MSI Summit E16 Flip Evo Review
A 16-inch laptop with a 360-degree hinge
The MSI Summit E16 Flip Evo is a classy, fairly long-lasting semi-portable performance laptop with a large 360-degree 16-inch screen. The display of the version reviewed is not mind blowing and you’d hope to see a glass touchpad at this level, but MSI has made few mistakes with this solid all-rounder.
- Strong performance
- Reserved but sharp-looking design
- All-day battery life for light jobs
- Plastic touchpad
- Unremarkable display resolution and contrast
- UKRRP: £1299
- 165Hz refresh rateHigh refresh rate screens are no longer limited to gaming laptops. The Summit has a 165Hz display, which makes cursor motion appear smoother.
- 360-degree hingeThis is an extra-large hybrid laptop with a touchscreen. The screen can flip right over, or used as a small-footprint stand in the “tent” arrangement.
- 12th Gen Intel P-series CPUMSI uses a high-spec P-series 12th Gen Intel processor, which sits at the top of Intel’s line of CPUs designed to balance raw power and battery consumption.
The MSI Summit E16 Flip Evo is a large-screen all-purpose performance laptop with a 360-degree hinge, which might seem pretty unlikely in a computer with a 16-inch display.
It has all the elements I look for in a solid laptop that needs to function as a person’s main PC. The large battery can last upwards of 12 hours of light use, as long as you select the right mode. An Intel Core i7-1260P provides more than enough power for all productivity purposes, and 16GB RAM makes comfortable 4K video editing a realistic proposition.
But there are a few little shortcomings. MSI makes other versions of the Summit E16 Flip Evo with better displays in other markets, but the 1200p panel used here is just OK in terms of contrast and peak brightness. Its use of a plastic touchpad rather than a glass one at this level is disappointing.
The MSI Summit E16 Flip Evo has a £1299 RRP, and was available online for £1099 at the time of review — a lot cheaper than a Dell XPS 15 or Apple MacBook Pro 16, but the Dell Inspiron 16 Plus packs in more for your money, while looking less slick doing so.
- Aluminium shell
- 1.9kg weight
- 360-degree hinge
Summit is a “business” range from MSI. Don’t come expecting truly eye-catching style. However, the MSI Summit E15 Flip Evo is built to impress. The lid, the keyboard surround and the bottom plate are aluminium, and all surfaces are solidly stiff.
There is a border of plastic that sits around the perimeter of the underside. However, it does not feel cheap and may help increase the stiffness of the design.
The MSI Summit E16 Flip Evo is sober, but good-looking for a business laptop, and the bright bevelled alumnium around the touchpad looks like a statement piece among all the black. I do find the black finish an absolute finger smudge factory, though, and in a well-lit room those grease marks become very obvious.
A fairly plain design makes the 360-hinge something of a surprise. You can fold the MSI Summit E16 Flip Evo screen all the way over so its lid sits on the underside. Of course, you probably won’t use this laptop as a tablet at this size, more likely in the “tent” position where the display stands up, and the laptop takes up little room.
It’s handy for watching YouTube while you cook or, I presume, to give presentations without the keyboard sticking out awkwardly from the bottom. It’s a business laptop, so I guess that’s MSI’s intention.
360-degree designs like this one can lead to an annoyingly wobbly hinge but this one is fairly good. It’s not as sturdy as a solid normal laptop but screen wiggle while you work on an uneven surface isn’t too bad. At 1.9kg the weight is reasonable for a 16-inch laptop and it’s slim at 17mm. This laptop doesn’t seem bulky.
The MSI Summit E16 Flip Evo has a solid array of connections that should satisfy most, except frequent camera users and those who really want a dedicated Ethernet connection.
You get a microSD slot, but not a full-size SD slot. There are two Thunderbolt 4 ports on the side, one of which is used to charge the laptop. These sit alongside an HDMI 2.0 port. On the other side of the laptop sit two USB 3.2 connectors and a 3.5mm headphone/headset jack.
There’s also a physical switch to disconnect the surprisingly decent webcam. Most laptops, even pricey ones, have dismal 720p webcams. This is a much less poor 1080p one that can produce better flesh tones and more detail. Noise reduction is quite weak, leading to dancing image noise in poor lighting, but the picture is still far better than the vague smudgy picture some 720p laptops would offer.
The MSI Summit E16 Flip Evo has two speakers in the classic positions, to each side of the keyboard. I had initially thought these were very weak and willowy sounding, but this seems to be down to a questionable implementation of the preinstalled DTS Audio Processing software. Switch it off and the speakers become louder, less boxy.
