MSI Summit E15 Review 2021

MSI Summit E15 Review 2021

With the Summit series, MSI has created new notebooks for discerning business customers who do not want to do without a unique design, high connectivity, and high performance on the go. The Summit E15 relies on an Intel Core i7-1185G7, a GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, 16 GB RAM, and a 2x Thunderbolt 4. In the test, the notebook can convince in many areas, but it also has a few small weaknesses.

Pros
  • very good workmanship
  • a lot of power
  • Touch display with good color coverage
  • usable input devices
  • above-average battery life
  • very fast SSD
  • 2x Thunderbolt 4
  • WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1
  • easy to maintain
  • additional SSD can be retrofitted
  • pleasantly coordinated speakers
Cons
  • reflective display (touch version)
  • no SD card reader
  • gets very hot when gaming
  • Throttling during the stress test / gaming

The MSI Summit E15 is available in two versions, which differ in the built-in memory and the display. For the test, MSI provided us with the version with Full HD resolution, a glossy touch display with 100% sRGB color space coverage, and 16 GB of RAM. For graphic designers or photographers, MSI also offers the business notebook with a matte 4K UHD display and 100% AdobeRGB color space coverage as well as 32 GB RAM. At 1.65 instead of 1.79 kg, the second version is even a bit lighter, currently costs $1,799.

Technical data: MSI Summit E15 A11SCST-056

Display15.6 ″, 16: 9, IPS, 100% RGB
60 Hz, glossy, touch
resolution1920 × 1080 pixels (Full HD)
processorIntel Core i7-1185G7
graphicNvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti
random access memory16 GB DDR4 3200 MHz
hard disk1 TB NVMe Gen4 SSD
ConnectivityWLAN 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac / ax (WiFi 6)
Bluetooth 5.1
connections2x USB-C Thunderbolt 4
2x USB-A 3.2 Gen2
1x HDMI
1x combination jack connector
1x MicroSD card reader
battery packLi-polymer battery with 82 Wh
The 90-watt power supply unit
Input devicesilluminated keyboard
touchpad
touchscreen
Sound2.0 speakers
camera720p webcam
operating systemWindows 10
Dimensions35.7 x 23.4 x 1.7 cm (W x D x H)
weight1.79 kg
price$1,799

The MSI Summit E15 is delivered in a simple, dark box. In addition to the notebook and some paperwork, the packaging only contains the 90-watt power supply with a USB-C port, with which the notebook is charged via the Thunderbolt 4 port. A shame: Although MSI does not use too much plastic packaging for the notebook and accessories, the holder shell in the box is still made of plastic instead of cardboard.

MSI Summit E15 Review 2021

Business package relies on golden details

When closed, the MSI Summit E15 creates a simple, business-typical appearance. Only the gold MSI logo on the lid and the Summit lettering on the back reveal that MSI is still a Taiwanese manufacturer. The fact that the Summit E15 is aimed at extroverted business people is also clear in view of the striking golden touchpad border.

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The reflective glass surface is stretched to the edge and gives the display an elegant and seamless appearance. The narrow frames with the 720p webcam on the upper side, which you can also use to log in via Windows Hello, go well with this. The underlying plastic cladding with a carbon look, on the other hand, looks a bit out of place.

MSI Summit E15

The keyboard is located in a recess and stands out clearly from the panel thanks to its white border. It has uniform lighting that can be regulated in four stages. Cool: If you deactivate the sound or the microphone, for example, this is indicated to you on the keyboard via a single LED.

Impeccable processing (MSI Summit E15 Review)

Apart from the small area under the display, the MSI Summit E15 uses a stable aluminum cover, which gives the notebook a high-quality feel but is also prone to fingerprints at the same time.

MSI Summit E15 Review 2021

The workmanship is flawless. There are no sharp edges or uneven gaps, and the panel can hardly be dented. If you want, you can even open the notebook with one finger without any problems.

The display hinges are pleasantly stiff and ensure that you can operate the Summit E15 in a relaxed manner with the help of the touch display.

Confident input devices with a small smear

We come to the keyboard, which is not only pleasing optically – thanks to the white border. It also convinces a pleasant writing experience. Longer texts can be typed almost flawlessly without a long training period, even if the resistance of the keys could turn out to be greater. But that’s grumbling at a high level.

The multi-touch display is also convincing in practice. Entries are recognized and executed quickly and precisely.

MSI Summit E15 keypad

At 10.5 x 6.5 cm, the touchpad is a bit small for a 15 ″ device, but inputs are reliably recognized and the size is easy enough to move from one edge of the screen to the other with one swipe. On the other hand, it is a shame that typing inputs are acknowledged with a minimal rattling noise, even though the integrated keys don’t actually hit. MSI has integrated the fingerprint reader directly into the touchpad.

