MSI Summit E13 Flip EVO Review: MSI Goes Convertible
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MSI Summit E13 Flip EVO
In nearly over a decade, MSI finally released another 2-in-1, and in a market full of competitors, it's not too shabby for a comeback.
- WiFi 6E enabled
- Golden Ratio Logo + Display Aspect Ratio
- MSI's latest 2-in-1
- Brand: MSI
- Storage: 512GB or 1TB
- CPU: Intel Core i7-1185G7
- Memory: 16 or 32GB
- Operating System: Windows 10 Pro
- Battery: 72Wh
- Ports: 2 x Thunderbolt 4, 1 x standard USB-C 3.2, 1x USB-A, hidden microSD card reader, 1 x 3.5mm headphone jack, dedicated webcam lock switch
- Camera: HD webcam
- Display (Size, Resolution): 13.4-inch, 1920 x 1200
- Weight: 2.98lbs (1.35kg)
- GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
- Incredible design
- Stylus included in the box
- Ultra fast storage
- Wi-Fi 6E supported
- The hinge is a little inconsistent
- Trackpad could be more tactile
When you generally think of MSI, you'd be forgiven for assuming they only release devices geared towards gamers like their Stealth or Titan series of laptops. However, in recent times, MSI has been slowly expanding its portfolio to appeal to a broader range of users; its new Summit E13 Flip EVO is its first convertible laptop in over a decade, but is it any good?
Design And Comfort
When it comes to design and comfort, the Summit E13 is one incredible-looking laptop, but it feels eerily similar to HP's Spectre x360. The two computers essentially look the same with their matte black aesthetic, copper sides, and angled corners. Honestly, if MSI had to copy another convertible laptop, the x360 was a great choice.
The laptop comes in two color variants, Ink Black or Pure White. Our review unit came in the Ink Black colorway, and these two colors look solid compared to the generic grey color schemes of other laptops of its class. Like most other black laptops, the lid and the deck of the Summit E13 do get noticeably dirty with fingerprint smudges after typical use, but this issue should be less prominent on the Pure White model.
According to MSI, this laptop follows the Golden Ratio to provide a natural viewing experience. What that boils down to is a new logo design placed on a specific place on the lid of the laptop and a new 16:10 aspect ratio for the display.
In use, the Summit E13's display doesn't have anything that makes it stand out; it's a 13.4-inch FHD+ panel that supports 100% sRGB color and goes up to 500 nits of brightness. This panel looks excellent, and the 16:10 aspect ratio accounts for a better user experience for its intended use. It's not the ideal 3:2 aspect ratio of other business-oriented computers like the Surface Laptop, but its 16:10 aspect ratio does give more vertical real estate; compared to the standard 16:9 displays, this makes for an adequate middle ground between the two.
The display is also touch-enabled and supports MSI's new pen, which comes in the box. In practice, the stylus is very responsive and offers a great way to utilize the laptop's 2-in-1 form factor. It charges via USB-C and offers 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity and 166 degrees of tilt while drawing. M
SI did a great job with palm rejection on this display; I encountered little accidental touches while operating the pen. The pen attaches magnetically on the left side of the laptop and pairs instantly. MSI added a helpful battery indicator that pops up when you touch the screen with the pen.
The pen has three buttons; two on the flat edge and one on the top, similar to Microsoft's Surface Pen. The button on the top portion works great because it acts as a presentation clicker, and the two on the flat edge control the lasso and eraser tool in Microsoft Whiteboard, but you can configure them to do different tasks.
While these features work wonderfully, I wish all the buttons were a bit more tactile; the placement of the two buttons on the flat edge awkward can lead to accidental presses.
Being a 2-in-1, the hinge on this laptop needs to be good, and in usage, it is sufficient, but it lacks consistency. When you open the laptop, the hinge is stiff and provides a good amount of resistance, but as soon as you push it back further than ~95 degrees, the hinge feels flimsy and loose. It tightens back up once you push it all the way down into tablet mode. The hinge isn't bad by any means; however, the inconsistency could potentially account for issues down the line.
Keyboard and Mouse
Onto the keyboard, MSI delivers a superb typing experience. The keyboard is well-spaced, and the keys themselves are a good size for comfortable typing. I think the typing was my favorite aspect of this computer; while the keys weren't as tactile as the Surface Laptop, they offered a good amount of springiness and key travel, that typing on this laptop was enjoyable. The keys were also backlit, and I encountered little accidental key presses while typing in the dark.
