MSI Stealth 15 A13V laptop review

Are the RTX 4050 graphics and the Core i7-13620H processor the proper hardware for the Stealth 15 144Hz gaming laptop?

MSI Stealth series laptops are among the Taiwanese premium gaming laptops, Products with powerful hardware and a relatively reasonable price that benefit from a stylish and more or less minimal appearance. The 15.6-inch Stealth 15 A13V laptop has been launched with a 13th-generation Intel processor and powerful Nvidia RTX 40 series graphics.

Design and build quality of MSI Stealth 15 laptop

MSI Stealth 15 laptop is one of the most beautiful 2023 Taiwanese laptops; A product that, unlike Katana 15, due to its boxy design, will probably maintain its attractive appearance for many years and provide a so-called timeless appearance.

The boxy design of the body has given Stealth 15 a unique appeal.

The body of the Stealth 15 laptop is a combination of metal and plastic; While the resting place of the hand, around the keyboard, the edges of the computer, and the edges of the screen are plastic, the display frame and the bottom tray of the device are made of metal.

In the first stage, features such as suitable dimensions and weight should be mentioned among the fundamental features of a good laptop. Fortunately, the Stealth 15 A13V, with its measurements of 247.9 x 358.3 mm, thickness of 19.9 mm, and weight of 2.1 kg, receives a middle to good position between the excellent and lousy range.

The right and left edges are dedicated to this area’s communication ports and hot air vents. The MSI laptop receives the cool air from the bottom, then directs the hot air from the inside of the device to the outside using the same vents and vents on the back. The location of the valves is such that the device’s heat is directed outside without bothering the user.

The form of the side vents is very similar to the USB-A port; So, when I first encountered the device, when I connected the USB flash drive to the laptop, I mistook the air vents for the USB input, and I was joining the flash drive to it! MSI designers have even designed the width of the opening to be equal to the USB port, which confuses the user.

From the first time you open the laptop, you will be fascinated by the soft hinge and 180 degrees of Stealth 15 A13V; You can open the device with one hand, and as soon as you open it, you can see the continuation of the beautiful and minimal design of the device in its interior.

The beautiful contrast between the keyboard’s white backlight and the device’s black body cannot be ignored. Traces of this design language can also be seen on the top of the keyboard. MSI designers have helped the design integrity by printing S T E A L T H letters and creating a mysterious feeling that matches the device’s name.

Contrary to what is thought, the holes above the keyboard have nothing to do with the audio system of the Stealth 15 A13V, and the speaker outputs are located at the bottom of the device and right on both sides of the trackpad. On the left side of the front edge of the device is the DynAudio logo, The company that adjusts the output sound of MSI laptops.

The MSI Stealth 15 A13V laptop is easily placed next to powerful and expensive devices such as the Stealth GS77 in terms of build quality; Of course, there are some shortcomings that we will examine further.

MSI Stealth 15 keyboard, trackpad, and ports

The Taiwanese have used a 70% keyboard layout for their mid-range gaming laptop, meaning there is no NumPad section. To reduce the length of the keyboard as much as possible, MSI has placed the Page Up/Down, Insert and Delete buttons vertically above the right arrow key. Other laptops of this company, such as the Stealth 15M, also use a similar arrangement.

Although the soft switch of the keys helps to have a better typing experience, the limited movement depth prevents this goal from being carried out. In addition, combining the fn and ctrl keys in the dimensions of a full key and the location of the right Shift key adds to the messy keyboard conditions.

As with other laptops that use a 70% keyboard, the function keys are combined with the Fx keys; But by default, to use the F1 to F12 keys, you must also hold the fn key; For example, to press Alt+F4, you must add fn to the combination; Of course, pressing fn + Esc at the same time solves this problem.

The most disappointing part of the Stealth 15 is its trackpad. The trackpad experiences much worse conditions and does not convey the feeling of a mid-range or economical trackpad in any way! The surface of the trackpad and the corners of its lower part are loose, So sometimes, while tapping the trackpad, the desired command is not executed. We have not seen such build quality, even in MSI’s budget models.

Fortunately, the touchpad also supports the Microsoft Precision driver; the user can control the device through gestures including two, three, and four fingers. Remember that these drivers have become a standard among laptops today, and their presence in the Stealth 15 A13V is not new and does not affect the purchase value of the device.

Unlike the trackpad and keyboard experience, the Stealth 15 A13V laptop hosts a variety of ports on the right and left edges, each of which is described below.

