MSI Stealth 15M review – the definition of thin and light gaming notebook

The first thought that came to our mind when we first took the MSI Stealth 15M in our hands was “Well, this looks familiar”. In fact, its body is suspiciously similar to that of the older GS65 Stealth, but even in case the chassis is reused, the design is definitely changed.

With that said, this laptop is directly marketed towards gamers and “young professionals”, and promotes speed and power. Moreover, according to MSI, this is the thinnest and lightest gaming notebook on the market, but as usual – take this with a pinch of salt.

By the way, you should know that the Stealth 15M comes in two varieties, depending on the CPU. The first one is the Stealth 15M (A11Sx), and it has a Tiger Lake-U processor inside, whereas the other – Stealth 15M (A11Ux), is powered by a Tiger Lake H35 device. The unit we have here with us is from the second type, so we should be able to show you the full capabilities of this hardware.

As for the graphics inside – the top of the line model features a 65W version of the RTX 3060. Indeed, this is not the most powerful iteration of this GPU, but it will surely be enough to let you play the latest AAA titles without a hassle. Especially when paired with its 1080p 144Hz IPS panel.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/msi-stealth-15m-rtx-30/

Contents


Specs Sheet

MSI Stealth 15M review – the definition of thin and light gaming notebook - Specs

  • BOE NV156FHM-NX4 (BOE0910)
  • Color accuracy  4.9  3.8
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 8000GB SSD
  • RAM
  • up to 64GB
  • OS
  • Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, Windows 11 Home, Windows 11 Pro, No OS
  • Battery
  • 52Wh, 3-cell
  • Body material
  • Aluminum
  • Dimensions
  • 358.3 x 248 x 16.1 mm (14.11" x 9.76" x 0.63")
  • Weight
  • 1.70 kg (3.7 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 2x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), DisplayPort
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), Thunderbolt 4, Power Delivery (PD), DisplayPort
  • HDMI
  • Card reader
  • MicroSD
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.0
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5mm Combo Jack
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera
  • HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Speakers
  • 2x 2W, Nahimic 3
  • Optical drive

What’s in the box?

Inside the package, you will find the mandatory paperwork, the laptop, itself, as well as a 150W power brick.


Design and construction

Just as promised by MSI, this is one of the thinnest and lightest gaming notebooks on the market. It has a profile of 16.15mm and weighs 1.7 kg. Even at this level of portability, the build quality is great, and the aluminum chassis is able to withstand a commendable amount of force, albeit flexing a little. Additionally, you have two color options – Pure White, and Carbon Gray, and we personally think that the former is the better looking of the two.

When you look at the lid, you will see MSI’s logo top centered. The lid, itself, opens easily with a single hand, thanks to the smooth operation of the hinges. Here, we have an anti-glare display, which is surrounded by relatively thin bezels. Respectively, the top one houses the set of microphones, and the HD Web camera, while the bottom shows the refreshed logotype of the company.

Next, let’s take a look at the base, where we can see the keyboard. It has large keycaps and huge Arrow keys. Also, it is paired with a backlight, which bodes well with the white color of the body. On the other hand, the key travel is a bit short, and the feedback feels sort of mushy. We have definitely experienced better keyboards.

The same can be said about the touchpad. Its size is a bit small for the footprint of the notebook, and while the smooth surface delivers very accurate tracking, the clicking mechanism completely ruins the comfort. In fact, the experience is really uncommon, as the feedback comes on the way back, rather than at the moment of registering the click.

Just above the keyboard, you will notice a sizable ventilation grill, which helps the fans pull air – something crucial, given the small rubber feet.

Now, at the bottom panel, there is another ventilation grill, as well as the speaker cutouts. So, the cool air enters the machine from two ways and exits the chassis from four cutouts – two on the back, and one on each side.


Ports

On the left side of the notebook, there is the power plug, a MicroSD card reader, a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, and an audio jack. On the right, there is an HDMI connector, a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, a Thunderbolt 4 connector, and a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) port with DisplayPort capabilities.


Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance

Taking this laptop apart is quite an easy process at first. You need to undo all 13 Phillips-head screws and then work your way around the bottom panel with a plastic tool.

Unfortunately, your work is not done here. Before we proceed, you can see the battery, which has a 52.4Wh capacity. And on its left, you will find the M.2 PCIe x4 storage slot.

To get access to the rest of the stuff, you need to remove the motherboard. First, unplug and remove the battery, the M.2 SSD drive, and the Wi-Fi card. Then, you have to unplug some ribbon cables, including those for the touchpad, the keyboard, and the display. After that, remove the two Phillips-head screws that are holding the motherboard in place, and carefully lift it away from the chassis.

Here, you can see the two SODIMM slots, which fit a total of 64GB and work in dual-channel mode. Also, you can check out the cooling solution, which consists of two heat pipes, dedicated for the CPU, and two dedicated for the GPU. Then, there is one for the VRMs, and one, which is not connected to a heat sink and cools down the graphics memory.


