MSI Summit E16 Flip Evaluation: Stepping As much as Compete

MSI Summit E16 Flip

RRP $ 2,299.00

"The MSI Summit E16 Flip is a decent laptop for content creators, if only it was a little cheaper."

advantages

  • Solid build quality

  • Attractive aesthetics

  • Strong productivity performance

  • Excellent IPS display with 120 Hz refresh rate

  • Very good keyboard

disadvantage

  • Too expensive

  • Battery life is mediocre

  • Small touchpad

I really liked the MSI Summit E13 Flip, especially the modern aesthetics, excellent battery life, and solid performance. It turned out that MSI can make a great productivity-oriented 2-in-1 convertible for the popular gaming laptops, even if the price was a bit steep.

MSI has a larger version of the device, the Summit E16 Flip, which not only expands the 16:10 display from 13.4 inches to 16 inches, but also adds a separate GPU via Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3050. It has a similar look and feel, but is more aimed at developers who can take advantage of the extra power of a GPU for applications that can use it, like Adobe's Creative Suite.

I tested the top-end Summit E16 Flip with a Core i7-1195G7 CPU and the RTX 3050, which has a retail price of $ 2,299. The three available models only differ in their RAM and storage, whereby the test device with 32 GB RAM and a 2 TB SSD is the top model. As with the 13-inch model, the Summit E16 Flip is a bit pricey – but I enjoyed the machine enough to justify the investment.

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Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Like its smaller brother, the Summit E16 Flip has a slim, completely black case with just a few rose gold accents in an MSI logo on the front and along the beveled edges on the lid and touchpad. The larger model doesn't have the cropped chassis and lid corners of the 13-inch model reminiscent of the HP Specter line, including the Specter x360 15, but the rose gold and black color scheme still hints at HP's machines .

The lines of the 2-in-1 are simpler, with a slightly angled edge along the back of the case and a steeply angled keyboard deck. It's an elegant overall look that is not overrated and is more eye-catching than the HP Envy x360 15, which is also available in black but has a deliberately minimalist design. As with the smaller version, MSI also notes the use of the golden ratio (1.68) when designing the dimensions of the laptop.

The display bezels of the 2-in-1 display aren't tiny at the top and bottom, so the overall dimensions of the Summit E16 Flip are a bit excessive. It's almost as wide as the Specter x360 15, but over an inch deeper thanks to the taller display and larger bezels. However, it's thinner at 0.67 inches and slightly heavier at 4.4 pounds compared to the Specter x360 15 at 0.79 inches and 4.23 pounds. The Summit E16 Flip is also deeper than the Envy x360 15 with its 16: 9 display, while again it's thinner and slightly heavier compared to the Envy’s 0.72 inches and 4.11 pounds.

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Overall, the Summit E16 Flip is a large convertible 2-in-1, but not unexpected considering it's a large and tall display. You won't want to hold it in your arm to ink, but that's typical of larger 2-in-1 devices.

The Summit E16 Flip is made from CNC machined aluminum, which fits its premium character. Accordingly, the entire chassis is torsion-resistant, without the lid (as shown on the 13-inch model), the keyboard deck or the case's underside sagging. It is slightly on par with the Specter x360 15 and is ahead of the Envy x360 15, which had a bit of keyboard flex.

The Summit E16 Flip is a very well made laptop. The hinge can be easily opened with one hand, which is unusual for convertible 2-in-1s, and holds the display in its four positions – clamshell, tent, media and tablet. It also supports the keyboard deck at an angle for a more comfortable typing experience and improved airflow.

Connectivity is a strength. On the left is a full-size HDMI port and two USB-C with Thunderbolt 4 ports (one of which is used for charging) and two USB-A 3.2 ports, a 3.5mm audio jack and a microSD card reader on the right.

Given the usefulness of this 2-in-1 for creatives, a full-size SD card reader would have been desirable. The latest in Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 offer fast wireless capabilities with the right router.

power

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The Summit E16 Flip uses a 28-watt 4-core / 8-thread Intel Core i7-1195G7, which is a fast chip, but it's still intended for thin and light laptops rather than portable powerhouses. This is in contrast to the 45-watt Core i7-10750H with 6 cores and 12 threads in the HP Specter x360 15 and the 8-core / 16-thread AMD Ryzen 7 5700U in the HP Envy x360 15.