Ports on the right:

  • One Gigabit RJ45 port
  •  One USB3.2 Gen2 Type-A port
  •  A USB3.2 Gen2 Type-C port
  •  A sound input/output jack (Combo)

Ports on the left:

  • One HDMI 2.1 port with support for 8K @ 60Hz and 4K @ 120Hz output
  •  One USB3.2 Gen2 Type-A port
  •  A USB3.2 Gen2 Type-C port with Display Port and Power Delivery support

MSI Stealth 15 screen and speaker

MSI’s representative 15.6-inch panel comes in two resolutions, 1080p and 2160p, which display content at a refresh rate of 144 and 120 Hz, respectively. According to MSI, although the said panel is not IPS; it can behave like these panels; Of course, a model with an OLED panel is also considered, which uses a refresh rate of 240 Hz and a resolution of 1440p.

The model we had used a resolution of 1080p and a refresh rate of 144; In this display, thanks to the pixel density of 141 pixels, it isn’t easy to see a pixel at a standard distance.

As the refresh rate of the display increases, the problem of Motion Blur occurs; Display manufacturers usually use OverDrive to solve this problem, which is unfortunately rarely found in laptops. The issue of Motion Blur is directly related to the speed of updating pixels, and if this process is slow, a white halo is created on the opposite side of the subject’s movement.

Fortunately, the representative of MSI works well in preventing light leakage, and by displaying a black screen, there is no annoying golden halo around the net. In addition, with the lack of Local Dimming technology, around the subtitles or in general when displaying white content with a dark background, there is no blooming problem.

Another positive point of the Stealth 15 A13V display is its viewing angle, which has the performance of an IPS LCD panel; so that at least up to an angle of 70-80 degrees, there is no change in the color or contrast of the content; But the weakness in covering the color spaces altogether questions the display of the device for specialized uses.

The Stealth 15 display will disappoint professional users. MSI’s representative collection can only cover part of the sRGB color space and covers only 63.6% of it. Inaccurate colors and the tendency of the panel to show colder colors are also considered other problems of the board. Now add the maximum brightness of 191 nits to the set of problems.

Considering the inaccurate colors as well as the low brightness of the screen, the Stealth 15 A13V laptop cannot be regarded as suitable for graphic designers and editors, and with a slight discount, it can be recommended for entertainment purposes such as gaming, watching movies, and surfing the web.

There are two 2-watt speakers on the sides of the touchpad; the task of adjusting the sound is entrusted to the Danish company Dynaudio. The speakers’ volume could be more satisfactory, and it disappoints you while watching the movie. Therefore, a side speaker on the device is strongly felt when playing games, music, or watching movies.

MSI Stealth 15 performance and battery life

MSI sells its laptop with 13th-generation Intel Core i7 processors. Our model was powered by a Core i7-13620H processor, A 10-core chip with support for 16 cores, which supports 24 MB of Intel’s smart cache called Smart Cache, and is considered one of Intel’s low-end H series processors.

Stealth 15 A13V laptop uses RTX 4050 graphics equipped with 6 GB of GDDR6 RAM for graphics processing. Both CPU and GPU support a maximum power consumption of 115 watts. Still, all of these things come back to the manufacturer’s decision and the cooling system’s power. Despite the 280-watt charger included with the device, one of the two processors or both of them may fail to reach the mentioned number.

On paper, the RTX 4050 graphics processor has a power equivalent to 9 teraflops (FP32), which is 1.2 teraflops less than the PlayStation 5; Therefore, we can expect that, at least in the gaming sector, we will be on the side with a robust device, equal to the size of the 9th generation consoles.

There are two RAM slots on the motherboard with support of up to 32 GB; Therefore, you can quickly increase the RAM capacity up to 64 GB. RAMs are DDR5 type, and their data exchange rate reaches 5200 Mb/s.

With the announced numbers, we are dealing with a powerful gaming laptop that lacks nothing to achieve stable and acceptable performance in the field of gaming! But all the mentioned cases are limited to numbers, and in daily practice, different results may be obtained; Therefore, we check the device’s performance.

MSI Stealth 15 performance in benchmarks

The storage memory intended for the Stealth 15 A13V laptop is M.2 NVMe and is connected to the motherboard through the PCIe Gen4 port. An additional port is also provided on the board to add more capacity for the user.

The performance of the Core i7-13620H processor is not much different from the Katana 15 equipped with the same processor, and almost all CPU benchmarks, such as Cinebench R23 or Geekbench, reflect a relatively similar performance, and the differences are limited to about 10%.

MSI Stealth 15 performance in professional software

In professional software, the Stealth 15 A13V performs very well, outperforming the Katana 15 and ROG Strix G16 in almost half of the tests. For example, in the Photoshop and Premiere Pro tests, it appears better than the ROG Strix G16 by a distance of 9 and 37%, respectively; While Katana 15 has the same chip, it cannot beat Stealth 15.

Previous successes in the Blender test, in which the performance of the graphics chip has a direct impact on its results, are not repeated, and the Stealth 15 ranks third after the Katana 15 and ROG Strix G16 with a distance of 18 and 19%, respectively; Although we mentioned earlier in the benchmarks section that a 16% drop can be seen in the results compared to the RTX 4060 graphics chip.

