Our jobs and lives require us to play the roles of multiple experts with ease, so naturally, we expect our laptops to do exactly the same. A gaming laptop isn’t just for those who know the world of Assassin’s Creed better than their own, but also the gamer who needs to build a multimedia presentation for work on short notice, the gamer who is editing their holiday photos for Instagram, the gamer watching a lush nature documentary as they wait to board their next flight, and the gamer’s child who is attending an online class. MSI knows this well and the company’s laptops are reputed for not just a superior gaming experience, but all-round excellence while being relatively budget friendly in its segment.
These were the points we kept in mind while reviewing the MSI Stealth 15M, a gaming laptop priced at ₹1,62,990. Did the device do justice to its price tag? Here’s what we discovered.
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After you battle your way through layers of sturdy packaging to see the MSI Stealth 15M and its 15.6 inch full HD LCD screen, you know you are in for an immersive experience. We were given the Core Black model to review, with spectrum keyboard lighting where the default colours are neon pink, blue, and orange. The laptop is very sleek by gaming laptop standards and almost light enough for some to use it single-handed. The MSI Stealth 15M is far from generic though, as the unmistakable dragon logo and the company name are placed in iridescent lettering on a slightly raised bar, giving the device an iconic and rebellious look. Thanks to the laptop’s flexible hinged design, it can be splayed flat on a table and used while standing. However, the metal body is prone to getting stained with finger smudges and prints. What’s more, the monitor tends to shake slightly when placed under a fan running at high speed.
The laptop arrived with a chunky charging cord and AC/DC adaptor.
Display and Camera
The MSI Stealth 15M’s generous display size and thin bezels meant many hours were lost playing games, watching music videos, and editing media. With a 144hz refresh rate, gamers should have been able to lose themselves in their favourite universe. However, a session of Destiny 2 was rudely interrupted by a pop-up announcing that there were too many low framerates and that the player needed to reduce the graphics quality settings. This stung when considering the laptop’s price, which makes it a premium product for Indian buyers. When these glitches don’t happen, however, the RTX 3060 graphics card makes gaming a vivid experience even in low-light scenes.
Compared to the MacBook Air’s Retina Display, pixels on the MSI Stealth 15M were more visible and they distorted the clarity of icons. The display resolution is 1920 x 1080 pixels, which is fair, but could have been higher for a better user experience overall.
Furthermore, there was a drastic difference in how the laptop display handled colours. Contrasts are lower, and the MSI Stealth 15M washes out bold reds to a shade of dark orange instead. The 45% NTSC IPS rating means this laptop isn’t the best fit for those editing photos, videos, or colour sensitive graphics.
On the other hand, the MSI Stealth 15M’s webcam beautifully captures human skin textures, colours, and uneven lighting, which should appeal to those making video calls during the day and streaming at night.
Though the laptop’s bezels are thin, they do protrude a little and are unevenly sized on the top and bottom, giving the laptop a widescreen but clunky look.
The real shock emerged when we experienced just how quickly the battery drains on the MSI Stealth 15M.
The total battery life is about one hour or even less when gaming. While playing Destiny 2 and riding the high of shooting down enemy aliens, the laptop abruptly shut down. This will not do for hardcore gamers or streamers.
However, battery life is sketchy even while completing basic tasks. When the laptop was 100% charged, I watched less than 10 YouTube videos, began composing an email, and then left the laptop to sleep for about 2 hours before taking it up again. In this time, 30% of the battery had been depleted. The same thing happened several more times on different days. Needless to say, this was far from what one expects with the MSI Stealth 15M’s 3 cell, 53.8Whr battery. Those on the move or gamers hoping to use the MSI Stealth 15M as a work laptop will definitely not be able to get much done without their charger.
The device comes with the Windows 11 Home Advanced OS and an Alder Lake i7-1280P CPU. The 1 TB storage space is more than enough for most gamers while there is 16GB of memory. The CPU speed could have been faster, as games took a long time to load. However, editing photos and media with desktop settings was a smooth experience and there was no lag here. Internet browsing and loading webpages was also impressively fast thanks to the Intel Wi-Fi 6 WLAN. The game downloading experience was quick and easy.
One feature where the MSI Stealth 15M wins hands down is its Nahimic audio settings, which let the user meticulously customise their listening experience depending on the kind of media they are experiencing and the audio devices they have on hand. Packed with music, movie, communication, gaming, and smart modes, as well as adjustable surround sound and bass controls, the laptop is perfect for users who have specific auditory needs, users who need true-to-life sound, or just those who love blasting their bass. Yet this only applies to users with headphones and earphones. The external speakers produced a muffled sound that wasn’t clean or bright enough.
There is a soft and constant whirring sound when using the laptop, but the device remains warm enough to comfortably place on your lap, even while gaming for short periods of time. Aggressive shooting and running can heat up the keys. However, the laptop is never unbearably hot as the cooling fans are efficient in their work.
Touchpad and Keypad
The MSI Stealth 15M’s keyboard was a delight to use, as the soft, sensitive keys are close to noiseless and give the user a seamless experience whether they’re racing into virtual battle or quickly typing up an essay. With a soothing travel and very subtle bounce, the keyboard is a definite plus point for both gamers and content creators.
On the other hand, the laptop’s touchpad disappoints as it is small when compared to the device’s generous size, and is often slow to respond. A considerable amount of pressure is needed to drag windows and media around the screen, which will be a nuisance for photo and video editors.
The MSI Stealth 15M isn’t just for the gamers among us (pun intended) as it is ready to support a wide range of use cases with its immersive screen, Nahimic audio features, enhanced keyboard, and lightweight body.
However, the device’s extremely short battery life will be a tough compromise for most and it’s hard to swallow slow loading speeds, relatively lower display quality, muddy speaker sounds, and a request for lower intensity graphics in the middle of a game - especially when considering the device’s premium price.