Display quality

MSI Stealth 15M in our configuration is equipped with a Full HD IPS panel with a model number BOE NV156FHM-NX4 (BOE0910). Its diagonal is 15.6″ (39.62 cm), and the resolution 1920 х 1080 pixels. The screen ratio is 16:9, and we are looking at a pixel density of – 142 ppi, and a pitch of 0.18 х 0.18 mm. The screen turns into Retina when viewed at distance equal to or greater than 60cm (24″) (from this distance one’s eye stops differentiating the separate pixels, and it is normal for looking at a laptop).

Viewing angles are excellent. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.

The measured maximum brightness of 254 nits in the middle of the screen and 248 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 8%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 7400K – colder than the sRGB standard of 6500K.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. In other words, the leakage of light from the light source.

Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work. The contrast ratio is good – 1130:1.

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people on HDTV and the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows MSI Stealth 15M’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 51% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of MSI Stealth 15M with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale, and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.


Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 17 ms.

After that, we test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “Gray-to-Gray” method from 50% White to 80% White and vice versa between 10% and 90% of the amplitude.


PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

MSI Stealth 15M’s display doesn’t use PWM to adjust its brightness levels at any point. This makes it comfortable for use during long work periods, without harming your eyes in this aspect.


Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Conclusion

MSI Stealth 15M’s IPS panel has a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, and a good contrast ratio. Thankfully, its backlight doesn’t use PWM for brightness adjustment. Unfortunately, it covers only half of the sRGB gamut, which results in colors that look a bit dull. However, its 144Hz refresh rate is paired with relatively quick response times, especially in Gray-to-Gray settings.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for MSI Stealth 15M configurations with 15.6″ FHD IPS BOE NV156FHM-NX4 (BOE0910).

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard

Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount


Sound

MSI Stealth 15M’s speakers produce a sound of relatively good quality. The amplitude-frequency characteristics show a rise in the high tones. With that said, there are deviations across the entire frequency spectrum.


Drivers

All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://www.msi.com/Laptop/support/Stealth-15M-A11UX?sub_product=Stealth-15M-A11UEK

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. The 52Wh battery lasts for 6 hours and 40 minutes of Web browsing, 5 hours and 31 minutes of video playback, and 55 minutes of gaming.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

We use F1 2017’s built-in benchmark on loop in order to simulate real-life gaming.

Lenovo Legion 7 15 80Wh, 4-cell

CPU options

This notebook can be purchased with either the Core i7-11370H or the Core i7-11375H. On paper, the only difference between the two is a slightly higher Boost clock for the latter, which has the ability to go up to 5.00 GHz with a single core.


GPU options

Respectively, the graphics card is a 65W version of the RTX 3060. If we have to be precise, it is a 40W unit with 25W of Dynamic Boost.


Gaming tests

Far Cry 5 Full HD, Normal (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
Average 88 fps 78 fps 71 fps

rise-of-the-tomb-raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings) Full HD, MAX (Check settings)
Average 99 fps 45 fps 29 fps

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
Average 69 fps 60 fps 39 fps

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Highest (Check settings)
Average 71 fps 65 fps 40 fps

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Intel Core i7-11375H (35W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
MSI Stealth 15M 3.53 GHz (B+7%) @ 94°C @ 42W 3.44 GHz (B+4%) @ 94°C @ 39W 3.35 GHz (B+2%) @ 94°C @ 37W
Intel Core i7-11370H (35W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516) 4.01 GHz (B+22%) @ 78°C @ 64W 4.00 GHz (B+21%) @ 82°C @ 64W 3.96 GHz (B+20%) @ 90°C @ 60W

Well, the results of this test are self-explanatory. Even though the TUF Dash F15 (FX516) has the slightly slower processor, it manages to maintain frequencies about 500 MHz higher. Also, the temperature of the Stealth 15M increases to 94°C immeditely, while the power limit drops down to only 37W.

Real-life gaming

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (Max Fan)
MSI Stealth 15M 907 MHz @ 61°C @ 40W 865 MHz @ 65°C @ 40W 1024 MHz @ 53°C @ 40W
MSI GP66 Leopard 1863 MHz @ 72°C @ 124W 1852 MHz @ 75°C @ 125W 1849 MHz @ 69°C @ 127W
MSI GP76 Leopard 1860 MHz @ 71°C @ 129W 1857 MHz @ 73°C @ 128W 1869 MHz @ 67°C @ 128W

As you can see, the GPU inside of this notebook not only works at only 40W of TGP, but its frequencies drop well below 1 GHz, unless you manually overclock it via the Dragon Center app, and turn the CoolerBoost setting on. Then again, the temperatures are very low.

Gaming comfort

On the outside, we measured a maximum temperature of about 50°C in the center top portion of the keyboard. Additionally, the noise coming from the fans, while gaming, is a bit rattly unless you max them out.