MSI Stealth 15 A13V gaming performance

The Stealth 15 laptop shows an impressive performance in running today’s games. If you are experiencing a title with DLSS Frame Generation support or DLSS 3 correction, you can see even more stunning performance from the device.

In other higher-quality titles such as Forza Horizon 5 and Red Dead Redemption, the Stealth 15 laptop achieves 58 and 65 frames per second, respectively, relying on the RTX 4050 graphics and the Core i7-13620H chip.

The difference in performance when connected to electricity and with batteries

The mentioned numbers are valid only if you use an electricity-connected device. By disconnecting the laptop’s charger to preserve battery life, the Stealth 15 drops performance by up to 50%, meaning it can run Forza Horizon 5 and Red Dead Redemption at 29fps.

In such a situation, in the Cyberpunk 2077 game, if the DLSS 3 technology is active, you can finally achieve a rate of 40 frames per second.

The drop in performance is not limited to running games, and when running benchmarks such as Cinebench R23 and TimeSpy, which are dedicated to CPU and GPU performance, respectively, a difference of 33 and 51 percent is observed.

MSI Stealth 15 battery life

When the CPU and GPU performance drops by 30-50% when the charger is disconnected, it is easy to notice the limited capacity of the battery and the high consumption of the device’s hardware. In other words, despite the 53.5-watt-hour ability of the storm, you still cannot count on the long-term operation of the laptop.

In the 720p video playback test, which is performed at a brightness of 200 nits, despite the maximum brightness of the display being 191 nits, we were forced to perform the test at this level of intelligence. The Stealth 15 laptop played video continuously for up to 4 hours under the mentioned conditions, cutting off all wireless connections.

Although playing a 720p video for 4 hours is not considered a desirable event; it is still considered a much better performance than Legion 5 Pro and ROG STRIX G16, and MSI introduces its representative in the size of Asus Zephyrus G14 2022; While the Taiwanese competitor uses 30% more battery volume.

MSI Stealth 15 cooling system performance

The cooling system of the Stealth 15 laptop handles the temperature control of the computer well, and even though the temperature of the laptop even reaches 98 degrees during heavy use, there is still no loss of performance, and the processors always continue to operate in stable conditions.

We ran Cinebench R23 continuously for 30 minutes to check the CPU-based benchmark performance. According to the results obtained from this test, the powerful cores of Core i7-13620H, when plugged in after the initial boost with a frequency of 4.5 to 4.7 GHz, continue to operate in the neighborhood of 4 GHz frequency and an utterly stable manner.

When the charger is disconnected (UnPlugged), the frequency of the powerful cores behaves like the Plugged mode at the beginning of the process; But after that, with a 27% decrease compared to this mode, they set their frequency to 2.8 to 2.9 GHz.

Similar and completely stable conditions can be seen in CPU power consumption. Due to the increase in frequency at the beginning of the processing, the chip’s energy consumption increases to nearly 120 watts. Still, quickly and after a short period, it reaches 80 watts and continues to operate with a 12% fluctuation.

The green color in the diagram below indicates the power consumption of the processor in UnPlugged conditions; As you can see, the power consumption of the chip does not exceed 40 watts from the very beginning, and it maintains its shape with a slight fluctuation until the end of the processing process. In other words, in UnPlugged conditions, up to 50% more limited power is injected into the chip.

The safe temperature of the processor block in Intel products is equal to 100 degrees, and the temperature of the Stealth 15 processor approaching this number seems a bit worrying. Sometimes the temperature goes up to 97 degrees, which may reduce the chip’s performance if the ambient temperature is high.

You will not experience such therapy in UnPlugged mode, Where in the worst case, the processor temperature fluctuates between 60 and 70 degrees, which is a much better and more reasonable result.

Unlike the central processor, the frequency of the graphics processor cores does not experience stable conditions in UnPlugged mode, and their frequency continues to operate in the range of 1 to 1.5 GHz after a 50% drop. Fortunately, when the charger is connected, we do not see such a situation, and the frequency of the cores is set to 2.5 GHz with high stability.

While the CPU of the device faced a 50% drop in power consumption when the direct power was cut off, the graphics chip went even further by increasing the power consumption of the device from 90 watts in Plugged mode to 25 watts in UnPlugged mode; it faced a stunning drop of 72%.

Pay attention that despite the 72% drop in power consumption, the performance of the graphics chip is equal to 50%, according to what was said.

The temperature of the graphics chip, like the central processor, endures critical conditions. Although there is no performance loss, with the prevailing conditions, you should consider buying Coolpad. Another point is that we do not see a drop in the processor’s temperature equal to the device’s power consumption.

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