MSI Bravo 17 Review: Ryzen 7 4800H and RX 5500M

MSI Bravo 17 Review: MSI has a comparatively compact 17.3 ″ gaming notebook with a fast display, brand new Ryzen 7 4800H, and Radeon RX 5500M on offer. I took a closer look at what performance the combination of AMD processor and graphics card really offers.

Gaming notebooks from MSI are usually known for their very martial and RGB-heavy appearance. However, this does not apply to the Bravo series, which, apart from the countless other notebook series from the Taiwanese manufacturer, is comparatively dignified. As a gaming notebook, the Bravo 17 relies on a pleasantly restrained design and cutting-edge hardware from AMD. With an 8-core processor, dedicated graphics card, and 16 GB of RAM, the 17.3 ″ notebook wants to deliver enough power to power the fast display despite its weight of only 2.2 kg.

Pros
  • simple design for a gaming notebook
  • very good workmanship
  • solid performance in games
  • high performance in applications
  • Aluminum casing
  • good input devices
  • High frame rate IPS display
  • AMD FreeSync Premium
  • coherent sound
  • good temperature management
  • easy to maintain
  • hardly any bloatware
  • relatively light and compact
  • fair price
Cons
  • poor color coverage of the display
  • no Thunderbolt 3 port and SD card reader
  • small mid-range SSD
  • audible under load
  • no free ports on the mainboard

Amazingly compact and simple 17 ″ gaming notebook

As with almost every notebook, the scope of delivery of the Bravo 17 is manageable. Notebook, power supply, charging cable, and some paperwork are included. Unfortunately also various plastic bags.

The first thing you notice is that the MSI Bravo 17, with a height of 2.3 cm and a weight of 2.2 kg, is not only damn compact but also fairly light for a 17 ″ gaming notebook. The restrained appearance, which does not fit into a gaming notebook from MSI, is also pleasing. The lid and surface on the inside are made of aluminum and have a brushed look. The underside is made of plastic and is partly also provided with the brushed structure. Incidentally, you have to take fingerprints into account for the aluminum surfaces.

MSI Bravo 17 Review

The Bravo 17 also uses very narrow display bezels. This applies to both sides and the cover on the top, which still hides a small webcam. Since the notebook turns out to be very narrow overall, MSI could also make the lower bezel nice and compact compared to other 17 “notebooks. There is just enough room for the inconspicuous MSI logo.

Technical data of the MSI Bravo 17 A4DDR **
Display43.9 cm (17.3 ″), IPS
120 Hz / 144 Hz
resolution1,920 x 1,080 pixels in 16: 9 format
processorAMD Ryzen 7 4800H
8 cores / 16 threads
2.9 Ghz / 4.20 GHz (Turbo)
graphicAMD Radeon RX 5500
4 GB VRAM
random access memory8/ 16 GB DDR4 / 3200 MHz
dual channel
. Max expandable to 32 GB
Adaptive SyncAMD FreeSync Premium
hard disk256 GB / 512 PCIe M.2 NVMe SSD
1 TB HDD
networkWireless LAN 802.11 b / g / n / ac / ax (WiFi 6)
Bluetooth 5.1
connections1x HDMI
3x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A (5Gbps)
1x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-C (5Gbps)
1x RJ45
1x 3.5mm jack (microphone)
1x 3.5mm jack (headphones)
battery pack3 cells Li-Polymer, 51 Wh
180 watt power supply
Input devicesKeyboard with number
pad Touchpad with multi-touch gesture support
SoundAudio system with two speakers
securityKensington lock
operating systemWindows 10 Home 64 bit
Dimensions39.7 x 26 x 2.3 cm (W x D x H)
Weight2.2 kilos

** The technical data marked in bold relates to the features of our test device. In our shop, you will find the Bravo 17 A4DDR-068 with slightly different equipment. AMD Ryzen 7 4800H and Radeon RX 5500 remain the same, but the display has a refresh rate of 144 Hz, and 8 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD are installed.

Excellent quality, mediocre torsional stiffness

The Bravo 17 looks very robust thanks to the appropriate use of aluminum and its compact design. However, the top can be pressed easily and the inside above the keyboard even a little more. But that only applies if you want to. The resistance on the keyboard is large enough, and everything stays in place when typing.

MSI Bravo 17 stiffness test

Apart from the torsional stiffness, the Bravo 17 scores with excellent quality. The gaps are all very narrow and even, and there are no sharp edges. The notebook also stands up a bit at the back when the display is opened. This should benefit not only the operation but also the ventilation.