Maximum volume is fairly good for a laptop from a business category, but the treble can sound a little brittle and bass depth is poor. We’re not remotely close to the sound quality of a MacBook Pro 16 here, but discovering the MSI Summit E16 Flip Evo can actually get quite loud with DTS switched off was a pleasant revelation.
The MSI Summit E16 Flip Evo has a solid keyboard. Key travel is better than the lifestyle laptop norm at 1.5mm, and the keys feel light and fast, while providing enough depress feedback for a satisfying feel. I prefer these keys to those of the MacBook Air I just started using as my day-to-day computer, thanks to their greater travel.
MSI also earns extra kudos points for not allowing the NUM pad to push the main part of the keyboard dramatically off-centre. The NUM pad uses mini keys, meaning it takes up less space. I’d have been happy to kick out the pad entirely but, hey, it’s a business laptop. Business involves calculations sometimes, right?
The MSI Summit E16 Flip Evo’s keyboard uses a simple 3-level white backlight. Totally normal stuff. It’s not the most elegantly executed backlight I’ve seen recently, with clearly visible LEDs if you look from the right angle, but it does the job.
The touchpad looks the part, but should be better. It is large, the raw aluminium border looks great. However, the surface is plastic, not the textured glass I’d hope to see at the price. You can tell the difference when you glide a finger across it. This plastic is a higher-friction surface, one more likely to “squeak” as you change the direction of your swipes. While good for a plastic pad, the generally upmarket design of the laptop makes this plastic pad seem out of place.
For the first few hours I also thought the clicker was a little stiff and laboured, but I’ve come around. It has a dark and substantial click that has more meat and depth to it than the haptic pads that are starting to spread across models from Microsoft and Huawei.
As a mechanical clicker, the feel gets rather stiff towards the top of the pad. But it’s only somehting I’ve noticed through deliberate testing, not general use.
- Below average contrast
- Review model has relatively low resolution
- Great colour depth for a laptop of this style
Dig into MSI’s US website and you’ll see multiple display specs for the MSI Summit E16 Flip Evo. In the UK we seem to just get the basic 1200p panel version.
This is a 16-inch 1920 x 1200 pixel LCD with a maximum refresh rate of 165Hz. My first impression was that 1200p looks a bit stretched out at this size. Pixellation is pretty obvious, particularly in productivity apps where you routinely deal with small text.
Peak brightness is not that high either at 324 nits. I used the MSI Summit E16 Flip Evo outdoors for a few hours while writing part of this review, and it barely scraped by. Closer to 400 nits would be desirable, and the 16-inch MacBook Pro can famously reach 1000 nits in general usage. For indoors use it’s perfectly good.
Contrast is below average for a “premium” laptop. I measured between 826:1 and 900:1 depending on the brightness level and the part of the screen I stuck my colorimeter tool to. Limited contrast doesn’t leap out at you in the MSI Summit E16 Flip Evo. It honestly looks fine in the average room, but its limited black depth will become more apparent if you, say, try to watch a movie in a dimly-lit room.
Looking closer, there’s also some backlight bleed in my MSI Summit E16 Flip Evo review model, with brighter patches visible towards the bottom-left of the screen.
Colour is fairly strong. MSI descirbes this as a DCI P3 laptop on some of its various pages online. It does not fulfil 100% of the DCI P3 colour gamut, but 90.4% is close enough not to make this claim a complete work of fiction. That’s an excellent result for this type of laptop.
The MSI Summit E16 Flip Evo does, of course, cover 100% of sRGB – what I consider to be the minimum for good colour reproduction in a higher-end laptop.
As a hybid, this is a touchscreen. And you can flip between 60Hz and 165Hz modes using Windows 11’s standard Settings options. The higher setting makes cursor movement look smoother, and improves motion in general. This panel’s pixels seems to be fairly fast to react too, able to make good use of that high refresh rate. It also supports a stylus, but my Flip Evo did not include one.
- No discrete graphics card (in common UK models)
- Great performance, a good fit for content creation
The MSI Summit E16 Flip Evo has an Intel Core i7-1280P processor, 16GB RAM and a 512GB PCIe 4.0 SSD. This should help take the edge of an initial price that may at first seem intimidating. The Summit costs less than the LG Gram 16, less than the Dell XPS 17 and a lot less than a comparably specced MacBook Pro 16.
