Phenomenal HDR display
Excellent stylus included
Sleek form factor
Poor battery life
About the MSI Summit Flip E16
Here are the specs of the laptop we tested:
Processor: Intel Core i7-1260P
- Graphics: Nvidia RTX 3050Ti
- RAM: 32GB DDR5 SDRAM
Display: 2560 x 1600p 165Hz display
- Ports: 1 x HDMI; 1 x Thunderbolt 4; 2 x USB-A; 1 x mini SD card reader; 1 x Headphone jack
Wireless connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E , Bluetooth 5.2
Webcam: 1080p IR
Battery: 82 WHr
Weight: 4.62 pounds
Size: 14.12 x 10.15 x 0.7 inches
- Warranty: 1-year limited warranty
The MSI Summit E16 is a 2-in-1 PC available in three configurations, from $1,799 to $2,099. While all three share the same display and Intel Core i7 processor, the $1,799 version has an RTX 3050 GPU instead of the RTX 3050Ti of the other two configurations. Additionally, it also has 512GB of storage and 16GB of RAM. The mid-tier model costs $1,999 and is identical to the $2,199 model we tested except for its 16GB of RAM. Because the cost difference is small among the models, we recommend the top-tier model if you can get it on sale for $1,999 or less.
What we like
Packs enough power for 3D modeling
The MSI Summit E16 is not the most powerful laptop you can buy, but it doesn’t have to be. It just needs to be powerful enough to run things like 3D modeling and rendering previews in real-time, and this laptop has power aplenty. Fiddling with 3D sculpting in Blender was a seamless experience, as was rendering models. When we ran the Summit E16 through our Blender render test, it rendered a car with its CPU in three minutes 54 seconds and its GPU in six minutes 21 seconds.
Similar 2-in-1s take about the same time on the CPU render but much longer on the GPU render unless they also have discrete graphics. The Lenovo Yoga 9i, which has the same core processor and integrated graphics, took four minutes 43 seconds on its CPU and seven minutes 52 seconds on its GPU. Meanwhile, the Asus ROG Flow Z13, a gaming 2-in-1 with a more powerful Intel Core i9-12900H processor and the same graphics card as the Summit E16, took two minutes 57 seconds on with its CPU and two minutes 58 seconds with its GPU.
With its high-efficiency Intel Core i7-1260P processor, the Summit E16 provides plenty of power while still being able to charge from a Thunderbolt 4 port. It did well in our synthetic benchmarks like Cinebench and Geekbench 5, scoring 10388 and 10696, respectively. The Summit E16 is about as fast as its peers with the same Intel Core i7-1260P CPU, like the Yoga 9i. If you need a more powerful CPU in a 2-in-1, the Asus ROG Flow Z13 tablet, which has a more powerful (and power-hungry) Intel Core i9-12900H processor, fared better with a 25% higher score in Geekbench.
Its snappy graphics card and processor also do well with film editing. Running Adobe Premiere Pro, for instance, shouldn’t be an issue unless you’re editing a feature-length film. Transcoding videos is also fast. When we transcoded a 12-minute 4K video to 1080p in Handbrake, it took six minutes 22 seconds. For comparison, last generation’s Summit E13 took 14 minutes 42 seconds, the Yoga 9i 2-in-1 took eight minutes seven seconds, and the 14-inch MacBook Pro M1 Pro took six minutes 11 seconds.
Gaming performance is okay, but it’s not spectacular. Because of its Nvidia RTX 3050Ti graphics card, the Summit E16 performs well enough to run intense games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 47fps if you use the highest 1080p graphics settings. The Asus ROG Flow Z13, a gaming tablet with the same GPU, gets 65 fps. However, even a budget gaming laptop like Acer’s Nitro 5 with an RTX 3060 ran the game at 92 fps. The Summit E16 simply wasn’t built for gaming at max frame rates—and that’s okay, given it’s fast enough to run 3D modeling software smoothly.
Less strenuous games can let the Summit E16’s 1660p 165Hz display shine. FFXIV and Overwatch, for instance, ran at 120fps and 85fps respectively in crowded areas. It’s not quite powerful enough for high-fidelity ray-tracing, though. Cyberpunk 2077 set to Ultra graphics on 1080p with ray-tracing on ran at 13fps, whereas the Acer Nitro 5 ran it at 46fps, the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro ran it at 56fps, and the ROG Flow 13 ran it at 11fps. The Acer and Lenovo gaming laptops have more powerful graphics cards, and the laptops sell for less than the MSI Summit E16—but again, the E16 wasn’t designed specifically for games.
Pro-grade screen and stylus
The Summit E16 has one of those screens that makes you question why you’ve settled for anything less. Its 2560 x 1600p display is painfully bright at a max 576 nits of brightness, and its color gamut covers the entire P3 range and 90% of the Adobe RGB range. It’s a screen ready for HDR content editing, and it easily beats most other laptop screens out there, which either have a worse color gamut, lower refresh rate, lower resolution, lower brightness, or all the above. If you are a digital artist, the E16 can support your work with great color accuracy across a wide spectrum.
