Great battery life
Sleek, subtle design
Can run warm
Poor ray tracing
About the MSI Delta 15
Here are the specs of the laptop we tested:
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 5800H
- Memory: 16GB DDR4-3200
- Storage: 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD
- Display: 15.6-inch (1920 x 1080) IPS FHD 240Hz 300 nits
- Ports: 1x HDMI, 1x Type-C USB 3.2 Gen 2, 2x Type-A USB 3.2 Gen 2, 1x Type-C (USB 3.2 Gen 2 / DP)
- Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 6700M
- Wireless: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2
- Battery: 82Wh
- Weight: 4.18 pounds
- Dimensions: 14.1 x 9.72 x 0.74 inches
The MSI Delta 15 can also be configured with a Ryzen 9 5900HX processor, up to 64GB of memory, and 2TB NVMe M.2 of SSD storage. The only other configurable option on this laptop is the display, which also comes in a lower 144Hz refresh rate. Other than that, what you see is what you get.
What we like
Battery life like WHOA
We thought it would be a few more years before we’d see another gaming laptop come close to matching the battery life of the Asus ROG Strix G15, but the MSI Delta 15 actually surpassed it as the gaming laptop with the longest battery life we’ve ever tested.
For our battery test, we set each laptop’s display as close to 200 nits brightness as possible, run an automated Google Chrome script that cycles through about 20 web pages every 15 seconds, and then let it do its thing until the battery dies. With the battery saver set to kick in at 10%, the MSI Delta 15 lasted a seriously impressive nine hours and 40 minutes—about an hour longer than the ROG Strix G15.
Without the battery saver turned on, you’ll get eight hours and 15 minutes out of the Delta 15, which is just 15 minutes shorter than the ROG Strix G15. Combined with its subtle yet sleek design, MSI’s Delta 15 is a gaming laptop that can truly double as a work machine. You’ll need the charging cable if you want to game on the laptop since playing games drains the battery a lot faster, but for basic productivity tasks, you can leave it at home.
However, this laptop can last for a few hours on battery life while you’re gaming. How long will depend on your in-game graphics settings and screen brightness, but compared to other gaming laptops from Acer, Razer, and even some of MSI’s other gaming laptops—which essentially have to be plugged in the whole time—the Delta 15 blows them out of the water.
It doesn’t look like a gaming laptop
What matters are the clean, symmetrical lines all the way from the top of the display to the bottom of the trackpad, which gives this gaming laptop a professional look. The only hint of what’s under the hood is the bird logo on the lid’s upper right-hand corner, which lets you know this is MSI’s Delta laptop series. (It’s the same logo from MSI’s older Alpha and Bravo series.)
MSI also omitted a Numpad, so the keys don’t look or feel smooshed together while keeping the RGB lighting to an absolute minimum. Every key is backlit, and you can customize the color with the MSI Center app, but there is no per-key RGB lighting. If you like a pop of neon, but don’t care about super customizable lighting, the Delta 15 should make you smile.
The slightly metallic black that makes up the entire chassis collects fingerprints. Not as bad as some other laptops, but you’ll want to keep some cleaning supplies handy in case too many smudges accumulate.
The AMD Ryzen 7 5800H and AMD Radeon RX 6700M under the hood make a great foundation for a 1080p gaming laptop—and the 240Hz display makes it even better for esports. In our in-game benchmark tests, the MSI Delta 15 consistently cranked out 174 frames per second in Overwatch, 97 fps in Far Cry 5, 85 fps in Total War: Warhammer II, and 117 fps in Shadow of the Tomb Raider at Ultra, the highest graphics preset.
This laptop also fared well when we tested it against more demanding games like Control, Metro Exodus, and Cyberpunk 2077. At 1080p resolution and the highest graphics preset, the Delta 15 managed 76 fps, 64 fps, and 64 fps, respectively. 60 fps is the minimum ideal for any gaming laptop and the fact that the Radeon RX 6700M can meet or exceed that at the highest graphics preset in all games we tested is superb.
If you’re a gamer and a content creator, you’ll also get a lot of this laptop. In our 3D rendering and transcoding tests, the Delta 15 rendered a 3D image of a car in Blender in three and half minutes with the CPU and just over six minutes with the GPU. Transcoding a 12-minute 4K video to 1080p in Handbrake took six and a half minutes. That’s about twice as fast as the Razer Blade 15 with a 10th-gen Intel Core i7-10875H processor and an Nvidia RTX 3070 graphics card. It also crushes the Acer Predator Triton 300 SE with an 11th-gen Intel Core i7-11375H and an Nvidia RTX 3060.
There are laptops with better displays if you need something for professional editing. While the Delta 15 has an FHD IPS panel, it only has 300 nits of brightness and a color gamut coverage of 92.5% sRGB, which is only 67.1% of the DCI P3 spectrum. But its color accuracy is on-point, a Delta E average of 0.15, so any color discrepancies won’t be visible to the human eye. We also didn’t notice any screen tearing or artifacts while gaming, so the display is well-rounded for many tasks.
