The MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo is a ridiculously long name for a laptop. Still, naming conventions are about as crazy as this fantastic 2-in-1 computer gets — while MSI is best known for gaming laptops, its latest step into the realm of professional business laptops is deadly serious.
You might be excused for mistaking the MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo for the HP Spectre X360 13, a very similar gadget, and this appears to be a case where admiration is the most significant kind of flattery. Both feature almost identical chassis designs, but there are a few key variations that we’ll go over later that might sway you one way or the other if you’re torn between the two.
The MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo comes with an 11th generation Intel i7 processor and a few different memory and storage choices to pick from, just enough to adapt it to your needs without being overly complicated. Because of the Intel Iris Xe Graphics, this isn’t a great first pick for games or content makers in graphically demanding jobs, but it’s more than capable of handling apps like Adobe Photoshop. At 2.9 pounds, it’s somewhat heavier than some other 2-in-1 laptops on the market, but not dramatically so.
However, that extra weight might be the source of annoyance with the display hinge, which lacks the consistency and firmness needed to maintain the screen upright at a specified angle. If you pick up the laptop too rapidly, the display will flip downwards, which might result in a device-breaking mishap if you’re not careful.
With an angular hinge and a crisp, industrial-styled typeface for the branded logo embossed on the lid, the MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo looks quite similar to HP’s Spectre x360. This is not necessarily a negative thing; there’s only so much creative freedom a laptop can provide, and the HP Spectre is a lovely machine, but if you are seeking something truly unique, you will not find it here. The velvety, not-quite-matte black with copper accents is a beautiful aesthetic, yet it will be a problem right away if you are bothered by fingerprints.
If it does, you could go with the all-white version, which may perform better and distinguish it from many other smartphones now on the market, albeit you will lose the copper highlights in favor of a subdued brushed metal look on that theme. It features a 16:10 aspect ratio, which the 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 adored by many for greater productivity and online surfing, allowing you to view more without scrolling (and noted numerous times around the device, from a giant sticker near the keyboard to the default desktop wallpaper). Unfortunately, the bezels on this display are a little too thick for our tastes, but they are still a long cry from the chunkier bezels found on previous devices, and the touchscreen display is not affected. Instead of a rounder Apple Pencil or a chunkier stylus associated with graphics drawing tablets, the MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo comes with a pen stylus that looks like those used with Microsoft Surface devices.
The display is sRGB rather than full Adobe RGB, which means it lacks color fidelity, disappointing for a computer in this price range. It is incredibly ideal for video makers seeking a portable laptop. This is not to say that the display is not good; we found it to be perfect enough for most jobs, but it does give the impression that you are not getting a lot of bang for your buck.
Despite the MSI pen attaching itself magnetically to the side of the tablet-like, you would with the Apple Pencil and iPad Pro. The stylus charges via a USB-C connection rather than a wireless charging option like the Apple Pencil. This magnetic connection is strong enough to keep the stylus from moving when the device is set on a table, but it is not strong enough to keep it from moving when placed in a bag or even folded and carried by hand, so keep a watch on it.
Three USB ports are located on the Summit’s left side, two of which are USB4 Type-C connections with Thunderbolt 4 capabilities and take the 65W AC adapter. The third port is a rectangular USB 3. 2 Type-A connection, ideal for utilizing a mouse or external keyboard. A third USB-C connector, a manual webcam ‘kill switch,’ an SD card reader, and a standard audio jack are all found on the right side edge.
The Summit E13 Flip Evo has a few built-in security measures 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.
The MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo has begun to outperform some of its competitors in terms of performance. It surpassed the newest HP Spectre x360 in our benchmarks and competed with the 2020 Dell XPS 13, an outstanding debut model in this series from MSI.
The MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo achieved 1,517 in single-core and 5,368 in multi-core performance in Geekbench 5, and a decent 2,001 in Cinebench R20 thanks to the 11th-gen Core i7 with Intel Iris Xe graphics. It scored 4,405 in our PCMark 10 Home Test simulation, putting it just below the competition above goods, but not by much, and few users would notice a significant loss in performance in a real-world situation. We tested the Summit E13 Flip Evo for several days, using it for business and regular home activities like watching Disney+ episodes and surfing the web, and can vouch for its speed and dependability.
Thermals were also not an issue, with the laptop staying cool enough to sit on for long periods. However, the fans were quick to kick in at the mere suggestion of more surfing tabs or a small spreadsheet, making working a loud experience.
The MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo webcam isn’t very impressive, but cameras embedded inside laptops aren’t uncommon. You get 720p recording quality, which is adequate for Zoom conversations. Still, if you plan on giving any formal presentations, you should upgrade to a better webcam, such as one from Logitech.
It appears to struggle with illumination, resulting in a lot of background noise (that grainy appearance that looks static on an old TV), which shows that the sensor is suffering. However, even in a well-lit setting, the webcam’s quality is still inferior to that of a reliable alternative.
The built-in microphone also has some noise-canceling functions that perform relatively well, cutting out a lot of low-level ambient noises like fans or wind outdoors. Still, if you want crisper audio, you’ll be better off with a separate USB-Microphone.
The battery life is adequate for a working day, lasting 9 hours 13 minutes in our simulated workday benchmark and averaging between 8 and 9 hours in real-world conditions. However, it pales in comparison to devices like the HP above Spectre x360 (12 hours, 52 minutes) or the M1 MacBook Air (12 hours, 52 minutes) (11 hours, 15 minutes).
MSI says on its website that the Summit E13 Flip Evo can last up to 20 hours on a single charge, but that’s never going to happen. Our usage and testing showed that everyday use of the smartphone 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 advertised attainable battery life is at best cheeky.
Overall, the MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo is an outstanding laptop, but its price tag falls short. That’s not to say it’s a poor buy; in fact, it’s turned out to be a terrific first effort in its category from a company renowned for gaming rather than office equipment, but for almost $1,600, we’d expect the few minor issues we experienced to be rectified in the next generation.