Most people are fans of MSI’s GS Stealth series: it’s impressively thin, adorned in Ninja-black livery and is very powerful. However, the MSI Stealth 15M series – sometimes called the Baby Stealth – is a smaller, watered-down version that sacrifices performance and features for a slashed price tag. Both laptops have a history of thermal issues – getting hot and loud quickly. However, we were impressed with how the 11th Gen Intel CPUs improved heat and efficiency across all laptops – including the MSI GS76 Stealth that we reviewed recently. Now here’s an engineering sample of the latest MSI Stealth 15M B12UE with a 12th Generation Intel CPU. While we’re not able to properly performance-test this early version, are there any clues about what to expect?
UPDATE: Check out the 12th Gen MSI Stealth GS77 review!
The first thing you notice (beyond the svelte, 17mm thickness) is that it’s no longer so stealthy. The matte, black lid is now adorned by a glossy black badge with rainbow-glinting, light-catching MSI moniker and dragon logo. It’s a bit bling for a stealth device but we like it. However, it is a bit of a fingerprint magnet.
Opening the MSI Stealth 15M B12UE up reveals an all-black chassis with RGB keyboard that’s lit in three different zones. The keys are generally well-weighted, accurate and comfortable to type upon for extended periods and we were pleased to see it sport full-sized arrow keys.
The trackpad is smooth but the buttons on our sample took a fair amount of pressure and travel to activate which was annoying. Above the screen is an HD webcam but it’s not Windows Hello compatible for easy, face-recognition-based sign-on.
The MSI Stealth 15M B12UE’s screen itself is a matte, 15.6-inch, 144Hz display that is very smooth and has minimal ghosting. Colours aren’t the most vibrant but we’ve few complaints. Gradients (both colourful and monochromatic) are mostly smooth and the Windows Desktop is crisp and clear.
While it’s not fair to judge the laptop’s performance based on this early sample’s components, it’s worth noting that inside there’s a 12-core, 12th Gen, Intel, Alder Lake, 1.4GHz – 4.8GHz Core i7-1270P (Engineering Sample) CPU. This has four performance cores and eight ‘Efficient’ cores. There’s also 32GB RAM, a 1TB NVMe hard drive and an Nvidia RTX 3060 GPU.
We’ve no benchmark scores for the MSI Stealth 15M B12UE but we did run torture tests to see how the twin-fan-and-four-heat-pipe-based Cooler Boost 5 cooling system performed when under consistent load. What we can say is that when the GPU was operating at 100% in Extreme Performance mode for extended periods on a firm, fabric base (not ideal) it would typically operate between 70oC and 78oC – relatively low for a high performance laptop with this spec. At this temperature the fans would fire up and deliver a consistent, moderate whine. It’s perhaps a little louder than other laptops its size but it’s far removed from the noisiest out there. When doing casual work in Silent mode, the whine was still present but it wasn’t overly intrusive. It’s still there, though.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t test the MSI Stealth 15M B12UE’s speakers as they weren’t functioning.
We were impressed with the connectivity…
It seems to be impressively portable. The main PC weighs an impressive 1.8KG while the power brick and cables add a modest 630g to that bulk. Other 15.6-inch rivals can easily hit 2.5KG. We don’t have details on the battery yet.
Prognosis for the MSI Stealth 15M B12UE
It’s a little too early to determine the value of the MSI Stealth 15M B12UE, but online stores are already listing it at just over $2500. The primary retail versions appears to have the same CPU and GPU but with 16GB RAM and a 512GB hard drive. Another, premium version has a slightly faster CPU (i7-1280P with 14 cores) and a larger, 1TB hard drive and costs $2699. It all amounts to a potentially high-value proposition and we’re fascinated to see how it performs when the final retail version lands on our doorstep.
MSI is celebrating this first look by giving away an MSI Dragon plushie and an MSI string bag to the first ten people to comment on this post! So add your thoughts below! Leave your contact details as part of the message or using our contact form.