The E16’s 16:10 ratio display is also a wonderful touch display and a pen display. This laptop comes with an MSI Pen, which has 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt detection. If you need as much pressure sensitivity as possible, you should upgrade to a pen with 8000 or more levels, like a Microsoft Surface Pen or a Wacom Pen, but in most cases, the MSI Pen is sensitive enough to get precise control over linework and adjustments on the screen.
I had a great time sketching in both Photoshop and Clip Studio Paint. Sculpting in Blender was smooth as clay, too. The pen itself is responsive with almost no input lag at all (although it does trail an Apple Pencil on an iPad Pro by a bit). If you stick with the MSI Pen, you can charge it via USB-C and attach it to the laptop magnetically when it’s not in use.
It’s luxuriously built
This is a laptop that packs all the bells, whistles, and kazoos. Its all-metal chassis has a magnetized side to hold onto the stylus, the keyboard has a Numpad, and it charges with any USB-C/Thunderbolt port. On the sides, you’ll also find several Thunderbolt 4 and USB-A ports, an HDMI port, and a miniSD card reader so you can leave the dongles at home.
The keyboard is large with springy keys that feel great to type on, and the trackpad is smooth glass. The summit e16’s webcam is great, with 1080p resolution and IR for Windows Hello login. If you like to shut your webcam when not in use, it has a physical webcam shutter you can toggle.
If you’re a bit of an aesthetics nerd, you may be delighted to know that the entire laptop is designed around the Gold Ratio (16:10): the placement of its logos, the trackpad location, the default wallpaper, and more make references to it.
What we don’t like
Fingerprints and sharp edges
The Summit 16 is a gorgeous laptop to look at—if you keep the chassis clean. After only a little use, the laptop’s lid will be littered with your fingerprints. Thankfully, the screen itself isn’t so susceptible to finger oils, but if you lay your palm down while using the stylus, sometimes the screen will read it as a multi-finger gesture (disabling touch input when the stylus is active via Windows settings greatly reduces the issue).
Although, as if to discourage you from laying your palm down on the screen, the edges of the chassis are as sharp as those on the MacBook Pro. If your palm is on the screen, your wrist is on that edge, and it hurts. I found myself holding my stylus more like an ink brush than a pencil just to avoid resting my wrist on the edge, which is great for art but not so great for handwriting. If you like to write or draw at an angle, you should use your own laptop stand, since the hinges on the Summit are loose enough that you’ll easily push the screen down if you have it at an angle.
Its battery life will barely last through a short flight
2-in-1s are usually also Ultrabooks, or what Intel calls slim, snappy laptops great for toting around. Many, like the Lenovo Yoga 9i 2-in-1, have over nine hours of battery life. The Summit E13 the E16’s older sibling, has eight hours of battery life. The Summit E16, however, falls short at four hours.
It’s not a shocking result—its 1660p 16-inch display and discrete graphics do consume more power than a 13-inch display on a laptop with integrated graphics. However, there are Ultrabooks this big with discrete graphics that have better battery life. The Dell XPS 17, which has a 4K 17-inch display and a similar discrete graphics card as the Summit E16, has almost seven hours of battery life and a larger battery (97 WHr vs 82 WHr). Meanwhile, the 13-inch Asus ROG Flow Z13 gaming 2-in-1 can last nearly five hours.
Should you buy it?
Yes, it's marvelous for 2D and 3D content creation
Calling this a business laptop undersells what it’s capable of: the Summit E16 is a workstation laptop, fit for creative professionals who need as much power and premium features that can fit in a slim chassis as possible. It’s certainly not a cheap laptop at about $2,000, but it’s an excellent value if you need a machine that can work as a 16-inch tablet with a 1600p HDR-capable screen, has enough power to use 3D modeling software for simpler sculpts and models, and still serves as an awesome Ultrabook.
The Summit E16 is reasonably priced for its feature set, but if you don’t do 3D work you could get away with a cheaper 2-in-1 like the excellent Lenovo Yoga 9i we reviewed. The Asus ROG Flow Z13 is another excellent option since it’s a Windows tablet with just as much power as the Summit E16—but you will have to give up the amazing display.
On the other hand, if you’re more interested in the performance than the form factor, the Dell XPS 17 is a sturdy laptop that has an incredible 4K screen and a better battery life.
Overall, the Summit E16 is a knockout if you’re looking for a stellar 2-in-1 with a large HDR-ready screen. Yes, its power and size come at the cost of battery life, but it far surpasses the iPad Pro in power and software, and it offers an excellent stylus experience with the pressure-sensitive MSI Pen. You might struggle to find another Windows laptop that’s better suited for digital art and modeling compared to the Summit E16.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Adrien is a staff writer for Reviewed, mainly focused on reviewing laptops and other consumer tech. During his free time, he's usually wandering around Hyrule.
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