MSI Modern 15 A11SB Review
PC & Hardware

MSI Modern 15 A11SB Review

Featuring 11th-gen Intel chips and Xe graphics, The MSI Modern 15 A11SB comes with almost everything for professional and casual users.

The MSI Modern 15 A11SB is an upgraded version of the MSI Modern 15 A10RAS which we reviewed earlier.

The Modern 15 is MSI’s answer to modern work laptops aimed at professionals and students; a thin and light-weight laptop with portability in mind, offering decent configurations capable of handling daily tasks.

Weighing 1.6kg and with a size of 16.9 mm thickness, this is a compact laptop with a FullHD IPS display and can be configured with the latest 11th-Gen Intel Core i7, 64GB of DDR4-3200RAM, 2TB of NVMe SSD, Intel Xe Graphics and/or Nvidia MX450 Graphics .

In terms of ports and connectivity, there is 802.11 ax Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth version 5.1 on board. The included ports are: 1x Type-A USB3.2 Gen1, 2x Type-A USB3.2 Gen2, 1x Type-C (USB4 / DP / Thunderbolt 4) with PD charging, HDMI, microSD card reader, and a microphone/headphone jack.

SPECIFICATIONS

CPU11th Gen. Intel Core i7 1165G7U Processor
RAM16GB DDR4 3200MHz SDRAM on board
2 x SO-DIMM Slot, up to 64GB
GPUGeForce MX450 with 2GB GDDR5
Intel Iris Xe graphics
Storage512 GB NVMe PCIe SSD (Our review model)
Upto 1x M.2 SSD slot (NVMe PCIe Gen3)
Upto 1x M.2 SSD slot (NVMe PCIe Gen4)
Display15.6″ FHD (1920×1080), IPS-Level
Ports1x Micro SD
1x (4K @ 60Hz) HDMI
1x Type-A USB3.2 Gen1
2x Type-A USB3.2 Gen2
1x Type-C (USB4 / DP / Thunderbolt 4) with PD charging
1x Mic-in/Headphone-out Combo Jack
Connectivity802.11 ax Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth v5.1
CameraHD type ([email protected])
Audio2x 2W Speaker
Battery52Wh battery
90W adapter
Dimensions356.8 x 233.75 x 16.9 mm (WxDxH)
Weight: 1.6 kg

The model we’ve received for this review is the MSI Modern 15 A11SB

PACKAGING

The packaging comes in a standard brown cardboard box. Inside is another MSI-branded box which contains the following:

MSI Modern 15 A11SB Review
PACKAGING – MSI MODERN 15
  • MSI Modern 15 laptop
  • Charger adapter set
  • MSI Wireless Mice
  • User guide and warranty

DESIGN, BUILD QUALITY & PORTS

The model we’ve received for review is the Modern 15 A11SB in a matte black tone (Carbon Grey) and looks elegant and rugged. The exterior has a metallic finish, with a brushed texture that looks sleek and attractive and feels solid. The Modern 15 also undergoes MIL-STD-810G tests, a military-grade durability certification, that guarantees it reliable and durable against drops, vibrations and extreme weather.

The Modern 15 weighs just 1.6 kg all thanks lightweight aluminium designHowever, the device is a fingerprint magnet, even just holding it briefly can leave fingerprint marks.

The laptop is designed to be tilted up to 180 degrees, it can be opened and placed flat on a surface which makes it ideal for meetings. The display orientation can be rotated towards the viewer.

The left side includes charging port, HDMI port, Type-C (USB4 / DP / Thunderbolt 4) with PD charging, Type-A USB3.2 Gen1 port and a 3.5mm audio combo and LED notifications

MSI Modern 15 A11SB Review
LEFT SIDE PORTS – MSI MODERN 15

The right side has 2x Type-A USB3.2 Gen2 ports and a micro-SD Card Reader slot.

MSI Modern 15 A11SB Review
RIGHT SIDE PORTS – MSI MODERN 15

The back of the device are the ventilation grilles to support the Cooler Boost 3 technology, MSI’s heat dissipation solution with 2 dedicated fans and 3 heat pipes.

DISPLAY

The display is a 15.6in Full HD (1920×1080) IPS-level panel with a wide viewing angle and sRGB 100% color coverage, suitable for designers and creative professionals. The display has a standard refresh rate of 60 Hz, and houses the HD Webcam on the top screen bezel.

The display also supports True Color technology which enables you to switch between different color modes depending on the usage.

MSI Modern 15 A11SB Review
DISPLAY – MSI MODERN 15

The screen surface is matte, anti-glare coated and does not reflect light. The bezels are very narrow and the display has a screen to body ratio of 90%. The brightness is good enough for outdoor use or in spaces with sunlight.

KEYBOARD & TRACKPAD

The MSI Modern 15’s has a chiclet keyboard with short key travel of 1.5 mm. The keyboard is also equipped with single color LED backlights (white) with 3 levels of brightness adjustable by the F8 key. Since there is no numpad, the size of the keys are large with ample spacing, making the typing experience more precise and comfortable.

MSI Modern 15 A11SB Review
KEYBOARD & TRACKPAD – MSI MODERN 15

The touchpad is standard sized and has good response but the clicks are a bit loud. There is no integrated fingerprint scanner here.

SOFTWARE

Most of the performance and display settings can be controlled via the MSI Center. You can monitor and optimize your system performance, change user profiles, adjust charging preferences and more.