The keyboard and trackpad are convincing

The MSI Bravo 17 has a full keyboard, including arrow keys in normal size and NumPad. Therefore, the buttons have a red border and can only be illuminated in red, so there is no RGB control. The lighting can be regulated in four stages.

MSI Bravo 17 keypad

The typing feel on the keyboard is good, and the feedback is not too spongy. Mechanical keys are more direct here, but you can still write longer texts on the Bravo 17 after a short period of getting used to it. The touchpad has multi-touch gesture support, which also works reliably in everyday life. Two-finger scrolling works just as flawlessly as enlarging or reducing content. However, the touchpad on a 17 ″ gaming notebook could be larger than 10.5 x 6.5 cm. Most gamers, like me, would prefer a (wireless) mouse.

You can also Read: Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 Review 2021

Fast display with mediocre color coverage

The MSI Bravo 17 uses a matte, 17.3 ″ IPS display with full HD resolution and a refresh rate of 120 Hz. It is exactly the AUO479D model from AU Optronics. The display is bright at 234 cd / m² in the middle. The average is 223 cd / m² and slopes slightly towards the top and the lower right corner. Overall, however, the deviations are within an acceptable range with a maximum of 10%. The general brightness is sufficient for rooms but not high enough for fresh air and direct sunlight.

Fast display with mediocre color coverage
Fast display with mediocre color coverage

With an average Delta E of 1.48, the display can also convince in terms of color fidelity. However, this does not apply to color coverage. With 64% sRGB, 46% NTSC and 48% AdobeRGB and DCI P3, colors are not displayed particularly vividly. This is not a big problem in games, but a color-critical image or photo editing should probably be done on an external monitor with higher color coverage. You can find the calibrated color profile here.

MSI Bravo 17 Review

In the evaluation by our Spyder5Elite, the display can also convince in the disciplines of contrast, white point, and color homogeneity and achieved a total of 4 out of 5 points. Thanks to the refresh rate of 120 Hz, all content is displayed smoothly. This is already noticeable when you move the mouse pointer and especially when scrolling through websites. The 120 Hz display is really crucial when it comes to gaming. In combination with AMD FreeSync Premium, games like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey run very smoothly across the screen, even at 45-50 FPS.

MSI Bravo 17 graph
MSI Bravo 17 graph
MSI Bravo 17 graph
MSI Bravo 17 Review

The display suffers a bit from backlight bleeding on the underside, which is especially visible in completely darkened rooms.

The MSI Bravo 17 A4DDR is also available in our shop as a 144 Hz display version. If you are interested in this variant, you should look at the “Display” chapter in the MSI GF75 ( test ), which colleague Sascha has already tested. MSI installed the same IPS panel in both gaming notebooks.

High performance in applications meets mid-range SSD

With the combination of Ryzen 7 4800H, Radeon RX 5500M, and 16 GB DDR4 RAM, the MSI Bravo 17 has decent performance. Thanks to the advanced 7nm manufacturing technology, the fourth generation’s new Ryzen processors are particularly suitable for applications. These benefit from the 8 cores and the high multi-core performance. Therefore, it is not surprising that Bravo 17 leads the field of comparable gaming notebooks in the CineBench R20. With 2500 points, the Core i7-9750H lands well behind the Ryzen 7 4800H, which scratches at 4000 points.

Ryzen 7 4800H

Our Photoshop benchmark difference is not quite as striking since the image editing software also benefits greatly from a fast graphics chip. Despite the strong competition, the Bravo 17 ends up in the upper midfield of our database of similarly equipped gaming notebooks. The gaming notebook needs around 50 seconds to export 20 large photos to Lightroom and is thus ahead of the competition with Intel processors.

The 256 GB NVMe SSD in the Bravo 17 comes from Toshiba. More precisely, it is the Toshiba KBG30ZMV256G model. Unfortunately, the SSD does not win a flower pot in comparison but should be sufficient for most everyday users. The AS SSD benchmark lands in the last third with reading and write rates of approx. 1400 MB / s and 810 MB / s, for example. While speed is not that important in everyday life, most users are likely to reach the limit in everyday life with the 256 GB of storage.

256 GB NVMe SSD

Gambling in Full HD is easy to do

Let’s make it short: The MSI Bravo 17 is very suitable for playing Full HD games (1920x1080px). The level of detail that can be selected depends on the game. The gaming notebook does not have any problems in the CPU-heavy Far Cry 5, for example, and achieves a good 74 FPS average in the ULTRA setting. In Assassin’s Creed, you should be content with a medium level of detail. Then the Bravo 17 achieved a stable 63 frames per second in the benchmark. Thanks to AMD FreeSync Premium, the game runs very smoothly, even at less than 60 FPS.

gaming notebook

Division 2 looks good too. In Full HD, the gaming notebook still achieves a solid 51 FPS average even at the ULTRA detail level. Much more is possible with 89 FPS in the medium detail level. Then you benefit much more from the 120 Hz display, and the gameplay is even smoother. However, in Ghost Recon Wildlands, you should keep your hands off the ultimate level of detail via both the DX11 graphics API and Vulkan. Even at a medium level of detail, the game is only playable on the Bravo 17 to a limited extent.

