingerprint magnet.
The 14-inch screen is Full HD instead of UHD. This is probably sensible considering the built-in GTX 1060 graphics which would struggle to play most new games at higher resolutions. We didn’t miss not having a high-res screen.Read more: Kogan Atlas UltraSlim Pro laptop: full, in-depth review
However, the Steel Series Scrabble Tile keyboard is very comfortable to type on and we found it ourselves making few mistakes – save for accidentally clipping the Caps Lock key. The weight is just right for lengthy typing sessions and gaming alike. We’d have liked to seen full-size arrow keys though – there’s certainly enough space. The mouse pad is very smooth and has a nicely-weighted click – it's not too much effort to click.
The Dragon Centre software allows you to turn the Windows Key off so you don't hit it accidentally when gaming. However, we couldn't find a quick setting to do the same to the mousepad, which would be even more useful.
The Dragon Centre app provides quick access to various specialist apps and settings. Included are Nahimic Audio settings and the ability to turn on VR using the HDMI ports. More interestingly there are settings that instantly overclock or underclock the system and provide different amounts of fan cooling. Fans rarely span up but under massive loads and in a hot environment they can get noisy - but that will rarely be an issue. Most of the time it's silent.
PerformanceRead more: 5 Best Australian Laptop Deals
The processor is a top-of-the-line, 7th Generation, Intel mobile Core i7 7700HQ which has a base frequency of 2.8GHz and a Turbo speed of 3.8GHz. In Eco Mode the laptop clocked down to around the 800-1,100MHz range but in Turbo it was constantly around the 3.8GHz mark. You can push things further with Dragon Centre if you're willing to suffer fan noise.
We ran PC Mark at Turbo settings and achieved a score of 3,512. That’s a respectable score and not light years behind the PC World Test Rig’s 4,040. However, it’s not quite up there with the MSI GT72RE 7RE Dominator Pro which has much beefier graphics power (and much bulkier chassis) which scored 4,174.
In 3D Mark Time Spy it scored 3,713 at default settings and 3,781 in Turbo mode. That’s a long way behind both our test rig and SLI-enabled siblings but the difficult test still ran smoothly – there’s gaming potential here. The lack of 4K screen mean it will be able to breeze through most games at Full HD.
Next: Battery Life and Conclusion
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Ring Video Doorbell review
- 2 Sony Bravia 2017 TVs: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 4 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 5 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
Latest News Articles
- Hands-on: MSI's GT75VR Titan brings high-end HDR display tech to a gaming laptop
- Hands-on: How the Asus ROG GX501 Zephyrus performs with Nvidia's Max-Q technology
- HP Omen laptops include a first: Nvidia Max-Q graphics technology
- HP's Omen Accelerator can give your laptop some guts
- HP's Omen X Compact Desktop can morph into a backpack VR PC
PCW Evaluation Team
The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.
Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
- Ford Everest Trend RWD 3.2L Diesel review
- Ford Everest Trend in its natural habitat
- Linksys Velop mesh WiFi review
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- TPSenior Business AnalystQLD
- CCJunior - Mid-level Devops ConsultantQLD
- CCJava EngineerNSW
- FTDigital BA | App Dev Environment | 6 month contract roleOther
- FTLead Business AnalystOther
- TPTraining Materials Developer / TrainerVIC
- FTTest Manager - Applications - NSW GovernmentOther
- FTLevel 1 Service Desk AnalystQLD
- FTApplication Support EngineerACT
- FTAccount Manager (Infrastructure Transition) - MULTIPLE ROLESSA
- TPProject Manager - HealthQLD
- CCFunctional Lead - ENUNSW
- FTReporting AnalystSA
- FTDocument ControllerSA
- FTPMO Project AnalystOther
- CCJava webMethods DeveloperWA
- FTSenior Developer - C++/Perl/PythonOther
- FTTechnical/ Architecture Java Lead - Move to MelbourneNSW
- CCTechnical Business AnalystWA
- FTCommunications & Change AnalystOther
- FTRiggers - Telecommunications ProjectsNSW
- FTIntermediate Project ManagerQLD
- CCThe job "Automation Test Analyst Guidewire " is now ExpiredQLD
- FTIT ManagerNSW
- CCProcesses and Procedures SpecialistNSW