Then there are clamshell laptops like the Dell XPS 15 and MSI Creator Z16 that use the latest 8-core / 16-thread Core i7-11800H CPUs that are significantly faster – though it's not entirely fair, these portable ones Compare workstations with a Convertible 2. in 1. My performance expectations for the Summit E16 Flip have been lowered despite everything.

According to our benchmarks, the Summit E16 Flip's performance was strong for productive work, but mixed for creative endeavors. Note that MSI provides a utility to switch from "balanced" to "powerful" modes and this made a noticeable difference in some of these results, but not enough to warrant analysis. If you need a little more power, you can switch the 2-in-1 to overdrive.

The MSI Summit E16 Flip balances CPU and GPU performance very well.

The Summit E16 Flip performed well in Geekbench 5 and beat the Specter x360 15 in both the single and multi-core tests, but lost in the multi-core test against the blazingly fast AMD Ryzen 7 CPU in the Envy x360 15. In our Handbrake test, which converts a 420MB video to H.265, the MSI couldn't compete with any of our comparison devices except for the LG Gram 16, which uses a slower Core i7, but it wasn't much slower than the Specter x360 15. The same applies to Cinebench R23, another CPU-intensive benchmark. The Summit E16 Flip scores exceptionally well in the PCMark Complete test and its values ​​for essentials, productivity and content creation are also good for the CPU class.

One surprising result was Pugetbench, which uses Adobe Premiere Pro to handle a number of demanding video editing tasks and can use both the CPU and GPU to speed up performance. Here the Summit E16 Flip achieved an excellent score of 552, which was significantly higher than all the others except for the Dell XPS 15 (which beat it) and the MSI Creator Z16 (which dominated this benchmark). MSI coordinated the CPU and the GPU excellently to achieve a good performance in this practical test.

The Summit E16 Flip is not the fastest notebook in the 15- and 16-inch class, but it is fast enough for a convertible 2-in-1. It's faster overall than the HP Specter x360 15, and while the HP Specter x360 16 was announced with a 35-watt H-series CPU, the details are sparse – it could be another solid competitor, but we won't know until we i have compared it. Either way, the Summit E16 Flip is a 2-in-1 device that can handle your demanding productivity tasks, but not handle demanding creative workflows that are CPU intensive.

Laptop Underdog bench 5 Cinebench R23 Budget bank Handbrake
(Seconds)
PCMark 10 3DMark time spy Fourteen days
(1080p epic)
Civilization VI (1080p Ultra)
MSI Summit E16 Flip (Core i7-1195G7) 1607/6096 1589/5344 552 175 5681 4138 52 fps 62 fps
HP Specter x360 15 (Core i7-10750H) 1237/5013 1102/5492 339 160 4676 2325 54 fps 60 fps
HP Envy x360 15 (AMD Ryzen7 5700U) 1198/6790 1258/8131 185 116 5419 902 20 fps N / A
Dell XPS 15 OLED 2021 (Core i7-11800H) 1544/7692 1513/9979 509 101 6024 4540 50 fps 73 fps
MSI Creator Z16 (Core i7-11800H) 1540/7625 1444/9615 738 103 6486 6322 59 fps (1200p) 92 fps
LG gram 16 (Core i7-1165G7) 1573/5454 1394/4137 N / A 213 4827 1390 13 fps n / A

The Summit E16 Flip is equipped with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU, an entry-level graphics chip. It does well in the 3DMark Time Spy test, not too far behind the RTX 3050 Ti in the Dell XPS 15 and well ahead of the GTX 1650 Ti in the HP Specter x360 15. When testing the performance in some popular games, I found the Summit E16 Flip at 1080p or 1200p and moderate graphics settings a competent performer.

