MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo

RRP $ 1,900.00

"The MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo does almost everything right – except for the price."

advantages

  • Modern and attractive aesthetics

  • Thin and light

  • Excellent keyboard and touchpad

  • Great battery life

  • Solid productivity performance

disadvantage

  • Lid is a bit flexible

  • Display is badly calibrated

  • Too expensive

When looking for a convertible 2-in-1 laptop, MSI might not be the first brand that comes to mind. It's best known for its gaming laptops, but the company makes several other lines of laptops aimed at general consumers and business users. For the latter, MSI offers the Summit line, including the new Summit E13 Flip Evo 2-in-1, which offers a 16:10 display and an extremely attractive design.

I tested the high-end configuration, which costs $ 1,900 and includes an 11th generation Intel Core i7-1185G7 and a 13.4-inch IPS display in a productivity-friendly 16:10 aspect ratio. It immediately convinced me with its aesthetics and left a clear impression of quality. At a higher total price and without cheap basic equipment, however, the attractiveness remains limited.

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My first impression of the Summit E13 Flip Evo was that it bears a clear resemblance to the HP Specter x360 14. At least that's the case with my Ink Black version; the impression is not as pronounced with the Pure White color scheme.

I say this because the Summit E13 Flip Evo has case and display corners that are cut off at angles similar to the Specter x360 14, and the various edges of the laptop (including around the touchpad) are a familiar rose gold color. It's easy to tell the difference between the laptops, but it seems that MSI has adopted some aesthetic concepts from HP.

This does not apply to functionality – unlike the HP, the MSI does not have a USB-C port, which is conveniently placed in a corner. Regardless of its inspiration, the Summit E13 Flip Evo is a beautiful laptop with modern lines and attractive colors that add up to an overall elegant design. MSI makes a lot of the golden ratio (1,618) used to proportion the laptop, and I can't fault its math.

What I can criticize, however, are the large display bezels, which detract from the otherwise modern look. They're bigger at the top and bottom than they could be, and that makes the 13.4-inch laptop with its 16:10 display a little deeper than necessary. It's only a fraction of an inch away from the Specter x360 14 with its larger and taller 13.5-inch 3: 2 display, though it's a bit thinner at 0.59 inches compared to the HP's 0.67 inches.

The MSI is only slightly heavier at 2.98 pounds than the HP at 2.95 pounds. It's larger in width and depth than the Dell XPS 13, which also uses a 13.4-inch 16:10 display, and the Dell is slightly thinner at 0.58-inches and lighter at 2.64-inches. Part of the added depth of the Summit E13 Flip Evo is due to the convertible 2-in-1 hinge, but even so, MSI could have made this laptop a smaller laptop with a little more attention to the bezels.

The construction of the Summit E13 Flip Evo is certainly top notch as it uses CNC machined aluminum to carve the lid and chassis from individual blocks of metal. The lid bends only slightly when you press it lightly and the LCD becomes distorted in the process. However, the bottom chassis and keyboard deck are solid and give the laptop a solid feel overall. Thanks to the lid, it's not as stiff as the HP Specter x360 14 or Dell XPS 13, but it is close. The hinge allows the lid to be opened with one hand, but it also makes it a little wobbly when you move the laptop.

At that price point, the Summit E13 Flip Evo is expensive in its $ 1,900 configuration. It's worth the premium given the high-end design of the laptop, but most users will likely be put off by the high-end price. The $ 1,600 configuration with 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD is cheaper and on par with the competition. The Specter x360 14, for example, currently costs $ 1,460 for the same configuration as the $ 1,600 Summit E13 Flip Evo, but with a Core i7-1165G7 versus the MSI Core i7-1185G7. So it's $ 140 cheaper, but it also has a smaller processor.

With an identical configuration, the Dell XPS 13 costs almost exactly the same price at $ 1,620. MSI is asking too much to upgrade to 32GB of RAM, which most users in this class won't need.

Connectivity is good for a very thin and light laptop, with a USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port and two USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 ports with Thunderbolt 4 on the left and a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port ( no Thunderbolt 4) with a 3.5mm audio jack and a hidden microSD card reader on the right. Wi-Fi 6E – the Summit E13 Flip Evo is the first laptop with the latest Wi-Fi 6E standard that supports an exclusive 6 GHz band – and Bluetooth 5.2 ensures wireless connectivity.

power

MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo easel, foldable, sitting on the tabletop.Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

In the Summit E13 Flip Evo, MSI activates the full 28 watts of the 11th generation Intel Core i7-1185G7 and theoretically promises the best possible performance of the chip. However, according to our benchmarks, the 2-in-1 does not necessarily jump to the top among similarly configured laptops.

