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MSI Summit E16 Flip vs. HP Spectre x360 16

MSI is best known for its gaming laptops, but it makes some fantastic business machines as well. The Summit E16 Flip is one example, a large 360-degree convertible 2-in-1 that’s up against some stiff competition. In particular, HP’s Spectre x360 16 is the culmination of years of manufacturing successful convertible 2-in-1s in both small and large formats.

Both 16-inch 2-in-1s have their strengths, but only one can come out on top. Which is a better investment for your hard-earned cash?

Specs

  MSI Summit E16 Flip HP Spectre x360 16
Dimensions 14.12 inches x 10.15 inches x 0.66 inches 14.09 inches x 9.66 inches x 0.78 inches
Weight 4.19 pounds 4.45 pounds
Processor Core i7-1195G7 Intel Core i7-11390H
Graphics Intel Iris Xe
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050
Intel Iris Xe
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050
RAM 16GB
32GB
16GB
32GB
Display 16-inch 16:10 QHD+ (2560 x 1600) IPS 120Hz 16-inch 16:10 3K+ (3072 x 1920) IPS
16-inch 16:10 3K+ (3072 x 1920) IPS anti-reflection
16-inch 16:10 UHD+ (3840 x 2400) OLED
Storage 1TB PCIe SSD
2TB PCIe SSD
512GB PCIe SSD
1TB PCIe SSD
2TB PCIe SSD
Touch Yes Yes
Ports 2 x USB-A 3.2
2 x USB 4.0 with Thunderbolt 4
HDMI
3.5mm audio jack
MicroSD card reader
2 x USB-C 4.0 with Thunderbolt 4
1 x USB-A 3.2
1 x HDMI 2.0b
3.5mm audio jack
MicroSD card reader
Wireless Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2
Webcam 720p 5MP
Operating system Windows 11 Home Windows 11 Home
Windows 11 Pro
Battery 82 watt-hour 83 watt-hour
Price $1,683+ $1,640+
Rating 3.5 out of 5.0 stars 4.0 out of 5.0 stars

Design

Two USB-C ports and a charger plugin are seen on the right side of the HP Spectre x360 16.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The HP Spectre x360 16 is an elegantly designed laptop with a gem-cut aesthetic that includes notches cut out of the rear corners of the chassis and display. These notches aren’t just for aesthetics; they’re also functional — one houses a USB-C port and the other the 3.5mm audio jack. The Spectre x360 16 steps back from the bolder design of earlier models, though, with more rounded edges and less aggressive venting. You can get the 2-in-1 in either Nightfall Black with Pale Brass accents or Nocturne Blue with Celestial Blue accents. The MSI Summit E16 Flip has an all-black aesthetic with gold accents that’s quite reminiscent of the Spectre x360 16 in its color scheme — almost as if it’s deliberate. The Summit E16 Flip’s angles are different, being flatter along the sides (looking like previous generation Spectres) and with an angled edge along the rear of the chassis. It’s a more angular look compared to the Spectre x360 16, but both 2-in-1s are attractive machines.

Both are constructed from CNC machined aluminum, and both are solidly built. Neither has any bending or flexing in the lid, keyboard deck, or chassis, making them the equal of the best-made laptops. Both also have 360-degree hinges that allow opening with one hand while keeping the display firmly in place in whichever mode — clamshell, tent, media, or tablet. You won’t choose between these two based on build quality alone.

The Spectre x360 16 has one of the best keyboards around, with large keycaps and tons of key spacing especially given that, usually for a larger laptop, HP didn’t include a numeric keypad. The switches are confident and precise, with a satisfyingly quiet click and excellent precision. Only Dell’s XPS line matches this keyboard in the Windows environment, and only Apple’s Magic Keyboard on its latest MacBooks can beat it for sheer typing comfort. The Summit E16 Flip’s is also quite good, with its own large keycaps and good key spacing, but less so thanks to a numeric keyboard taking up space on the right-hand side. Its switches were deep with a light touch and snappy mechanism, but the bottoming action was a bit too soft. It’s not quite in the same league as the Spectre x360 16’s, but it’s an excellent keyboard nonetheless.

The Spectre x360 16’s touchpad is significantly larger than the Summit E16 Flip’s, which again mimics earlier Spectre generations with a wider version that leaves a lot of extra space on the palm rest. Both are Windows Precision touchpads and provided accurate Windows 11 multitouch gesture support, but the Spectre x360 16’s was simply more comfortable to use. Of course, both 2-in-1s have touch-enabled displays, and both ship with active pens for Windows Ink support. They’re roughly equal in that regard.

Connectivity is also quite similar, with the Summit E16 Flip sporting two USB-A 3.2 ports, two USB-C 4.0 ports with Thunderbolt 4 support, an HDMI port, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a microSD card reader. The Spectre x360 16 is almost identical, only with a single USB-A port. Both laptops enjoy Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2

Notably, the Spectre x360 16 has a 5MP webcam that’s much higher quality than the Summit E16 Flip’s 720p version, and HP has built tons of intelligence into their 2-in-1 for making videoconferencing higher quality and more active, including image enhancement and face tracking. The Spectre x360 16 is a better fit for hybrid workers who use Zoom to keep up with colleagues.