I think the Core i7-1280P is just about the perfect processor for this sort of laptop. It belongs to Intel’s mid-tier P series, which has a TDP of 28W – balancing power and energy consumption well.
|MSI Summit E16 Flip Evo||MacBook Pro||LG Gram 16 (2022)|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-1280P||Apple M1 Pro||Intel Core i7-1260P|
|Geekbench 5 single/multi||1541 / 12,001||1745 / 12,520||1622 / 8234|
I’d use the MSI Summit E16 Flip Evo for photo editing and video editing happily. It is not that well suited to more GPU-reliant tasks like 3D modelling and video SFX work, because there’s no dedicated video card.
It uses Intel’s baked-in Intel Xe graphics. And while I think this chipset is great for how it opens up gaming for those who like to dabble occasionally but would never buy a gaming laptop. You can play PS4/Xbox One era games well enough, but a more recent title like Cyberpunk 2077 will involve a big hit to visuals and a drop to 720p resolution.
MSI does make a variant of the Summit E16 with discrete Nvidia RTX 30-series GPUs, but it’s not what I’m reviewing today.
Under strain, the MSI Summit E16 Flip Evo stays fairly quiet, but there is a high frequency component to the fan noise that is a little distracting. However, MSI does give you a way to keep noise to a minimum. One of the keyboard shortcuts accesses the performance profiles. The “quiet” and Super Battery modes limit power draw to make the laptop near-silent most of the time.
These are pretty powerful controls. The Super Battery mode reduces Geekbench scores from 11,500-12,000 to 4484, so you need to be mindful of which mode you’re in.
- Good 82Wh capacity
- Up to 12.5 hours of light use
- MSI profiles offer pro-style control over power
The MSI Summit E16 Flip Evo has an 82Wh battery. This initially struck me as a great capacity but I’ve clearly reviewed too many 13-inch laptops recently as it’s similar to the capacity of the LG Gram 16 and HP Envy X360 16.
This laptop has very good battery life, especially considering the 12th Gen Intel laptops I’ve reviewed so far still haven’t managed to touch the heights AMD CPU laptops have reached in recent years.
I’ve run a bunch of tests on the thing, and the best result was 12 hours 36 minutes. This was from running PC Mark 10’s Modern Office benchmark at 150-nit brightness with the screen refresh set to 60Hz, Windows 11’s Battery Saver switched on and the laptop’s own power mode set to Super Battery.
I re-ran the test after turning the battery-preserving modes off. It lasted nine hours, but had stopped at 20% charge as some automatic measures set in. The result suggested it can last around 11 hours of light work without the training wheels on.
For the best results here you are going to have to pay attention to these MSI-specific modes:
- Max Perormance
- Super Battery
Each one, apart from the Auto AI mode, puts a progressively more oppressive cap on how much power the processor can use. But it’s not like Super Battery turns the MSI Summit E16 Flip Evo’s Intel Core i7-1260P into a Celeron. Super Battery is just fine for basic tasks.
Using the MSI Summit E16 Flip Evo for general work with the display brightness maxed, but still set to 60Hz, I found it can last around 7 hours 45 minutes.
Should you buy it?
You want a big-screen laptop with a great performance:
Big screen, great CPU and long battery life if you don’t do anything too taxing, the MSI Summit E16 Flip Evo is a solid all-rounder for those who don’t value gaming performance highly.
You want a great-looking screen:
The particular model reviewed does not have an immediately mind-blowing screen thanks to its so-so pixel density, and the use of a plastic touchpad is at odds with what is otherwise quite a classy laptop.
The MSI Summit E16 Flip Evo is a great all-round desktop replacer laptop that also functions well as larger portable thanks to its mostly reasonably weight and, with the right mode, long battery life
Its keyboard is decent, the 360-degree hinge is well implemented and the performance is great. The screen and touchpad are bettered elsewhere, though. This panel’s contrast is a little limited, the resolution is beginning to look dated and maximum brightness is unremarkable, although the high refresh rate is nice to have.
How we test
Every laptop we review goes through a series of uniform checks designed to gauge key things including build quality, performance, screen quality and battery life.
These include formal synthetic benchmarks and scripted tests, plus a series of real-world checks, such as how well it runs the most frequently used apps.
We also make sure to use every laptop we review as our primary device for at least a week to ensure our review is as accurate as possible.
Used as a main laptop for two weeks
Used consistent benchmarks for fair comparisons with other laptops
Tested battery life
Tested the display
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Our review model has integrated Intel Xe graphics. MSI does make a version with an Nvidia RTX GPU, but it is not readily available in all countries.
The laptops supports MSI’s pressure sensitive Pen stylus, but it was not included with our sample. Check the product description carefully before buying.
It has a touchscreen mounted to a 360-degree hinge.
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A laptop with a 180-degree hinge, which allows you to twist the screen to the back of the keyboard, shifting the laptop into a makeshift tablet.