In Geekbench 5, the Summit E13 Flip Evo was in the midfield. MSI includes a utility to tune performance versus fan noise, and it made a modest difference in some tests. For example, the Geekbench score jumped to 1,519 single-core and 5,310 in performance mode. The utility also improved the laptop's Handbrake Score, which measures the time it takes to encode a 420MB video as H.265, from 207 to 178 seconds. Both values ​​are more competitive. The utility made less of a difference in Cinebench R23 and PCMark 10. In the last-mentioned benchmark, the notebook was in the midfield across all included tests, including Essentials (web browsing etc.), productivity (Office apps etc.), and Creation (video coding and more).

Overall, the Summit E13 Flip Evo was a fast laptop for its configuration, which included 32GB of RAM and a fast 1TB SSD, but it wasn't dominant among the Intel machines. As mentioned above, the $ 1,600 base configuration comes with 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB solid-state drive. A model with 8 GB of RAM and less storage is not offered, which puts it behind its competitors.

In any case, the MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo will be fast enough to keep up with demanding productivity workflows, but it won't please creative types who crave a laptop that can handle CPU-intensive tasks. For this you need an AMD Ryzen 5000 series chip, an M1 MacBook or a larger 45 watt Intel laptop.

Geekbench (single / multiple) Handbrake
(Seconds)
Cinebench R23 (single / multiple) PCMark 10 3DMark time spy
MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo
(Core i7-1185G7)
1352/4891 207 1360/4392 4872 1751
Dell XPS 13 (Core i7-1185G7) 1549/5431 204 1399/4585 n / A 1380
HP Specter x360 14 (Core i7-1165G7) 1214/4117 236 1389/3941 4728 1457
Lenovo Yoga 9i 14
(Core i7-1185G7)
1532/5415 207 1435/4409 4800 1648
Asus ZenBook 13 OLED
(Ryzen7 5800U)
1423/6758 124 1171/7824 6034 1342
MacBook Pro 13 (M1) 1707/7337 n / A 1487/7547 n / A n / A

Like all laptops with Intel's built-in Iris Xe graphics (and AMD machines with Radeon graphics), the Summit E13 Flip Evo doesn't pretend to be a gaming laptop.

Its 3DMark Time Spy Score is inconspicuous and it only managed 26 frames per second (fps) at 1080p high settings in Fortnite. With the Epic graphics switched on, this dropped to 19 fps.

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Close up on the MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo laptop screen.Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

I love seeing so many new devices with larger displays, especially in different sizes and form factors. The Summit E13 Flip Evo is such a laptop with a 13.4-inch 16:10 display in Full HD + resolution (1,920 x 1,200). That's the only choice that's unfortunate – I'd love to see a higher resolution display option.

Subjectively, the display seemed to me well suited for productivity tasks, as it was very bright and with good contrast, so that black text popped out of the white background (as an author, this is one of my most important display attributes). The colors seemed fine when looking at the display alone, though I did notice that things were a little out of place in color compared to some of the other laptops I had lying around.

This is where my colorimeter came in. So the display has some good and some not so good features. As I said, the panel appeared to be bright, at 471 nits (well above our 300 nit threshold), and the contrast ratio was 950: 1 – just below our preferred ratio of 1,000: 1. The colors matched at 73% AdobeRGB and 97% sRGB the average of the premium laptop (not creative). All of this is good enough for a machine in the Summit E13 Flip Evo's class.

The color accuracy was not so great with a disappointing DeltaE of 3.94. That explains my subjective impression. Gamma (how light or dark an image or video is displayed compared to the original) was also extremely poor at 1.4. I usually don't mention gamma as most laptop displays measure the 2.2 standard. However, the MSI's display is way too bright, which I noticed again when using the laptop.

Close up on close up of the screen and bezels of the MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo.Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

It is possible that my device was poorly calibrated and could be repaired by anyone with the right tools – not many people have access to a colorimeter to do their own calibration. But it detracts from the experience of using the laptop including watching videos where the poor gamma has an impact. Creators will also find it too imprecise for their needs.

The sound was fine, with enough volume from the two down-facing speakers to enjoy a YouTube video without distortion when it was all the way up. The mids and highs were clear, but there was no bass. You will need a pair of headphones to enjoy Netflix and listen to music, but otherwise the sound quality is average for the class.