Fortnite hit 52 frames per second (fps) at 1200p and epic settings, behind the Specter x360 15 but ahead of the XPS 15 and competitive with the MSI Creator Z16 (with an RTX 3060). In Civilization VI, the Summit E16 Flip hit 62 fps at 1080p and ultra graphics, slightly ahead of the Specter x360 15 and behind the XPS 15 and Creator Z16, but not by much. MSI's 2-in-1 hit 43 fps at 1200p and high graphics, way behind the XPS 15 and Creator Z16, and it dropped from there as the resolution and graphics settings went up.

In Battlefield V, the Summit E16 Flip finally ran at 49 fps at 1200p and medium graphics, again clearly behind the XPS 15 and the Creator Z16, but still playable. Even at 1600p and ultra graphics, the Summit E16 Flip achieved 30 fps.

As long as you agree to the graphic quality limitation, you can play modern titles at 1080p or 1200p. It's not a gaming laptop, but it's not a bad entry-level device.

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Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

I criticized the Summit E13 Flip for its poor calibration, with colors and gamma that were far away. I noticed this when I was doing my tests and before I pulled out my colorimeter. With the display of the Summit E16 Flip, which looked very bright, with dynamic and natural colors and deep blacks, there were no such problems. And the large 16-inch display has the productivity-friendly 16:10 aspect ratio with a sufficiently sharp QHD + resolution (2,560 x 1,600). I really enjoyed using the display while doing my tests.

I was not wrong with my impressions. According to my colorimeter, MSI picked an excellent IPS panel for the Summit E16 Flip and calibrated it much better. First, it was very bright at 482 nits, well above our 300 nit threshold. The colors were much wider than the average premium display at 89% of AdobeRGB (most displays are around 72%) and 100% of sRGB (with 95% close to average).

I discovered by accident that the display supports a refresh rate of 120 Hz.

The colors were also accurate with a Delta E of 1.12 (1.0 or less is considered excellent). The contrast of 1,140: 1 was above our threshold of 1,000: 1. This is much better than the IPS display of the HP Envy x360 15 with 270 nits, 71% Adobe RGB and 95% sRGB with an accuracy of 1.06 (slightly better) and a contrast ratio of 900: 1. Of course, the HP Specter x360 15 with its OLED display had even wider colors at 99% AdobeRGB and 100% sRGB, with an accuracy of 1.21 and an ink-black contrast ratio of 426,180: 1.

In an interesting twist, I discovered quite by accident that the display supports 120 Hz, although this is nowhere mentioned in the literature I received with the test device. I tried running Assassin's Creed Valhalla which wouldn't run properly and in Settings I noticed that the game was set to the non-native 60Hz by default.

Lo and behold, I could switch to 120 Hz if I wanted to. I checked the display settings and there it was, set to 120 Hz by default. I didn't notice anything prior to this discovery, but when I switched back and forth between 60Hz and 120Hz I found that things went a little smoother. So that's another plus point for the display, which MSI should advertise more prominently.

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Overall, the Summit E16 Flip's display is great for productive work, with more than wide and accurate colors and contrasts that make black text stand out on a white background. It's also good enough for developers who might want a slightly larger AdobeRGB color space but could certainly get their job done with this 2-in-1. It's an excellent display that justifies the Summit E16 Flip's higher price tag.

The sound was surprisingly quiet, even at maximum volume. The mids and highs were clear and comfortable, and there was even a hint of bass, but it just wasn't a lot of volume. It's good audio for Netflix and the like, but you should do this in a quiet setting. Headphones are needed when you need to drown out background noise.

Keyboard and touchpad

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Like the smaller model, the Summit E16 Flip also has an excellent keyboard. It has a lot of space and large keycaps, even if you tuck in the small numeric keypad on the right. The switches offered a lot of spring travel with 1.5 mm, a light touch and a snappy mechanism. My only complaint was that the floor movement was a little softer than I like, but that's nits. I would rate this keyboard at the top of the list with the best, including versions of the HP Specter and Dell XPS lines.

But I have a bone to pick with MSI. There's plenty of room on the palm rest for a huge touchpad – that's one of the advantages of a taller display. And yet a tiny, wide-format touchpad is built in, which leaves almost an inch of free space at the top and bottom.