You will have a few problems with the classic competitive multiplayer shooters. Both Fortnite and CS: GO run with moderate graphics settings at high to very high frame rates. Fortnite runs on the Bravo 17 with about 70 to 150 FPS and in CS: GO, between 150 and 250 FPS are displayed on average, each with a medium level of detail. The fast display can also show its advantages in these and other titles with lower hardware requirements.

gaming notebook display

Pleasingly slim Windows including MSI software

The Bravo 17 uses a pleasantly slim Windows 10 Home in the 64-bit version ex works. If you scroll through the program list, only some MSI software in Dragon Center and MSI App Player stands out. The latter is relatively large at 2 GB, but both programs can be uninstalled without any problems. Hidden object games, antivirus software, or other bloatware? Nothing.

With the Dragon Center, you can also define various user scenarios without an account, monitor the hardware, free up memory, or activate a gaming or creator mode for installed programs. On the other hand, the MSI App Player is a user interface of the Google Play Store for Windows and was developed together with Bluestack Systems Inc. So you can use it to install games like Clash of Clans, Hay Day, etc., on the Bravo 17.

The SSD is a bit tight at 256 GB when games are often larger than 50 GB. From the factory, approx. 199 GB is free on the SSD. In an emergency, you have to install games on the 1 TB HDD, which has a decelerating effect on the startup time.

Temperatures in the green area

Of course, in the test, I was also interested in how the new Ryzen 7 4800H performs in terms of energy management under load. There were no abnormalities in idle with below 50 ° C, especially since the dedicated RX 5500M is automatically deactivated, and the internal RX graphics takes over the low tasks. The temperatures climbed to an average of 85 ° C (CPU) and 70 ° C (GPU) in the stress test. The AMD team gives a good picture even under constant load.

In everyday gaming notebooks, however, the stress tests are less important than temperature development during gaming. The fourth-generation Ryzen 7 lands at 91 ° C on average and the RX 5500M at just under 69 ° C. Given the brute performance of the Ryzen 7 and the compact format of the Bravo 17, the results are quite good.

Audible background noise while gaming

The MSI Bravo 17 is audible in idle mode, but the volume is on an acceptable level. The notebook gets louder and hums in the stress test, but there is no annoying whistling. Since a stress test rarely occurs in everyday life, I also looked at the gaming notebook’s noise behavior while gaming. Given the performance, I picked the slightly aged Far Cry 5 for this test. Far Cry 5 benefits from a fast CPU and can still be played very well on the Bravo 17.

Audible background noise while gaming

The gaming notebook is also clearly audible and hums when gaming. The sound is somewhat reminiscent of that of a small propeller plane in the sky. With a closed headset, the in-game sound can only be partially hidden. For example, with Far Cry 5, the cooler noises were still audible while running, but not on a jet ski. So it depends on whether there is monotonous background noise in the game that drowns out the fans’ noise—Audio player00:0000:00Use the up / down arrow keys to adjust the volume.

Fan volume on Far Cry 5 in Extreme Performance mode
Audio player00:0000:00Use the up / down arrow keys to adjust the volume.

Fan volume on Far Cry 5 in silent mode

I recorded the background noise with a separate microphone while playing Far Cry 5. The volume strongly depends on the set user scenario. The Bravo 17 is significantly louder in extreme performance than in silent mode. However, the quieter operation comes at the expense of temperature management and thus also performance.

Cannot play on battery power

You can no longer play with many gaming notebooks without a permanent power supply because the battery cannot maintain the required voltage for the processor and graphics card. Especially with powerful gaming notebooks, the frame rate often drops to a tenth of the original performance, making mobile gaming impossible.

A prominent exception here was the Razer Blade Stealth 13 ( test ), in which the FPS dropped, but games were still playable. AMD’s fourth-generation Ryzen processors are also known for good battery management, so I also tried to get Far Cry 5 to work without a power plug connected and monitored the frame rate with Fraps. In short: gaming is not possible in battery mode. In FC5, the frame rate drops from 110 FPS to 50 FPS, but suffers from drops to 15 FPS at regular intervals. A smooth gaming experience is not possible with it.

