While MSI is best known for gaming-oriented machines, it is dead serious about its latest foray into the world of professional business laptops. Summit E13 Flip Evo is a ridiculously long name for a laptop. Still, naming conventions are about as silly as this splendid 2-in-1 device gets – while typically known for gaming-oriented machines, MSI is deadly serious about its latest foray into the world of professional business laptops.
You could be excused for mistaking Summit E13 Flip Evo for HP Spectre X360 13, which is a very similar gadget, and this appears to be a case where flattery is the greatest kind of flattery. Both features nearly identical chassis designs, but there are a few key variations that we’ll go over later that could sway you one way or the other if you’re torn between the two.
MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo comes with an 11th generation Intel i7 processor and a few different memory and storage options to pick from, just enough to adapt it to your needs without being overly complicated. Due to the obvious Intel Iris Xe Graphics, this isn’t a good first pick for games or content makers in graphically demanding jobs, but it’s more than capable of handling programs like Adobe Photoshop.
The $1,599 base model we tested is on the high end of the pricing range for a 2-in-1 business laptop. For $1,899, you can upgrade the internal storage from 512MB to a 1TB SSD and RAM to 32GB, though it’s difficult to pin down set prices because the many combinations that are easily available for purchase vary by area.
Having checked numerous countries for availability, it’s simple to discover at least one configuration of MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo on global platforms like Amazon, so although you could easily go online and acquire one, you might not have much option as to which version of the laptop is accessible to you.
With an angular hinge and a sharp, industrial-styled typeface for the branded logo embossed on the lid, MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo looks quite similar to HP’s Spectre x360. This isn’t necessarily a negative thing; there’s only so much creative freedom a laptop can provide, and HP Spectre is a lovely machine, but if you’re looking for something truly unique, you’ll have to seek elsewhere.
Summit E13 Flip Evo, on the other hand, comes in two color variations. The velvety, not-quite-matte black with copper accents is a wonderful aesthetic, yet if you’re bothered by fingerprints, it’ll be a problem right away. If it does, you could go with the all-white version, which may perform better and distinguishes it from many other smartphones now on the market, albeit you’ll lose the copper highlights in favor of a muted brushed aluminum look on that theme.
It features a 16:10 aspect ratio, which HP Spectre x360 lacks, and this is a big reason you should go with MSI instead. This higher display ratio dubbed the ‘Golden Ratio’ is favored by many for improved productivity and web browsing since it allows you to view more without scrolling.
Unfortunately, the bezels on this display are a little too thick for our tastes, but they’re still a long cry from the chunkier bezels seen on older devices, and the touchscreen display isn’t affected. The bigger bezels can assist you in avoiding accidentally selecting something when moving the display around.
Instead of a rounder Apple Pencil or a chunkier stylus associated with graphics drawing tablets, MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo comes with a pen stylus that looks like those used with Microsoft Surface devices. The pen is enjoyable to use and proves to be very smooth and sensitive, making it ideal for any work that would require a traditional pen – you can highlight documents, take notes, and even doodle in Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. Palm rejection is also excellent, so you shouldn’t have any problems with the stylus picking up stray contact.
The display is sRGB rather than full Adobe RGB, which means it lacks color fidelity, which is disappointing for a computer in this price range, especially one that would be ideal for video creators looking for a portable laptop. This isn’t to say that the display isn’t good; we found it to be perfect enough for most jobs, but it does give the impression that you’re not getting a lot of bang for your buck.
A third USB-C connector (USB 3.2 only, not Thunderbolt), a manual webcam ‘kill switch,’ an SD card reader, and a standard audio jack are all found on the right-side edge.
For working professionals or students, this is a superb assortment of ports on a modern laptop. You’ll also get an Intel Wi-Fi 6E connection, which can offer 6GHz wirelessly, with Summit E13 Flip Evo being one of the first devices to feature it. Summit E13 Flip Evo has a few built-in security features that serve to distinguish it as a business-oriented tablet, all of which are rather good.
A fingerprint scanner can be found along the bottom right-hand side of the keyboard, in addition to the previously mentioned webcam switch, and it proved to be highly responsive, not failing to recognize our reviewer’s ID once while also preventing other non-recognized users from gaining access to the device. The touchpad is 4.7 x 2.4 inches in size and appears to be a little small, but it performs admirably and has a pleasing surface texture to boot.
Sadly, it’s at the keyboard that things start to feel a little disappointing again. While completely functional, the keys are soft and inconsistent, with some letters having a different sensation than others, and the device’s baseplate flexes as you type aggressively, giving it a cheaply manufactured vibe. The flexible material in the chassis was most likely chosen to conserve weight, although other devices, like the HP Spectre x360, have a more robust, metal chassis with less give when pressure is applied. Given the MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo’s high pricing, a sturdier or even metal chassis would have been preferable.
Despite this, the overall design is really elegant, and while there are a few flaws, many of the functions are beautifully done. Anyone who has fallen in love with MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo based solely on appearances will likely discover that these flaws do not detract enough from the user experience to make the device unusable.
MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo begins to outperform some of its competitors in terms of performance. It outperformed the latest HP Spectre x360 in our benchmarks and competed with the 2020 Dell XPS 13, an impressive debut model in this series from MSI.
Thermals were also not an issue, with the laptop staying cool enough to sit on for long periods of time, though the fans were quick to kick in at the mere suggestion of more surfing tabs or a small spreadsheet, making working a noisy experience.
MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo can also play games, but its GPU isn’t built to handle demanding AAA titles, so keep that in mind while choosing your games.
MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo’s audio is provided by two speakers on the device’s bottom, and while it’s not the best-sounding laptop on the market, we’ve heard worse. Although there is a noticeable lack of bass, and the speakers are easily muffled when working with the device on your lap, they do a good job of producing clear audio for calls and watching media.
The battery life is adequate for a working day, lasting 9 hours 13 minutes on our simulated workday benchmark and averaging between 8 and 9 hours in real-world conditions, albeit it pales in comparison to machines like HP Spectre x360 (12 hours 52 minutes) or M1 MacBook Air (11 hours, 15 minutes).
MSI says on its website that Summit E13 Flip Evo can last up to 20 hours on a single charge, but that’s never going to happen. Our tests and usage indicated that average everyday use of the device would only bring you to the ten-hour mark, and as satisfying as 9 hours 13 minutes is, attaining less than half of the device’s claimed possible battery life feels a little cheeky.
Overall, MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo is a fantastic laptop, but its price tag falls short. That’s not to say it’s a bad buy; in fact, it turned out to be a terrific first effort in its category from a company renowned for gaming rather than office equipment, but for nearly $1,600, we’d expect the few minor issues we had to be rectified in the next generation. Sadly, it’s at the keyboard that things start to feel a little disappointing again. While completely functional, the keys are soft and inconsistent, with some letters having a different sensation than others, and the device’s base plate flexes as you type aggressively, giving it a cheaply manufactured vibe.