MSI Modern 15 A11SB Review
SOFTWARE – MSI MODERN 15

There is also a separate MSI True Color app that let’s you to switch between different color modes or customize display settings yourself.

PERFORMANCE

MSI Modern 15 A11SB is equipped with 11th gen Intel Core i7-1165G7U chip clocked at 2.8 GHz with a 4.7GHz max boost, 16GB of DDR4-3200 RAM, Intel Xe Graphics and Nvidia MX450 with 2GB DDR5 dedicated memory for graphics. For storage, there is 512GB of NVMe SSD onboard.

This configuration is perfect for office users and students who want more performance than the typical Ultrabook which has low-powered internals and onboard graphics.

CPU, GPU & RAM

The i7-1165G7U has four cores at a clock frequency of 2.80 GHz each reaching up to 4.70 GHz with eight threads, offering good multitasking performance without any lags.

MSI Modern 15 A11SB Review
CPUZ – MSI MODERN 15

Graphics is powered by a dedicated 2GB GDDR5 Nvidia MX450. While this is not a graphic card made for heavy gaming, it is still able to play modern games smoothly at FullHD, with the details set to low or medium settings.

MSI Modern 15 A11SB Review
GPUZ – MSI MODERN 15

The Modern 15 also has integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics for better battery life.

MSI Modern 15 A11SB Review
GPUZ – MSI MODERN 15

In terms of RAM, The Modern 15 is equipped with 16 GB of RAM at a frequency of 3200 MHz.

BENCHMARKS

In Cinebench R20 tests, the i7 1165G7U scored an impressive 507 in single core benchmark and 2,142 in multi-core benchmark. In PCMark 10 Benchmark, the Modern 15 scored 4,889.

BENCHMARKSCORE
Cinebench R20 single core507
Cinebench R20 multi core2,142
PCMark 10 Benchmark4,889
3DMark Time Spy1,520
3DMark Fire Strike4,241
3DMark Sky Diver17,006

Gaming

While the Nvidia MX450 is not intended for heavy gaming, it is still capable of good performance considering this isn’t a gaming laptop. Demanding titles like Shadow of the Tomb Raider can run at 50-60 fps on FullHD as long as most of the graphics settings are set to Medium.

Storage

Our review unit came with a 512GB NVMe SSD. However, depending on the region, they may be different.

MSI Modern 15 A11SB Review
STORAGE – MSI MODERN 15

The SSD offers average performance with read speeds of up to 1,983MB per second and write of up to 982MB. Storage can be further upgraded as there are two M.2 NVMe PCIe slots available.

TEMPERATURE & NOISE

Temperatures when idle are generally cool. When gaming or running other intensive apps, the laptop gets hot in areas such as under the screen, sides of the keyboard and the bottom vents. Fortunately, the palm rests and the keyboard stays cool even under heavy usage.

The Modern 15 uses Cooler Boost 3 technology, MSI’s heat dissipation solution with 2 dedicated fans and 3 heat pipes. At the back are the exhaust vents for the two fans inside, a good position rather than between the hinges where the heat can sometimes get to the top of the keyboard.

The fan noise is normally very quiet but picks up rather quickly when running low-medium intensive apps. The fan noise is present even on the preset Silent profile.

UPGRADABILITY

In terms of upgradability, the Modern 15 A11SB offers two RAM slots, upgradable up to 64GB. For storage, our model came with a 512GB NVMe SSD, but has slots for two M.2 SSD combo ports (NVMe PCIe Gen3 / Gen4) should you need more storage space in the future.

AUDIO

The speakers are located on the bottom of the laptop, one on each side, with an output of 2 watts. The speakers are loud enough to fill small to medium-sized rooms, but they lack bass. The quality is good enough for calls or conferences, while media playback will be better with headphones.

BATTERY

The Modern 15’s 52Wh 4-cell Li-Polymer battery can run for up to 9 hours on a full charge.

Based on the usage and screen brightness, the Modern 15 lasts between six to nine hours. When browsing the internet, you can expect around eight hours of battery time.

In terms of charging, it took 1 hour 20 minutes to charge back from 0% to 100%.

Idle (one third brightness, no WiFI)9h 10 min
Web Browsing (one third brightness)8h 20 min
Video Playback (one third brightness)7h 22 min
Gaming (50% brightness)1h 50min

One thing to note here is that the power adaptor is very compact and short, it can send the laptop flying if you are not careful with the cables.

CONCLUSION

The MSI Modern 15 comes with attractive specifications and has almost everything for business or casual users who are always on the go: fast performance, great battery life, and a lightweight design. This is also a good starter laptop for designers and video editors.

The MSI Modern 15 A11SB is excellent for this target segment, offering a good number of ports, hardware and features.

MSI Modern 15 A11SB Review
MSI MODERN 15

Some of the drawbacks are the less than optimal cooling and the mediocre audio quality. But with the advantages it offers, in addition to the affordable price, the Modern 15 a worthy contender.

The MSI Modern 15 A11SB starts from AED 4,879 and is available on noon.com.

8.5

MSI Modern 15

The MSI Modern 15 comes with attractive specifications and has almost everything for business or casual users who are always on the go: fast performance, great battery life, and a lightweight design. This is also a good starter laptop for designers and video editors.

THE GOOD
  • Modern, ultra-portable design
  • Good number of ports
  • Great performance
  • Good battery life
  • Upgradeable RAM & SSD
THE BAD
  • Can get hot on load
  • Speakers could have been better
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