The only other all AMD combo we’ve tested is the Asus ROG Strix G15, which also performed extremely well—better than this Delta 15 because, well, it has more powerful components. What’s important is that laptop makers are focusing more on all AMD-powered laptops, which generally have a better overall value than their Intel/Nvidia counterparts. It’s easy to see that value in the Delta 15 when you compare its price to its performance.
What we don’t like
Ray tracing struggles
If you must have the best graphical experience possible, you’ll probably want a gaming laptop with an Nvidia graphics card. Ray tracing, which renders realistic lighting effects in real-time, places a heavy demand on a system’s graphics card, and Nvidia’s GPUs are better equipped to handle that demand.
Returning to Control, Metro Exodus, and Cyberpunk 2077, we kept the same 1080p resolution and the highest graphics settings but turned ray tracing on in each game to either Ultra or the highest setting. The Delta 15’s Radeon RX 6700M performed admirably, but couldn’t surpass 60 fps with those settings in all three of those games.
Metro Exodus fared the best with 45 fps, Control was in the middle with 33 fps, and Cyberpunk 2077 practically ground to a halt with 19 fps. These games, in particular, are harder on graphics cards than something like Battlefield V because of how many ray tracing effects they incorporate into one scene. You’ll have to turn down the graphics preset to at least Medium to bump up the frame rate to 60 or better.
Even the Asus ROG Strix G15 with its faster RX 6800M didn’t fare much better in the ray tracing department. Alternatively, the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro Gen 6 with an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H (same CPU in the Delta 15) and an Nvidia RTX 3070 can get just over 60 fps in all of those games with DLSS turned on. (DLSS is Nvidia’s technology for upscaling the in-game resolution to increase frame rates and sharpen details.)
Keys need more snap
The MSI Delta 15’s keys feel a little soft for a gaming laptop, akin to something the company would have on its business line of laptops like the Prestige 14. While there’s some snap at the end, the initial press down is when the keys feel soft.
That makes the keyboard pleasant to type on for hours at a time, but for esports games like Overwatch and League of Legends, the travel depth is a bit shallow and the accentuation point doesn’t register until you’ve pressed the key all the way down.
In practice, it felt fine to play those fast-paced games since the actual response time is quick, but higher-level esports players might prefer something like the keyboard on the Gigabyte Aorus 17G, which has the snappiest keyboard on a gaming laptop I have personally ever tested.
On the toasty side
Where the MSI Delta 15 falters the most is its thermals. While the chassis stays a relatively cool 35.5 degrees Celcius (95.9 degrees Fahrenheit) performing basic tasks like web browsing and typing in Google Docs, that temperature can spike up to 53 C (127.4 F) on the right side of the keyboard after playing an esports game like Overwatch for 15 minutes.
The section above the keyboard reached 55 C (131 F), though the immediate area around the WASD keys topped out at 45 C (113 C), so at least gaming remained comfortable for a long period of time.
Since a good portion of the chassis got that hot quickly, the high thermals inside the laptop weren’t a surprise. The processor reached up to a maximum temperature of 95 C ( 203 F) and averaged 83 C (181 F) with no thermal throttling, according to HWInfo, a program that measures hardware temperatures.
While we generally don’t like to see a CPU get that hot since all that heat can decrease the longevity of the processor, it was still ten degrees away from its maximum operating temperature of 105 C (221 F). 11th-gen, and even 10th-gen Intel mobile processors, in contrast, can easily reach their maximum operating temperature, which can cause thermal throttling that lowers performance, as we’ve seen in our laptop tests.
Should you buy it?
Yes, it’s one of the most versatile gaming laptops out there
If you want a gaming laptop you can also take to meetings or your local coffee shop without standing out, the MSI Delta 15 is your answer. Its subtle design packs a lot of power, and it has a max battery life of almost 10 hours. For a gaming laptop, that’s wildly impressive.
While the Radeon RX 6700M GPU inside can pump out super high frame rates, especially in esports games, it’s not the graphics card you’ll want to go with (nor is the RX 6800M) if you’re looking for a gaming laptop that can handle ray tracing at the highest graphics settings and still manage over 60 frames per second. You’ll want something like the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro Gen 6 or Razer Blade 14 with at least an RTX 3070.
However, it’s rare to find such a professional-looking gaming laptop with this much versatility that doesn’t cost over $2,000 like the Razer Blade 14. At the time of publication, the MSI Delta 15 costs $1,699.99, which is $50 more than its all-AMD counterpart, the Asus ROG Strix G15. The ROG Strix 15 is more powerful than the Delta 15 and has more flair, but the Delta 15 doubles as a work and gaming machine and brings better battery life to the table as well.
If you’re looking for portability and versatility in equal measure, MSI’s Delta 15 is an easy recommendation.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Senior Editor, Electronics@JLNwrites
Joanna specializes in anything and everything PC gaming, and loves nerding out over graphics cards, processors, and chip architecture. Formerly: Gizmodo, PC Gamer, Maximum PC.
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