Dell used this space with the XPS 15 and equipped one of the largest touchpads that you will find on a Windows computer. The E16 flip touchpad is fine for what it is, with a smooth surface, reliable support for Windows multitouch gestures thanks to Microsoft Precision touchpad support and firm but quiet buttons. But it's so tiny.

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

MSI contains its active pen in the box and can be magnetically attached to the housing or cover of the Summit E16 Flip. It supports 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity with tilt and is charged via USB-C. Although the 16-inch 2-in-1 is quite unwieldy in tablet mode when you place it on a surface and use it for drawing or taking notes, the pen works admirably. The touch display also responded.

A fingerprint reader provides Windows Hello support on the palm rest. As with most fingerprint readers today, it was quick and reliable. MSI has also implemented some options to turn off the webcam for privacy reasons. You can either press a key on the keyboard or flip a physical switch to electronically turn off the webcam so that hackers can no longer take advantage of it.

I prefer this to the physical sliders and those other manufacturers use. HP pioneered the concept with its Specter x360 13 and Specter x360 15, but has since moved to physical covers that are controlled by keyboard keys.

Battery life

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

MSI put 82 watt hours of battery into the case of the Summit E16 Flip, which is close to the 83 watt hours of the HP Specter x360 15 and significantly more than the 51 watt hours of the Envy x360 15. I didn't have spectacular battery life with a large, high-resolution display expected.

What I got was longevity that may or may not last a day's work depending on the workload. In our web browsing test, the Summit E16 Flip lasted eight hours, which is below the 10 hours we'd like to see in this test. While the Specter x360 15 only lasted 6.2 hours with its OLED display, the Envy x360 15 lasted a more impressive 11 hours. That puts the result of the Summit E16 Flip into perspective.

In our video test, which repeats a local Full HD Avengers trailer, the Summit E16 Flip achieved 10.75 hours, an OK result compared to the Specter x360 15 with just 6.5 hours and the Envy x360 15 with 13 , 65 hours.

The battery life of the MSI Summit E16 Flip is only mediocre.

I also ran the Summit E16 Flip through the PCMark 10 Applications battery test where it reached nearly 8.5 hours. Again, that's less than the 10 hours we saw in this benchmark, which best approximates battery life to productivity. The Specter x360 15 was significantly lower with 5.5 hours and the Envy x360 15 was again significantly stronger with 12.5 hours. The Summit E16 Flip lasted 2.25 hours in the PCMark 10 gaming battery test, which is roughly average. This test seems to measure how hard a laptop is working on battery life, rather than reflecting total battery life.

Overall, the battery life of the Summit E16 Flip is only mediocre. As I said earlier, it may or may not get you through a full day of work, and I suspect it won't if your workflow is above average. Take your charger with you when you're on the go.

Our opinion

The MSI Summit E16 Flip is a nice-looking and well-built 2-in-1 convertible with an outstanding 16-inch 16:10 display. It's big and inconvenient like a tablet, but that's to be expected with such a large display. It's an admirable work machine for productivity and can handle entry-level creative tasks too. The keyboard is very good, but the touchpad is way too small given the space available.

MSI made one of the better large format 2-in-1 convertibles you can buy. If you're looking for a flexible machine that can handle serious jobs, the Summit E16 Flip should be on your list.

Are there alternatives?

The Specter x360 15 is a solid alternative, although it is getting on in years. Its 45 watt CPU and separate GPU perform well, and the OLED display is excellent. You will also save some money.

The new Specter x360 16 is likely to be another good alternative, although its 35-watt CPU is unlikely to offer much better performance. But you have an OLED display option and a display that is just as big and expansive. However, we don't know much about the machine, including the price.

Finally, if you don't need a 2-in-1, the Dell XPS 15 is a solid choice. It has an even better build quality, an even better display, and its performance is better for developers. They pay similar prices for the same configurations.

How long it will take?

The Summit E16 Flip is solidly built and should be productive for years. Its components are modern and cutting edge, including the fastest WiFi you can get, and it should keep up with Windows 10 – and Windows 11 – for as long as you need it. The one-year warranty remains disappointing at this price.

Should you buy it?

Yes sir. You'll love the looks and performance of the Summit E16 Flip – just be prepared to charge it.

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