The trackpad is a similar story. It's a good size but unusually wide compared to other trackpads; it would be nice to see more vertical real estate on a future product. As for tactility, the trackpad is decent but not as enjoyable as other laptops; it's made of glass, allowing for smooth scrolls, but when you click, you're not going to get the same physical feedback as you would on other laptops. Not to mention, the whole chassis moves as you click, which isn't very promising for a premium device of its nature.
Overall, users who pick up this laptop will be satisfied with its sleek design, included accessories, and incredible-looking FHD+ panel.
When it comes to upgradeability, you're very limited as to what you can do. The RAM isn't user-accessible, but you can upgrade the laptop's NVMe SSD to a maximum of 2TB. While it's nice to see the device can support 2TB of SSD storage, there is almost no need to do so.
MSI already supplies the laptop with 512GB or 1TB of storage, and this NVMe drive is ridiculously fast. There's also a hidden microSD card slot on the right side of the laptop, which can support high capacity flash drives.
While it would've been nice to see MSI allow user-upgradable RAM, the device comes with either 16 or 32GB, and for most use cases, that is more than sufficient.
Specifications and Performance
When it comes to specifications and performance, there is nothing to disappoint you here. MSI equipped the Summit E13 with Intel's 11th-gen Tiger lake processor, and more specifically, the quad-core Intel Core i7-1185G7, which is one of the best chips you can get for an ultrabook right now. I tested this chip on Razer's Razer Book 13 earlier this year, and as expected, the chip did wonderfully. It's a similar story here with the Summit E13.
Our review sample was the top-of-the-line model with 32GB of RAM and 1TB of NVMe SSD storage, but all configurations come equipped with the EVO processor, so you're going to get the same performance on the $1599 model.
Similar to the Razer Book 13, this laptop can easily handle a 4K timeline on Premiere Pro, and it does great with its ultra-fast SSD storage. The only issue that the Flip EVO faces is its ability to sustain performance. If you need both the CPU and integrated graphics, it tends to bottleneck, and that can limit your ability to repeat heavy tasks like compiling code or exporting videos numerous times.
When it comes to synthetic benchmarks, the MSI Summit E13 does pretty well; it's on par with its competitors who use a similar or identical chipset, and if these numbers tell you anything, it's that you should experience little to no performance issues for day-to-day use.
That being said, this computer's form factor doesn't make room for big enough fans to provide adequate cooling for things like heavy gameplay.
Onto ports: this laptop is versatile for anything you might need. You're getting 2 Thunderbolt 4 ports, a standard USB-C 3.2 port, a USB-A port, a hidden microSD card reader, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a dedicated webcam lock switch. Needless to say, this laptop is prepared to support any accessories you might have.
The Summit E13 also supports WiFi 6E; this is a new fast standard capable of delivering 6GHz wirelessly. You'll be able to enjoy less latency and faster WiFi speeds, but since most people don't have a WiFi 6E capable router, the Summit E13 is backward-compatible with WiFi 6 and WiFi 5. The device also supports Bluetooth 5.2, allowing for multiple device connectivity.
When it comes to battery life, the MSI Summit E13 Flip does fairly well. You can expect this 72Whr battery to last at least 8-9 hours on typical usage and a little less than that when you're doing heavier tasks. Without MSI's inclusion of a 4K display, you'll be racking in extra battery life going with this computer compared to some of its rivals.
The MSI Summit E13 has many features that make it a compelling choice among business users. One of the great inclusions is the Windows Hello-enabled fingerprint scanner found on the right of the trackpad, which can be used to securely log you into your device. The webcam lock switch on the side of the laptop is another excellent security advantage as you will be able to cut off webcam access using a physical switch instead of through software.
As for the webcam itself, MSI says it is using AI to reduce noise and grain, but unless they upgrade the physical sensor itself, it's still going to give you subpar image quality like most other laptops.
Should You Buy the MSI E13 Flip EVO?
Overall, the MSI Summit E13 Flip EVO has a terribly long name, but it's one of the best first attempts you'll find in a saturated market full of competitive devices. It comes with everything you could want in a business laptop while still being relatively competitive.
We recommend the MSI Summit E13 Flip EVO to people that require a thin and light 2-in-1 with excellent performance, a decent display, and one that includes accessories in the box.
Our Canadian readers will also find the MSI Summit E13 Flip EVO for sale on Amazon.ca.