MSI Bravo 15: Is This All-AMD Gaming Laptop Today’s Best Budget Model?

by birtanpublished on November 22, 2020

hi folks welcome to one cool thing where we show off the latest gear and software that comes through pc labs now pc labs of course these days were based in new york city is under lockdown so we are working from home and reporting from home so uh i'm john burick working from my home office and i have here with me matt buzzy um one of our hardware analysts um matt is with us today to discuss a new gaming laptop that we got in um so this gaming laptop is from msi we've seen a lot of msi laptops over the

Years and this one is a little bit unusual not because of the outside but because of the inside so this machine is called the bravo 15 and it's a 999 model um probably on the border of budget to mid-range but it has a very interesting configuration both um in terms of storage and the screen but even more so because of the components inside so matt let's talk about this machine it has a uh cpu and a gpu

From amd which is highly unusual um but the thing that impressed us the most out of these two components was the cpu you want to fill us in on that yeah so we've only gotten two this is maybe the second or third if i'm forgetting one uh all amd machines here and um it's always exciting to kind of review the alternative to the intel nvidia combo that we usually see so the particular chip in this model is the ryzen it's a ryzen 4000h series it's the ryzen 7 4 800 h in particular which is an eight

Core 16 thread chip and it's clocked at 2.9 gigahertz um so we found it to be pretty good so we've seen this chip um or ryzen 4000 uh series chips and some other machines and uh to back you know take a step back a little bit there are two series with um amd's latest ryzen mobile chips in the same way that there are um well more than two series but multiple series of intel's um mobile chips there's the h series and

There's the u series right and u series are the ones that are meant for the thinner um more uh ultra light types of laptops and the h1s are the ones the power laptops and the gaming laptops so this is an h series chip in there and we've seen h series chips and a couple of other um laptops not necessarily all amd sometimes paired with nvidia graphics right yeah so um the double amd combo is is interesting we've across the board

Kind of like the value of these ryzen chips a lot um and this at the budget price 9.99 it gives we'll get into a little bit more but similar performance to these intel sort of h-series chips or at least close for lower price points which obviously is appealing right cool yeah um yeah usually what we see if we do see an amd chip is an amd cpu and an nvidia gpu paired with it right so this one's um you know interesting because that also interesting because

This is a 999 machine comes with um pretty powerful eight core cpu also though 16 gigs of ram which is you know in a machine of this price you typically will see eight gigs or 16 gigs could go either way right yeah maybe 16 at 100 more than this i wouldn't necessarily expect it at 9.99 so it's good because it's really nice to see it at 99.99 yeah same thing with the ssd right i mean the ssd is like sort of on that border where sometimes you get

256 gigs of storage this one gives you 512. so this one fell on the right side of the line in both cases it seems like yeah because we often also review 16 1700 laptops that still only have a 512 gigabyte ssd so if you're getting that at 9.99 i mean yeah between that and the ram um and we'll get into the performance of the gpu and cpu but uh starting off on a good foot yeah totally um one thing that i think you did note um this laptop does

Run a little bit hot um in terms of the actual chassis of the machine um where does it get hot and do you find it is uncomfortable um it got hot a little more towards the screen but that's not really where your fingers go so you should be okay what itself is okay um but the cpu itself ran ran hot um hotter than you'd like but it didn't really impact performance as far as we could tell very much so it gets a little hot i mean it's a

Budget laptop um it's pretty acceptable if if it's not throttling your system then it's not really the biggest deal stop burning your hands it's not really the biggest deal so got it right so the hot zone is sort of the area forward the keyboard between the keyboard and the screen is that is that where it is okay cool so in terms of the um the graphics in this so let's say all emd having amd cpu and gpu the gpu in here is the radeon rx 5500m

