MSi Stealth 16 Studio A13V Review
MSi isn’t the first name I think of when it comes to high-powered gaming laptops. But after spending a couple of weeks with the Stealth 16 Studio A13V, my internal list may need revision. This computer is packing some serious firepower, especially for a portable device. MSi hasn’t quite solved the heat issues plaguing most gaming laptops, but it runs like a dream otherwise. Well, with a couple of minor exceptions of course.
That sounds ominous. It shouldn’t! The Stealth 16 is a beautiful rig, complete with all the RGB bells and whistles you could ever ask for. The keyboard has that adjustable rainbow shimmer I’ve grown to love. The keys themselves feel smooth yet tactile. I immediately attached a mechanical keyboard, but that’s a strictly personal preference. The screen resolution is only 1200p, but the refresh rate is a silky smooth 144Hz. The GPU is a monstrous GeForce RTX 4060. The model I tested was packing an i7 processor, but you can also spring for the i9. I wish there was more than one USB port, but I’m old-fashioned that way. Instead, you get a USB-C port, a thunderbolt charging port, a microSD slot, and an ethernet plug.
It’s worth mentioning that I’ve been testing the more restrained model on the Stealth 16 lineup. Beefier models sport that i9 CPU, yes. But there’s also an option for a 4K display and a GTX 4070 graphics card. While my version was pretty potent, there are greater heights to be achieved yet. But even with my specs, achieving that coveted 60 fps was fairly straightforward. Heck, 60 was quite often the minimum framerate, depending on the game I was playing. And yet, I found myself consistently underestimated.
Runs Like A Dream
I ran into a curious issue while testing the Stealth 16. Whenever a game prodded the laptop to determine the optimal settings, it kicked me down to medium or low. Forza Motorsport was sure I couldn’t do more than that, and yet! I ran the game on high settings with no issues. The framerate settled somewhere between 110 and 85fps, depending on how intense the race got. I managed ultra settings as well, though the framerate dipped below 60 a few times. Remnant 2 also had no faith in my machine for no good reason. That game ran without a single hitch, at least during my testing period.
This isn’t to say that you can get ultra-level visuals without any adjustments, though. Forza Motorsport required some careful fiddling before the framerate stabilized on Ultra. Destiny 2 was much more forgiving, but this is somewhat uncommon. I’ve made my peace with this element of PC gaming in general, though it’s still worth mentioning. Honestly though, I had to make comparatively few adjustments to get everything running smoothly. Just tweaking a handful of settings was usually enough.
Gaming laptops get crazy hot, and the Stealth 16 is no exception. The CPU can get all the way up to 87 degrees Celsius. That’s not hot enough to fry any hardware or anything, but still. You can adjust the fans to compensate for the heat, but that software doesn’t come with the machine. I mean, there is the MSi Center, but it’s too basic to be of any use. I had to find and download MSi’s Dragon Center software instead. I wish that came pre-installed, but it wasn’t too difficult to track down. On the other hand, the fans aren’t too loud even on max settings. You’ll definitely need headphones while gaming, though.
Packing Some Serious Heat
I didn’t spend much time testing the battery. They tend to be the weak point in gaming laptops, especially ones with GPUs this beefy. I did run one solid gaming session that took the battery down to 15% in about 80 minutes. Which is unfortunately pretty standard for a rig like this. If you’re doing lighter work, you can expect a bit more battery life. But really, what else is a laptop like this for, if not serious gaming?
The keyboard is responsive and snappy. Since this is a 16-inch model, you’ve also got room for a proper number pad on the right side, which I appreciate. I’ve long outgrown the primal need for glowy buttons, but even so! These are some impressive RGB lights on display. You can easily choose between several different settings, depending on how distracted you want to be at all times.
Laptop gaming is all about trade-offs. In exchange for portability you’re always giving something up. Battery life, cooling systems, and raw power all come to mind. And yet, the Stealth 16 makes these trades seem worth it. The fans are beefy enough to beat back the worst of the heat. That GTX 4060 can handle almost anything you throw at it. We haven’t quite cracked that battery problem yet, but I’ve made my peace with this. If you’re in the market for a portable gaming rig, consider the Stealth 16. It’s sleek, sexy, and crazy powerful.
***A retail copy of the hardware was provided by the manufacturer***
- Powerful graphics card
- sleek design
- High refresh rate monitor
- Proper-sized keyboard
- Temp gets very high
- Poor battery life
- Hardware monitor app issues