MSI trots out a new gaming laptop, with the lucky hot seat contestant this time named the MSI Pulse GL76 11UEK.
SPECIFICATIONS IN BRIEF
|CPU||Up to 11th Gen. Intel® Core™ i7 Processor|
|OS||Windows 10 Home (Free upgrade to Windows 11, when available)|
|DISPLAY||17.3" FHD (1920x1080), 144Hz, IPS-Level|
|17.3" QHD (2560x1440), 165Hz, IPS-Level|
|GRAPHICS||NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3060 Laptop GPU 6GB GDDR6|
|Up to 1485MHz Boost Clock, 85W Maximum Graphics Power with Dynamic Boost.|
|*May vary by scenario|
|MEMORY||DDR4-3200 Memory Type, 2 Slots Number of SO-DIMM Slot, Max 64GB Max Capacity|
|STORAGE CAPABILITY||2x M.2 SSD slot (NVMe PCIe Gen3)|
|WEBCAM||HD type ([email protected])|
|KEYBOARD||RGB Backlight Keyboard|
|AUDIO JACK||1x Mic-in/Headphone-out Combo Jack|
|I/O PORTS||1x Type-C USB3.2 Gen1, 2x Type-A USB3.2 Gen1, 1x Type-A USB2.0, 1x RJ45, 1x (4K @ 60Hz) HDMI|
|BATTERY||53.5 Battery (Whr)|
|AC ADAPTER||180W adapter|
|DIMENSION (WXDXH)||398 x 273 x 24.2 mm|
|WEIGHT (W/ BATTERY)||2.6 kg|
Touting a design meant to invoke the future, the GL66 Pulse is titanium gray with contour lines, a laser-engraved shield logo and angled corners on the cover for that high-tech, robotic look. The gray already makes it stand out from most other MSI offerings which are typically black. The GL66 Pulse keeps the black to the keyboard. With more tasteful engravings and honeycomb design, it definitely looks very sleek. The lid being plastic is kind of a let-down. Material use aside, the machine weighs in at a respectable 2.6kg, and a 24.2mm thickness.
First things first, the display. Packing a 17.3-inch, IPS 16:9 aspect ratio display, our review model carries Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution and 144Hz refresh rate. If you’re looking for QHD + 165Hz, you’ll need to check out the other specifications. The screen’s narrow bezels on both sides helps to give the impression of more screen real estate. The 144Hz refresh rate means you can be assured of a smooth gaming visual experience, while also having fairly good colour gamut performance for other visual media. You can find the HD webcam above the screen which works pretty well, though it will suffer if there’s low lighting.
Moving on to the keyboard, it’s a full-sized one with backlighting and anti-ghosting across 84 keys. It can run the array of monochrome or vivid colours across the keyboard, depending on your preference. While it’s full-size, it’s got that compact design especially catered to gamers. As usual, the customization can be done through the MSI Center companion software, though the actual personalization limits the lighting to one colour or zone. At this price point, other machines typically offer four zones.
The keyboard has a “squishy” feeling, for lack of a better descriptor. It’s quite comfortable, though the compact design means the keys can feel a little close and cramped. The MSI Pulse GL76 comes with a common weakness where the keyboard area feels toasty once you get gaming, so an external keyboard would be recommended.
Next up, the touchpad. It works as needed, and is just average. There are no dedicated buttons, and feels like you need a decent amount of pressure to click. It does feel nice to glide and track with though.
Last but not least, you have a decent selection of ports for your connectivity needs, with seven in total: five on the right, two and the charging port on the left. Overall, you get:
- 1x Type-C USB3.2 Gen1
- 2x Type-A USB3.2 Gen1
- 1x Type-A USB 2.0
- 1x RJ45 (Ethernet/LAN Cable port)
- 1x (4K @ 60Hz) HDMI
- 1x 3.5mm Headphone Jack
You also have a CPU Status LED indicator. The machine rounds it out with dual-band Wi-Fi 6, Gigabit Ethernet and Bluetooth 5.2, pretty standard stuff.
With a 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD, the MSI Pulse GL76 has enough storage for just about any modern title, with two total M2 NVMe PCIe Gen3 SSD slots as needed. RAM wise, you get 16GB DDR4 3200MHz Dual Channel (pre-installed 8GB x2), so that isn’t too much of a problem either. If you’re getting this machine, you’d probably want to know its gaming performance, and it will certainly perform at max settings. As briefly touched on above, the caveat is that it can get really hot so you will need to turn that fan on. The cooling system also helps with improving a game’s performance, but the keyboard area will nonetheless feel uncomfortably warm.
WATCH DOGS: LEGION
At the highest graphics settings, the game can run anywhere between 45 to 70 FPS. Ray tracking and DLSS on with Ultra settings will drop that to 15 to 25 FPS, which is pretty understandable. If you’re going to play at “only” Medium, FPS can go up to 90.
CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS COLD WAR
Much like Watch Dogs: Legion, there’s no lag here either as the game moves along at 60 to 90 FPS.
Once again, you can enjoy having no lag, the game running at over 100 FPS.
Cooler Boost 5 works hard to keep the laptop, well, cool, and for the most part, it can bring down the worst of the temperature quite quickly. Avoid either side of the laptop, though, as in the process of venting the heat, those areas can get pretty hot. The fans aren’t the quiet types either. Can’t have it all.
The 4700mAh capacity battery averages 4-5 hours on just browsing and video playback in testing. While it won’t die out completely, the battery goes from 100 to 29% in 30 minutes if you’re gaming without the charger plugged in.
The audio experience is great, with balanced bass without being too noisy thanks to Hi-res Audio. Nahimic in-game 3D surround sound means you can hear things as it was intended to, with Sound Sharing via Bluetooth available.
You can further peruse the benchmarking scores below, showcasing some respectable scores.
3DMARK STRESS TEST
PC MARK10: 9237
VRMARK: 9760 pt
CINEBENCH: Multicore 10602; Single 1477
WATCH DOGS: LEGION
As usual, the MSI Center companion software is where you can download, update or uninstall MSI exclusive features along with various customization needs. The MSI App Player is also included, as a built-in emulator for your mobile titles.
Overall, the MSI Pulse GL76 11UEK model has quite a few highlights: design, 16GB DDR4 Dual Channel Memory, 1TB NVMe SSD and the keyboard lighting effects. It will be a solid companion for gaming, with the experience made all the better with an excellent display. Concerns are mostly limited to the uncomfortable heat around the keyboard, and a loud fan. If those won’t bother you, then the MSI Pulse GL76 11UEK will serve you well. You can check the specifications on the MSI website.
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