Which is not um one we see too often um we have seen a 5600m i believe in uh the last few weeks in a dell machine the dell g515 special edition i recall correctly but um how would you contextualize this 5500m um it's kind of a new kit on the block it's one of amd's knobby based gpus but has it sort of um place in the hierarchy that sort of nvidia sets you know yeah so we don't get a lot of amd gpus in particular so let alone the really new one so this is one of two

Opportunities we've had to test this um the general takeaway is that it falls somewhere between the nvidia gtx 1650 and the 1660 ti um it's a little bit closer to the ti probably the 1650 lags behind about 20 frames per second or so on different games compared to this um amd uh gpu so i mean that's a pretty good that's a pretty good result for amd considering they tend to sell the 1650 and uh and this gpu at the same price point so it has an advantage there um there are laptops within 100 maybe 200 dollars

That have the 1660 ti and this can't quite keep up uh with that but um it's it's a pretty good value proposition um compared to the 1650 i feel like i would choose uh i would choose this over the 1650 for laptops that are around 800 to a thousand dollars got it yeah actually one of the recent dell xps i think was the new gtx 1650 ti so this is probably roughly equivalent to that i would think seeing as this is between the 1650 non-ti and the 1660 ti so um sounds like that's probably the

Rough equivalent of it we haven't seen gaming laptops with the 1650 ti yet i don't believe so um that's uh probably where it lands though um so in terms of um graphical performance this is a 15-inch laptop with a um 1080p screen and the screen um as i recall is a high refresh screen correct how does this how does this gpu sort of leverage that or does it leverage that sure yeah it's it's 120 hertz screen so it's not a whole full 144 but this gpu as i kind of just alluded to is

Low to mid range it's a moderate performer um it will hit 60 frames in aaa games uh we'll go 60 to 70 is where we kind of found that it averaged out um of course that depends on the game the more cutting edge titles you won't quite hit that but uh on more competitive multiplayer titles or um games where you don't mind what it looks like or are simple but they still benefit from high refresh you could get a lot closer to 100 maybe even up to the ceiling depending on the game

Um so in that sense depending on what you play it can make use of this of the high refresh screen it won't always happen if you're only sort of a big budget player um then you aren't going to get 120 120 frames on uh you know the latest aaa like single player campaign games but um for a laptop that's 9.99 getting 60 frames on high settings on games that aren't cutting edge i mean that's pretty good you can leverage the screen on these like

Competitive multiplayer games you feel like battle royales or mobas you know things like that will run at higher refresh so it's a pretty good compromise between a full 144 hertz and a more expensive laptop that could run that and sort of this budget entry range that gives you a little bit more than like the bare minimum got it yeah and actually one one other thing about this which i failed to mention earlier is freesync right um so this um because it uses um an amd radeon gpu

Um sports resync which in this price point you don't typically see adaptive sync um features like that like you won't find g-sync in a 999 nvidia based machine pretty much period right yeah not really at all i mean even i don't know even a 1500 laptop often doesn't have g-sync you could be you could be surprised so that definitely adds some cost amd's option is a lot more affordable even then though we don't usually see it at this price point so

Extra commendations here right so yeah i mean that's another plus you know sort of feather in its cap the other uh sort of aspect of the um gpu and cpu in this machine is um i'm wondering for games that are cpu dependent you've got an eight core pretty powerful cpu in this thing so i'm wondering like for games that um like a counter strike um which are you know sort of scale according to cpu power this actually might actually have additional appeal and therefore you would be able to

Leverage that high resource screen a bit more i mean we tested a handful of games with this but i suspect that if we you know got real down and dirty with a lot of different titles you might find that the cpu power of this thing actually has some additional uh sort of appeal for you know those particular titles that can leverage it yeah especially especially full hd the the lower your resolution the more bound to your cpu it is so um it's a combo to run this at

Full hd push those frames uh all the better like you said if you're playing games that rely more on the cpu right yeah i mean one of the gaming laptops that i really liked a lot this year also happened to be an amd based one but it used i believe it was an rtx 2016 that was the asus uh rog strix let me try to ride g14 is that good the zephyrus g14 yeah right not straight my bad um so that machine um was a uh ryzen 7 i believe and an rtx 2060 and um