Keyboard and touchpad

Close-up of the trackpad and keyboard on the MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo.Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The keyboard of the Summit E13 Flip Evo is characterized by excellent spacing and large keycaps with legible lettering and three useful levels of constant backlighting. The layout is standard for the most part and I was up to speed in no time. I enjoyed the 1.5mm of travel, especially considering the light switches that didn't cause fatigue. Floor motion was a bit soft, and I prefer the crisper HP Specter range of keyboards, but overall I found MSI's keyboard comfortable for longer tips sessions (like writing this review).

The touchpad was large and medium in size, but there is more room on the keyboard deck for a larger touchpad. It supports Microsoft's Precision touchpad drivers and responded well to Windows 10's multitouch gestures. The buttons were clicky and quiet, which is a nice combination. Apart from the fact that it would be a bit bigger, I have no complaints.

The active MSI pen is included in the scope of delivery and is attached magnetically to the lid or housing of the laptop. It supports 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt and is conveniently charged via USB-C. I found it to be as good a Windows Ink experience as any other modern 2-in-1 device I've used. The touch display also responded. An infrared camera and face recognition as well as a fingerprint reader on the palm rest offer Windows 10 Hello passwordless support. Both were quick and reliable.

Close up of the trackpad, keyboard, and fingerprint scanner on the MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo.Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Interestingly, MSI has built a switch on the side of the laptop to electronically turn off the webcam. This is the same mechanism that HP used in some older Specter 2-in-1s, such as the Specter x360 13 and Specter x360 15. HP has since moved on to placing a key on the keyboard that closes a physical shutter over the webcam , but it's interesting that this is something else that MSI apparently borrowed.

I prefer the electronic version because it turns off the webcam completely and doesn't let hackers take advantage of it. The keyboard also has a button to turn off the microphone, another welcome privacy feature.

Battery life

MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo sits on the tabletop.Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

MSI packed 70 watt hours of battery into the Summit E13 Flip Evo, which is a lot for a 13-inch laptop. In combination with the Full HD + display, I expected a good battery life.

That's exactly what I saw, starting with our web browsing test, where the 2-in-1 lasted about 11 hours. This is a strong score that surpassed the seven hours of the HP Specter x360 14 (an OLED display was used in our test device, so that's not a really fair test) and the Dell XPS 13 Full HD + with around 8.5 hours. In our video looping test using a local Full HD Avengers trailer, the MSI achieved 16 hours, which is also a good value. The XPS 13 only lasted 12 hours, the Specter x360 14 was well behind with 10 hours.

I also ran the PCMark 10 Applications battery test which got the Summit E13 Flip Evo to reach 13.5 hours. The Specter x360 14 ran for nine hours and the XPS 13 for 10.75 hours in this test, which makes the MSI's score impressive. In the PCMark 10 gaming battery test, which stresses the CPU and GPU, the Summit E13 Flip Evo scores 2.5 hours better than many laptops – although this test seems to demonstrate how hard a laptop runs on battery power instead of directly testing battery life .

Ultimately, battery life is a strength of the Summit E13 Flip Evo. It runs all day, leaving some time for evening work or Netflix bingeing. You don't have to worry about taking your PSU with you unless you really put a load on the processors.

Our opinion

The MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo is a useful addition to the stable 13-inch convertible 2-in-1. It's fast, has a long battery life, and looks great. The lid is a bit flexible and a bit expensive in its high-end configuration, but I found it to be a comfortable laptop for real world use.

The problem is that there are a lot of competitors. The MSI is as good as most of them, just make sure you choose the right configuration to avoid spending too much.

Any alternatives?

The HP Specter x360 14 is a great alternative. It's not that fast (at least without activating the performance mode), but it has a spectacular 13.5-inch OLED display with a 3: 2 aspect ratio. It's almost as expensive as the MSI when configured with the OLED display, but it only comes with a maximum of 16GB of RAM compared to the Summit E13 Flip Evo's 32GB.

The Dell XPS 13 is another great option if you don't need a 2-in-1. It's just as fast, has good battery life, and is better built – there's a reason it tops several best-of lists.

How long it will take?

The Summit E13 Flip Evo is so well built that you don't have to worry about its longevity. In addition, it is future-proof equipped with modern components such as the fast Wi-Fi 6E. The one year warranty will always be disappointing.

Should you buy it?

Yes sir. You will love using the Summit E13 Flip Evo; Just be prepared to pay a few extra dollars if you go for the high-end version.

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