Look, there’s nothing wrong with big, beastly 17-inch gaming monsters, but for my money, I like a gaming notebook that can balance performance and portability, and the MSI Stealth 15M has just taken that principle to a whole new level.
Featuring an all-aluminum build measuring just 16mm thick (0.62-inches) and weighing 3.7 pounds, the Stealth 15M is actually thinner and lighter than a Dell XPS 15 (0.71 inches and 4 pounds). But more importantly, despite its slim dimensions, the Stealth 15M still has enough room and thermal capacity to support an Intel Core i7-11375H CPU and an Nvidia RTX 3060 Max-Q GPU as standard.
In fact, compared to the base model of Razer’s newly refreshed Blade 15 which starts at $1,700, a base $1,400 Stealth 15M from MSI has a newer 11th-gen Intel CPU. The Blade relies on a 10th-gen chip. They have similar 15.6-inch 144Hz LCD displays, and the same 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD, but the MSI goes for $400 less. So not only is the Stealth 15M super thin, but it’s also shaping up to be a real good deal (unless you want the white version which costs a bit extra).
The good stuff doesn’t stop there though because, on the Stealth 15M, MSI has included its Cooler Boost 5 thermal solution which features six heat pipes and even thinner fans to help maximize heat transfer and keep temps under control inside a chassis this thin.
On the performance side, MSI says it supporting Nvidia’s Dynamic Boost 2.0 tech to help balance CPU and GPU loads and improve overall system efficiency, in addition to Nvidia Reflex, which attempts to analyze and then optimize input latency between the system and peripherals like your mouse and keyboard.
And when it comes to connectivity, along with support for Wi-Fi 6 the Stealth 15M also features a healthy selection of ports including two USB 3.2 Type-A ports, two USB-C ports (one of which has support for Thunderbolt 3), a full-size HDMI port, and even a built-in microSD card reader. Furthermore, while the Stealth 15M has an old-school barrel-style power connector, MSI says the system can also be recharged via USB-C in a pinch, though if you’re doing something intense like playing a game, the laptop’s battery will still drain slowly due to the lower charging rates available via USB.
For 2021, MSI is even paying attention to the little things because on the Stealth 15M and other newly refreshed MSI laptops, MSI has upgraded its webcams from 720p to full HD, which addresses a longtime complaint held by many users. And as you’d expect from an MSI laptop, the Stealth 15M comes with the standard assortment of bonus features such as Nahimic Audio, MSI’s Dragon Control Center, and a full RGB backlit keyboard.
Due to CES going virtual this year, I haven’t had a chance to check out the Stealth 15M in person, but between its specs and features, I think MSI might have really nailed the sweet spot between power and portability. That said, the one area where the Stealth 15M seems to fall a bit short when compared to rival systems like the Razer Blade 15 is the lack of certain configuration options. That’s because while you can bump up the amount of RAM or storage and choose between black and white paint jobs, you can’t choose between other display options or GPUs, which means that 144Hz full HD display and RTX 3060 GPU are locked in across every config.
Thankfully, if you want a beefier gaming laptop MSI has plenty of options including new and refreshed laptops like GE77 Raider or GP Leopard systems, which are available in both 15 and 17 models with up to RTX 3070 or 3080 graphics.
The new Stealth 15m along with a bunch of other new MSI laptops like the GP Leopard and GE Raider are available for pre-order now with shipments expected to go out in the coming weeks.
If you want to see more new gadgets and devices from CES 2021, click here to read our complete coverage.