Verdict

Ever since we tested ASUS’s TUF Dash F15 (FX516) we were interested in reviewing other devices built around the Tiger Lake H35 platform. Well, the Stealth 15M from MSI is such a laptop, and we kind of got what we were looking for. As we found out back then, these CPUs can’t extract the most out of the RTX 3000 graphics cards. Of course, we are talking mainly about low settings, or e-sports titles, where the frame rates are higher, and thus need a faster CPU to be able to push the image to the push the higher amount of images.

Additionally, even in the Extreme Performance scenario, the RTX 3060 defaults at 40W, instead of the stated 65W. However, inside the Dragon Center, you have the option to overclock both the core and the memory frequency. Interestingly, this doesn’t result in an increase in TGP.

Nevertheless, the performance of the notebook is pretty good, considering its form factor. Also, the I/O is pretty wide and includes a Thunderbolt 4 connector, and a MicroSD card reader. Upgradability-wise, you get an M.2 PCIe x4 slot for storage, and two SODIMM slots for memory, although the latter is pretty hard to access, and require the removal of the entire motherboard.

MSI Stealth 15M’s IPS panel (BOE NV156FHM-NX4 (BOE0910)) has a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, and a good contrast ratio. Thankfully, its backlight doesn’t use PWM for brightness adjustment. Unfortunately, it covers only half of the sRGB gamut, which results in colors that look a bit dull. However, its 144Hz refresh rate is paired with relatively quick response times, especially in Gray-to-Gray settings.

The best word to describe the battery life here is average. We got 6 hours and 40 minutes of Web browsing from it, while video playback drains it for 5 hours and a half. Add a higher workload, and you will need to plug in the device after a couple of hours.

Although we are generally happy with the build quality of the notebook, the touchpad on our unit feels cheap and offers unconventional and uneven feedback.

Don’t get us wrong, after all, every notebook out there has its perks and quirks. In this case, the Stealth 15M offers a lot but also asks a lot. Basically, for the same money, you can easily get an MSI GP66 Leopard, paired with a 130W version of the RTX 3070. However, if you want to have a snappy notebook, that won’t bring a burden to your shoulders, the Stealth 15M is one to be considered.

Pros

  • Good amount of power inside a very thin and light notebook
  • 3200 MHz memory in dual-channel, one M.2 PCIe x4 slot, Thunderbolt 4 + Wi-Fi 6 support, and a MicroSD card reader
  • The display doesn’t flicker at any brightness level (BOE NV156FHM-NX4)
  • Has a good contrast ratio and comfortable viewing angles (BOE NV156FHM-NX4)
  • 144Hz refresh rate paired with relatively good pixel response times (BOE NV156FHM-NX4)


Cons

  • The cooling is a bit inefficient (and sounds weird)
  • It gets pretty warm on the outside when gaming
  • Covers only half of the sRGB color gamut (BOE NV156FHM-NX4)
  • Battery life is only average

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/msi-stealth-15m-rtx-30/

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

BEST LAPTOPS FOR GAMES

Top 100 Best Laptops for Apex Legends Top 100 Best Laptops for GTA V Top 100 Best Laptops for Red Dead Redemption 2 Top 100 Best Laptops for ARK: Survival Evolved Top 100 Best Laptops for AC: Odyssey Top 100 Best Laptops for AC Valhalla [AnvilNext 2.0] Top 100 Best Laptops for Battlefield 5 Top 100 Best Laptops for Borderlands 3 Top 100 Best Laptops for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Top 100 Best Laptops for CS:GO Top 100 Best Laptops for Cyberpunk 2077 Top 100 Best Laptops for Darksiders Genesis Top 100 Best Laptops for DOOM Top 100 Best Laptops for DOOM Eternal Top 100 Best Laptops for DOTA 2 Top 100 Best Laptops for PES 2021 Top 100 Best Laptops for Far Cry 5 Top 100 Best Laptops for Far Cry New Dawn Top 100 Best Laptops for FIFA 19 Top 100 Best Laptops for FIFA 20 Top 100 Best Laptops for FIFA 21 Top 100 Best Laptops for For Honor Top 100 Best Laptops for Fortnite Top 100 Best Laptops for Gears 5 Top 100 Best Laptops for Halo: Reach Top 100 Best Laptops for Hearthstone Top 100 Best Laptops for League of Legends Top 100 Best Laptops for Metro Exodus Top 100 Best Laptops for Minecraft Top 100 Best Laptops for Need For Speed Heat Top 100 Best Laptops for Overwatch Top 100 Best Laptops for PES 2020 Top 100 Best Laptops for PUBG Top 100 Best Laptops for Resident Evil 2 [RE Engine] Top 100 Best Laptops for Rise of the Tomb Raider Top 100 Best Laptops for Rocket League Top 100 Best Laptops for Shadow of the Tomb Raider Top 100 Best Laptops for Team Fortress 2 Top 100 Best Laptops for The Witcher 3 Top 100 Best Laptops for TC: Wildlands Top 100 Best Laptops for TC: Six Siege Top 100 Best Laptops for Total War: THREE KINGDOMS Top 100 Best Laptops for Warframe Top 100 Best Laptops for World of Tanks