State-of-the-art connectivity with 2x Thunderbolt 4 and WiFi 6

In terms of connections, the MSI Summit E15 is very well positioned. With two Thunderbolt 4 ports on the left, you can look forward to universally usable interfaces that are not only suitable for charging the notebook. Thanks to a transmission speed of 40 Gb / s, you can also connect two external 4K displays, a high-end eGPU, or external storage media with rapid transmission speeds such as the Samsung X5 ( test ). Since the E15 relies on a USB-C charger, one port is always occupied during the charging process.

MSI Summit E15 ports

The two USB-C ports on the left are joined by an HDMI and a combination jack. MSI has placed the two USB-A ports and a microSD card reader on the opposite side. Especially in view of the variant with 4K UHD display and 100% AdobeRGB, I would have liked a full-fledged SD card reader instead of the MicroSD variant. Otherwise, there is only one LAN port that is missing, which on the one hand can be replaced via an adapter on the TB4 connection and on the other hand is not really missing on a business laptop.

MSI Summit E15 ports

In addition, the Summit E15 with WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 is also state-of-the-art in terms of wireless connectivity and is therefore very well positioned.

Evenly illuminated IPS touch display with good color coverage

The tested version of the MSI Summit E15 relies on a glossy IPS touch display with full HD resolution and thus has a pixel density of 141 PPI. That is sufficiently sharp for everyday use. Thanks to IPS technology, the viewing angles are also stable and there are no color distortions when you look sideways at the display. It is not surprising that the panel of the Summit E15 is intended more for work and not so much for gaming due to the refresh rate of 60 Hz.

With a reflective display with 300 nits brightness, you should avoid direct sunlight.

As usual, we measured the display with our Spyder5 Elite. From the factory, it scores particularly well with a very good contrast of almost 1200: 1, good color coverage (72% AdobeRGB), and an almost perfect gamma. The maximum brightness of 304.5 nits in the middle of the display is also completely sufficient for indoor use. Outside, however, you should better look for your workplace in the shade, which is also recommended in view of the glossy surface. With a maximum deviation of 9%, the display is illuminated very evenly.

MSI Summit E15

On the other hand, there are weaknesses in the white point, which is set much too cold at 7200K at maximum brightness. The color fidelity is also rather average with a Delta E of 2.85. At least with the latter, you can take countermeasures with the right calibration or simply download and activate our calibrated color profile. The calibration improves the Delta E to a pretty good value of 1.3.

MSI Summit E15 graph
MSI Summit E15 graph
MSI Summit E15 graph
MSI Summit E15 graph
MSI Summit E15 graph
MSI Summit E15 graph
MSI Summit E15 graph
MSI Summit E15 graph
MSI Summit E15 graph
MSI Summit E15 graph
MSI Summit E15 graph
MSI Summit E15 graph

Overall, the display is very suitable for working and can also be used for image editing without any problems. However, if you are full-time dependent on color-critical work, it is better to use the version with a 4K UHD display. Then you not only have more pixels available but according to MSI also a color space coverage of 100% AdobeRGB. You then have to do without the touch display, but the version is anti-reflective and therefore not so susceptible to light sources that are behind you.

Amazingly few preinstalled apps

Apart from the MSI Center for Business & Productivity, the taskbar of the business laptop is surprisingly quiet. A look at the installed apps reveals that only a few preinstalled apps actually have a right to exist on the Summit E15. These include PhotoDirector 10 Essential for MSI, PowerDirector 17 Essential for MSI, Skype, Spotify, and Xing. McAfee or other “antivirus programs”, on the other hand, excel with their absence. The other programs can be uninstalled.

On the SSD you have 871 GB available ex-works.

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Dedicated GTX 1650 Ti makes gaming possible

The MSI Summit E15 relies on an Intel Core i7-1185G7, 16 GB RAM, and a dedicated graphics card in the form of the GeForce GTX 1650 Ti. This means that you are very well equipped for all work tasks from Excel to image processing. Even occasional video editing is no problem with the Summit E15. If you are often busy editing videos, you should consider the variant with a 4K UHD display and 32 GB RAM for a smoother workflow.

MSI Summit E15 graph
MSI Summit E15 graph
MSI Summit E15 graph
MSI Summit E15 graph
MSI Summit E15 graph
MSI Summit E15 graph

In Cinebench, the Intel Core i7-1185G7 with four cores can position itself at the top of the current Intel processors in business notebooks, but AMD’s current Ryzen CPUs offer even better multi-core performance thanks to more cores and thus better performance in Applications. Thanks to the GTX 1650 Ti, light gaming is even possible on the Summit E15. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is, for example, reasonably playable in medium details in Full HD. In the CS: GO benchmark, a good 144 FPS in Full HD and 103 FPS in WQHD are also achieved on average.

