PC & Hardware

MSI Modern 15 Review

MSI’s lineup of versatile and portable work laptops comes with attractive specifications and features.

Generally known for their high-end gaming laptops, 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.

The Modern 15 is the 15” version of its 14-inch predecessor and has as an elegant and lightweight aluminum housing with a screen-to-housing ratio of up to 90 percent.

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 up to Intel Comet Lake Core i7-10510U, 64GB of DDR4-2666 RAM, Nvidia MX330 Graphics and 2TB of SSD NVMe .

In terms of ports and connectivity, there is 802.11 ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth version 5.0 on board. The included ports are: 1x USB Type C, 3x USB 3.2, HDMI, microSD card reader, and a microphone/headphone jack.

Specifications

CPU10th Gen. Intel Core i7 10510U Processor
RAM16GB DDR4 2666MHz SDRAM on board, 2 x SODIMM slot , up to 64GB
GPUGeforce® MX330 with 2GB GDDR5
Storage512 GB SSD NVMe PCIe Storage
2x M.2 SSD Combo slot (NVMe PCIe Gen3 / SATA)
Display15.6″ FHD (1920×1080), IPS-Level
Ports1x Micro SD Card Reader
1x (4K @ 30Hz) HDMI
1x Type-C (USB3.2 Gen1 / DP)
1x Type-A USB3.2 Gen1
2x Type-A USB3.2 Gen2
1 Mic-in/Headphone-out Combo Jack
Connectivity802.11 ac Wi-Fi
Bluetooth v5
CameraHD type ([email protected])
Audio2x 2W Speaker
Battery50Wh 3-cells lithium-polymer battery
45W adapter
Dimensions356.8 x 233.7 x 16.9 mm (WxDxH)
Weight: 1.6 kg

The model we’ve received for this review is the MSI Modern 15 A10RAS

Packaging

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

MSI Modern 15
Packaging – MSI Modern 15
  • MSI Modern 15 laptop
  • Charger adapter set
  • User guide and warranty

Design, Build Quality & Ports

The model we’ve received for review is the Modern 15 A10RAS in a matte black tone (Onyx Black) 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 design. However, 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 1.4 port, USB 3.1 Type-C, 3.2 Type-A port and a 3.5mm audio combo and LED notifications. A drawback here is that the Modern 15 doesn’t support charging via the USB-C port.

Left side ports – MSI Modern 15

The right side has two USB 3.2 Type-A slots and a micro-SD Card Reader slot.

MSI Modern 15
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.

MSI Modern 15
Ventilation Grilles – MSI Modern 15

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
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%. However, the brightness is too low for outdoor use or in spaces with bright 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
MSI Modern 15

The touchpad is large and smooth with 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 Creator Center. With MSI Creator Center, you can monitor and optimize your system performance, change user profiles, switch between display color modes, adjust charging preferences and more.

Performance

MSI Modern 15 A10RAS is equipped with Intel 10-core i7-10510U chip clocked at 1.8 GHz with a 4.2GHz max boost, 16GB of DDR4-2666 RAM and Nvidia MX330 with 2GB DDR dedicated memory for graphics. For storage, there is 512GB of PCIe 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 i7-10510U has four cores at a clock frequency of 1.80 GHz each reaching up to 4.90 GHz with eight threads, offering good multitasking performance without any lags.

MSI Modern 15
CPUZ – MSI Modern 15

Graphics is powered by a dedicated 2GB GDDR5 Nvidia MX330. While this is not a graphic card made for gaming, it is still able to play modern games smoothly, with the details set to low or medium settings.

MSI Modern 15
GPUZ – MSI Modern 15

The Modern 15 is equipped with 16 GB of RAM at a frequency of 2666 MHz.

Benchmarks

In Cinebench R20 tests, the i7 10510H scored 482 in single core benchmark and 1,824 in multi-core benchmark. In PCMark 10 Benchmark, the Modern 15 scored 4,166.

BenchmarkScore
Cinebench R20 single core482
Cinebench R20 multi core1,824
PCMark 10 Benchmark4,166
3DMark Time Spy1,262
3DMark Fire Strike3,438
3DMark Sky Diver11,236

Gaming

While the Nvidia MX330 is not intended for gaming, it is still capable for casual gaming, performance is good considering this isn’t a gaming laptop. Demanding titles like Shadow of the Tomb Raider can run at 1080p and 30 FPS at Full HD as long as most of the graphics settings are on Low.

Storage

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

MSI Modern 15
Storage – MSI Modern 15

The SSD offers standard performance with read speeds of up to 1,500MB per second and write of up to 1,000MB. 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 offers two RAM slots, upgradable up to 64GB. For storage, our model had a 512GB SSD, but has slots for two M.2 SSD Combo ports (NVMe PCIe Gen3 / SATA), 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 five to nine hours. When browsing the internet, you can expect around eight hours of battery time.

In terms of charging, it took 1 hour 50 minutes to charge back from 0% to 100%.

Idle (one third brightness, no WiFI)9h 40 min
Web Browsing (one third brightness)8h 14 min
Video Playback (one third brightness)7h 52 min
Gaming (50% brightness)2h 45min

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.

MSI Modern 15
MSI Modern 15

The MSI Modern 15 A10RAS is excellent for this target segment, offering a good number of ports, hardware and features.

Some of the drawbacks are the less than optimal cooling, the mediocre audio quality, average brightness and no USB-C charging. But with the advantages it offers, in addition to the affordable price, upgradable RAM and storage, makes the Modern 15 a worthy contender.

The MSI Modern 15 starts from AED 4,499 and is available for purchase online at Jumbo

8

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
  • Good performance
  • Great battery life
  • Upgradeable RAM & SSD
THE BAD
  • Average screen brightness
  • Can get hot on load
  • Speakers could have been better
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