That one we were pretty impressed with it for the price and what was the price on that it was significantly more expensive than this but not you know through the sky right i believe it's 14.99 um i think that sounds right to me um or 13.99 it's it's in that ballpark so i mean compared to the performance of almost everything we've tested recently that laptop is kind of really hard to beat value um but it's on the back of these horizon chips which are really efficient right yeah and i mean it is 50 more but

I mean when you're going from a 999 sort of borderline budget system to a 1500 mid-range system um i mean there is a you know you know a bit of daylight there but we're still not up in the range of like the 2000 2500 machines that sort of used to find high performance you get pretty darn good performance in these machines and if you happen to need cpu power whether that's for a cpu dependent game or for content creation you get an awful lot of one of these two machines for uh for the money yeah and that's a 14 inch laptop too so

It's all all that much more portable has a nice build quality so that's right about that one all right yeah that actually probably has a bit more sort of portability to it because uh yeah smaller footprint i don't remember the weight off hand but i guess if you are in uh you know the market for a much smaller you know uh form factor you know that's a nice alternative to this and speaking of the screen size in the chassis msi machines sometimes can be a mixed bag in terms of

Build quality in their lower end systems a little bit of flex here and there how did this one uh feel to you man under your hands um so yeah i have it here it is pretty good it has a aluminum like palm rest like brushed aluminum which is a bit a bit more premium um it adds a little bit more of a quality feel the lid is plastic there's a little bit of flex in the lid i mean i wouldn't go i wouldn't go pushing on it i wouldn't go pushing on any laptop lid but you can't help but kind of feel that sort of thing when you when you pick it

Up um otherwise the quality is the quality is pretty good the keyboard is comfortable enough um not a not a lot of flex beyond a little bit of lid and you know screen flex but nothing nothing that should bother you too much um it weighs about 4.1 pounds so pretty compact um pretty pretty travel friendly it's not the thinnest thing you've ever seen but it's it's uh it's pretty reasonable for

A budget laptop i think they're getting better and better at this um i don't i don't i wouldn't i wouldn't write home about the build quality but i think it's just above acceptable for uh for a budget build got it yeah what about the um connectivity around the edges there i mean we've got wi-fi of course is there anything sort of extraordinary about the connectivity or is it pretty standard stuff uh there are two usbc which is i mean i

Wouldn't even expect one necessarily on this yeah yeah if anything actually budget laptops may be more likely to have that because they tend to be a little thicker a lot of the premium super slim gaming laptops can't fit in ethernet port um so that's actually one advantage of the slightly thicker chassis but yeah you're pretty covered um usb there's a dedicated hdmi out so um more than the basics are covered here i would say right yeah the two usbc is interesting does it

Do usb c for charging as well or is there a dedicated charging camera dedicated uh charge jack oh okay so you have to get useable for those ports you have to dedicate one of the charger so cool okay so yeah for 9.99 i mean it seems like a pretty strong value i mean and when you're in this space you know 100 up or down kind of to make or break a purchase uh when you're up in like the 17 or 1800 space it's kind of one of those things where if you're you know in for a penny in for a pound right but in this sort of pricing zone

Getting sort of stuff on the right side of the line like i was saying before the ram is the higher sort of what you could expect the ssd is the higher what is higher than what you would expect the cpu is above average so you can sort of forgive some you know other sort of maybe build quality or aesthetic uh aspects of it so um there we have it the bravo 15 um we gave it four stars and an editor's choice in our recent review on pcmag.com matt thank you for sharing your

Impressions of machine with us and um yeah good job to both msi and amd and this machine there they sort of hit the sweet spot at this price and we look forward to seeing more machines like this it's sort of a unique model so thanks very much for tuning in we will see you again on one cool thing with some more cool gear until next time

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