In terms of battery life, the Bravo 17 does not deliver such outstanding results despite the advanced 7 nm technology of the AMD processor, which is not surprising in terms of performance and size. I kept the notebook busy with downloads and installations, and the Bravo 17 asked for a power connection after about 3 hours. Ultimately, a gaming notebook of this site is not designed for battery operation.

Manageable connections for a 17 ″ notebook

The MSI Bravo 17 offers you more or less the standard connection setup. On the right side, there is a LAN connection (RJ45), a USB 3.2 Gen1 Type C and Type-A port, and two 3.5mm jack connections for the microphone on headphones. In addition, the device for the Kensington lock is located on this side.

MSI Bravo 17 ports

On the left side, MSI installed the power and HDMI connection as well as two further USB 3.2 Gen1 Type A ports. The ports are all pretty much in the middle on the sides.

MSI Bravo 17  display port

Unfortunately, there is no Thunderbolt 3, DisplayPort connection, or SD card reader. Also, due to the opening function, there are no connections on the back, as is the case with the Schenker XMG Pro 17 ( test ). Apart from the same size, the XMG Pro 17 is also a significantly more expensive and more powerful notebook.

Sovereign sound

The sound is always a tiresome issue with notebooks. Often there is no resonance space for deep lows, the highs are too dominant, and the ears hurt at full volume. The Bravo 17 is a pleasant exception here, but as a 17 ″ gaming notebook, it also offers better conditions than, for example, an ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 ( test ). Although the Bravo 17 cannot generate a bass with real oomph, the gaming notebook offers a balanced sound with an astonishingly wide stage and easily differentiable instruments.

Sovereign sound

You Can’t Always Get What You Want from the Rolling Stones and Island in the Sun from Weezer can be heard well even at full volume, and the Bravo 17 is also really loud. It is sporadic. For most songs and films, and YouTube videos, a 30 to 50% level is easily sufficient.

Gunfire, explosions, and voices are reproduced precisely by the speakers, even during action-packed games. It’s just a shame that the good sound gets in the way of the fan noise.

Internal ports easily accessible, but occupied

Given the compact dimensions of the Bravo 17, there is little potential for upgrading. At least when it comes to free ports. But one after another. The bottom of the gaming notebook is held in place by 12 screws. Once they have been released, the panel can be removed fairly easily. You don’t need a plastic card for this, but it is best to start on the backside.

Internal ports

The interior of the Bravo 17 is exemplary and tidy, and all components are easily visible and accessible. The two RAM slots are occupied, but you can quickly swap the existing DIMMs for two 16 GB modules. The same applies to the HDD, the WiFi module, and the M.2 NVMe SSD. The latter could actually quickly become scarce with 256 GB of storage. As expected, there are no free ports. The battery should also be replaceable, but the fastening screws are not visible at first glance.

Since there are two radial fans, it is not surprising that there are no ventilation slots directly under the fans. The fresh air is sucked in on the sides and directed out of the notebook past the heat pipes.

Conclusion: MSI Bravo 17 Review 2021

The MSI Bravo 17 is a sovereign gaming notebook for full HD gaming. With the new Ryzen 7 4800H, the RX 5500M, and 16 GB RAM, the gaming notebook not only offers decent gaming performance. Photoshop, Lightroom, and Co. benefit even more from the high multi-core performance of the 4th generation Ryzen 7. The comparatively simple appearance in the gaming segment and the clean Windows are also pleasing. There is also no reason to criticize the quality, but the aluminum case could be more torsion-resistant.

It is a pity that the fans are clearly audible under load. You can’t avoid closed gaming or ANC headset when gaming. However, the mediocre color coverage of the display is not surprising, but the SSD of my test device is tight at 256 GB in 2020. Although the Bravo 17 is also available in our shop with a 512 GB SSD, you will have to do without the HDD and 8 GB RAM. So you have to choose. The good news: Upgrading or retrofitting is possible without any problems. I would also like a Thunderbolt 3 or DisplayPort connection and an SD card reader for even greater suitability for everyday use.

The IPS display with a 120 Hz refresh rate and AMD FreeSync Premium offers a real advantage when gaming. Games run very smoothly across the screen, even at more than 45 FPS, but the performance in current AAA games is good enough for 50 to 100 FPS, depending on the detail level. Even higher frame rates are no problem in multiplayer games such as Fortnite, CS: GO, or PUBG. The flawless keyboard and the precise touchpad are also convincing.

MSI Bravo 17

For a 17 ″ notebook, the Bravo 17 is also surprisingly compact and light, without neglecting good temperature management and ease of maintenance. The stereo speakers also deliver a coherent sound without becoming too shrill at high levels.

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