Advertisement
Advertisement

MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo review: The dark horse of premium laptops

Tim Danton
1 Nov 2021
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,249
inc VAT

A powerful ultraportable with a superb screen and even better battery life – and it flips for good measure

Pros 
Excellent battery life
Impressive screen
Flexible 360° hinge
Cons 
Too heavy to use as a tablet
No IR camera for facial login
Advertisement

Think of premium laptops and it’s American brands that spring to mind: the Apple MacBook, Dell XPS and HP Spectre series for instance. With the Summit E13 Flip Evo, Taiwanese manufacturer MSI aims to break up that all-American dominance with a laptop that could have come right out of a Californian design lab. This is a gorgeous laptop to hold and behold, finished in an all-metal chassis and measuring only 15mm thick.

Buy now from Ebuyer


MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo review: Design and display

Nor is it just a laptop, as the Flip in its name indicates. The hinge not only lifts the rear of the chassis by a couple of millimetres to aid typing, but swivels 360° to turn the Summit E13 into a tablet. MSI includes a stylus in the box, but as ever with such designs, I would warn against getting too excited: 1.4kg is a fine weight for a laptop but it’s way too heavy to hold in one hand like a tablet. There’s nowhere to stow the pen, either.

I suspect most people will find the flexible design most useful when watching films, with the tent mode particularly effective for this. One curiosity is that MSI opts for a 16:10 aspect ratio rather than the more common 16:9, and although this leads to a black border on Netflix shows, it won’t diminish your enjoyment: Russian Doll’s rich colours looked superb, and the speakers have enough gravity and detail to pump out quality music and dialogue.

One reason that films look so good is the high contrast of the IPS panel, which edged towards 1,500:1 in our tests. A figure of 1,000:1 is more typical. Tuned for the sRGB colour space and with a 6400K colour temperature that helps whites look pure white, its colour accuracy is immaculate: an average Delta E of 0.35 and maximum of 1.07 are right up there with the best panels. It only covers 74% of the DCI-P3 colour space, but I defy anyone to look at this screen and call it dull.

MSI opts for a wide touchpad, measuring 120 x 60mm, and this has pluses and minuses. One plus is that you can place multiple fingers side by side for gestures; one negative that you need to swipe twice to move the cursor from the bottom to the top of the screen unless you whack up sensitivity. Still, you should adapt to it quickly. Head to the right and you will stumble across an almost hidden fingerprint sensor, only 12 x 12mm. It works, but you’ll need to be precise, and note there’s no IR camera for facial logins.

The keyboard is good rather than great. I prefer more resistance and definition to keys than MSI’s design provides, and I’m never a fan of squeezing PgUp and PgDn keys into the cursor key cluster – especially when they’re half-height. Still, the main keys are large and well separated, so touch typists will hit decent speeds, and you have a choice of three backlight settings. Plus, there’s no rattle.

READ NEXT: Check out our favourite USB and wireless keyboards

MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo review: Performance

Considering all the power that’s tucked within, it’s worth acknowledging how quiet the Summit E13 Flip Evo is during general use. You’d never know that it’s packed with a top-end Core i7 processor, and MSI ensures this chip has all the necessary support with 32GB of RAM and a speedy 1TB NVMe SSD. Despite the thermal limitations that such a slim chassis brings, the E13 Flip Evo thundered to 157 in our benchmarks and returned a commendable 5,324 in Geekbench 5’s multicore test.

There’s even gaming potential, with 40fps in F1 2020, 49fps in Metro: Last Light and 80fps in Dirt: Showdown. All those results were at the panel’s native 1,920 x 1,200 resolution at High settings. But the best inclusion is the 70Wh battery, which kept this machine going for 12hrs 19mins in our video rundown tests. That’s up there with the best Windows laptops, with only Apple’s ARM-toting MacBooks lasting significantly longer.

READ NEXT: These are the best gaming laptops to buy right now

MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo review: Verdict

With all the connectivity that most people need – including two Thunderbolt 4 ports, Wi-Fi 6 and an always-useful USB-A port – this is a brilliant ultraportable debut for MSI, especially when you consider its price and the flexibility provided by the 360° hinge. Look out Apple, Dell and HP, there’s a new name in town.

Buy now from Ebuyer


Read more

Reviews