Even Anno 1800 is not a problem for the CPU, but you should turn down the details for a smooth game because the frame rate drops to an average of around 30 FPS at maximum details. Medium details are generally recommended for more recent titles because the benchmarks of Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla in Full HD and maximum graphics settings crashed the business notebook in each case. In the end, it remains with a business notebook that can be used for occasional gaming.

MSI Summit E15

The built-in NVMe SSD is particularly positive in the benchmark, and thanks to PCIe 4.0 and very high write and read rates, it takes our notebook database at the top.

Above average battery life

The Summit E15 has a relatively large 82 Wh battery. In our benchmark, it can place itself among the 15 ″ notebooks in the upper midfield. Depending on the display brightness and workload, it should even be enough for a working day. You can also extend the battery life by selecting the integrated Intel Xe graphics unit as your preferred graphics processor in the Nvidia graphics settings. Then you will have less power available in graphics-heavy applications.

MSI Summit E15 ports

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Quiet, but hot when gaming

Of course, we also looked at what the temperature and fan management of the Summit E15 looks like under load. First the good news: The business notebook remains relatively quiet even under load. High-frequency whistling, as we have heard quite often in notebook tests, does not occur either. In everyday life and with common business tasks, there are also no problems with excessively high temperatures. The Summit E15 got warm with 90 ° C (CPU) and 64 ° C (GPU) in the stress test, but the temperatures are still acceptable.

When playing, however, you have to be prepared for high temperatures. During a round of CS: GO, the processor heated up to 94 ° C and there was a slight permanent throttling. The graphics card heated up to 80 ° C. Here, too, it becomes clear that the Summit E15 is a business and not a gaming notebook.

Since the business notebook has an aluminum housing, the heat is quickly transferred to the surface. The result is that you should no longer touch the E15 above the keyboard and on the underside under a high load. If you want to play a longer round, you shouldn’t put the notebook on your lap and ensure that it is well ventilated.

Upgrading made easy

Slim business notebooks aren’t always known for their serviceability, but there are exceptions. The Summit E15 is one of them, as its underside can be easily removed without a chip card after loosening the seven Phillips screws. Once inside, you have direct access to the exchangeable battery, the two memory bars, the NVMe SSD, and the WiFi module. Very good: There is even a free M.2 slot available to upgrade the memory.

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In view of the three heat pipes and the two small fans, it becomes clear why the notebook develops a lot of heat when gaming and cannot dissipate it so quickly. However, it is also not a gaming notebook and a complex cooling system requires more and more weight and space.

Surprisingly good labelless sound

MSI doesn’t throw big names around at the Summit E15. You will therefore look in vain for an audio label on the inside. Nevertheless, the stereo speakers can score with clear reproduction and good coordination. Even at full volume, the treble does not tend to screech – which is the case with the majority of notebooks – but the notebook does not become excessively loud either. The speakers are definitely perfect for YouTube videos, films, and music.

MSI Summit E15

Conclusion: MSI Summit E15 Review 2021

MSI has got off to a good start with the new Summit series. The E15 convinces with very good workmanship, a lot of performance, the most modern connections including 2x Thunderbolt 4, user input devices and is surprisingly clean on the software side. Also positive: The business notebook is easy to open and maintain, and you can also easily expand the very fast PCIe 4.0 memory thanks to the additional free M.2 slot.

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The display can also score with good color coverage, even illumination, and high contrast. Only the white point and color fidelity need to be optimized ex-works, but at least the latter can be done quickly with a calibration. If you need more pixels and even better color coverage for color-critical work, you can choose the variant with a 4K UHD display and 100% AdobeRGB color space coverage. It also has 32 GB of RAM and is anti-glare. That suits graphic designers and photographers, who would have been happy to have a full-fledged SD card reader instead of a MicroSD card reader.

The Intel Core i7-1185G7 in combination with 16 GB of RAM and the GeForce GTX 1650 Ti ensure good performance. With this combination, even light gaming in the form of GS: GO or even playing AAA titles with reduced details is possible. More multi-core performance for programs is currently only offered by the new Ryzen processors with up to eight cores.

MSI Summit E15 body

So where is the biggest weak point? When gaming, the Summit E15 has to struggle with high temperatures due to the cooling system designed for business work. On the one hand, this results in slight throttling and, on the other hand, the case gets very hot. However, the notebook itself remains pleasantly quiet. If you primarily use the notebook for everyday business, you shouldn’t have any problems with excessively high temperatures.

MSI Summit E15 on table

If you like the rather unconventional business design of the Summit E15, you can’t go wrong with the notebook. At currently $1,799 *, the series also has a proud entry-level price.

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