Performance

MSI Summit E16 Flip sitting on a table.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The Spectre x360 16 we reviewed was equipped with a 35-watt four-core/eight-thread Core i7-11390H and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU. The Summit E16 Flip comes with the Core i7 1195G7, a 28-watt four-core/eight-thread CPU, and it too uses Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3050. With the Spectre x360 16 in its standard performance mode via the HP Command Center utility, performance was similar between the two laptops.

In Cinebench R23, for example, the Spectre x360 16 scored 1,547 in single-core mode and 5,562 in multi-core mode compared to the MSI’s 1,589 and 5344. However, switching the HP to performance mode caused the multi-core score to jump to 6,328. In our Handbrake test that converts a 420MB video to H.265, the Spectre x360 16 finished in 233 seconds compared to the Summit E16 Flip’s much faster 178 seconds. In performance mode, the HP managed a more competitive 182 seconds. One test where the MSI dominated was the Pugetbench Premiere Pro benchmark that runs in a live version of Adobe’s Premiere Pro video editing application. Here, it scored 552 compared to the Spectre x360 16, which could muster only 416 even in performance mode.

Gaming performance was also similar between the two machines, although the MSI was slightly faster in a few titles (that’s MSI’s gaming chops showing). Both hit 49 frames per second (fps), for example, in Battlefield V at 1200p and medium graphics. The Summit E16 Flip was faster in Fortnite at 1200p and epic graphics at 50 fps versus 37 fps. In Civilization VI, the Summit E16 Flip hit 62 fps at 1080p and ultra graphics, compared to the Spectre x360 16 at 58 fps.

Both 2-in-1s are fast for demanding productivity tasks, and they can also tackle some creativity workflows. The Summit E16 Flip is slightly faster overall, however.

Display

A straight on shot of the HP Spectre x360 16.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

You get one display option with the Summit E16 Flip, a 16-inch 16:10 QHD+ (2560 x 1600) IPS panel whose claim to fame is its fluid 120Hz refresh rate. That makes Windows 11 buttery smooth. The Spectre x360 16 offers a choice of two 16-inch 16:10 3K+ (3072 x 1920) IPS panels, one anti-reflection, and a 16-inch 16:10 UHD+ (3840 x 2400) OLED option. All of HP’s displays run at 60Hz.

The MSI Summit E16 Flip is a little deeper than the Spectre x360 16 while being almost exactly as wide. It’s also thinner at 0.66 inches and lighter at 4.19 pounds compared to the Spectre x360 16’s 0.78 inches and 4.45 pounds. Both are very large 2-in-1s that take up significant space in your backpack, and you’ll know it when you’re carrying them around. The Summit E16 Flip’s panel is a good one for IPS, being very bright at 482 nits and offering surprisingly wide colors at 89% of AdobeRGB and 100% of sRGB compared (72% and 95% are average for premium laptops) that were also accurate at a DeltaE of 1.12 (1.0 or less is considered excellent).

Its contrast came in at a solid 1,140:1 for an IPS display. We reviewed the Spectre x360 16 with its OLED display, and while it wasn’t as bright at 354 nits (anything more than 300 is bright enough), its colors were wider at 97% of AdobeRGB and 100% of sRGB and more accurate at 0.89. And its contrast was inky black at 24,610:1.

Toss in the higher resolution of the Spectre x360 16’s display, and we have a decisive winner in this category. Yes, we like the 120Hz refresh rate, but IPS simply can’t compare to OLED when it comes to dynamic colors and deep blacks.

Portability

There's a full-size HDMI port and two USB-C with Thunderbolt 4 (one of which is used for charging) along the left-hand side.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The Spectre x360 16 has smaller top and bottom bezels, making it shallower than the Summit E16 Flip while being almost identically as wide. The MSI is considerably slimmer at 0.66 inches and lighter at 4.19 pounds, compared to the Spectre x360 16 at 0.78 inches and 4.45 pounds. Both 2-in-1s are going to take up some space in your backpack, and you’ll feel them as you’re moving around, and neither is great in tablet mode unless you’re propping it up on a surface.

Battery capacity is almost even, with the Spectre x360 16 equipping 83 watt-hours of battery and the Summit E16 Flip 82 watt-hours. Even with its OLED display, the HP saw better battery life. It hit 9.78 hours in our web browsing test compared to the MSI at eight hours and 13 hours in our video looping test, whereas the MSI managed 10.7 hours. That makes the Spectre x360 16 much more likely to make it through a full day’s work, perhaps with some time left over for Netflix binging.

The MSI Summit E16 Flip puts up a fight, but the HP Spectre x360 16 wins out

The HP Spectre x360 16 starts at $1,640 for a Core i7-11390H, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, a 3K+ IPS display, and Intel Iris Xe graphics. It maxes out at $2,860 with 32GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD, the UHD+ OLED display, and the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050. It’s a premium 2-in-1 through and through.

The MSI Summit E16 Flip starts at $1,700 from MSI (you can find it slightly cheaper from other retailers) with a Core i7-1195G7, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and the QHD+ IPS display. All configurations come with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050. At the high end, you’ll spend $2,100 for 32GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD. That makes the Summit E16 Flip a less expensive machine overall.

While the Summit E16 Flip is a solid 16-inch convertible 2-in-1, it’s not as elegant as the Spectre x360 16, it doesn’t offer the same OLED quality display, and its battery life can’t keep up. It’s slightly faster than the Spectre x360 16 and less expensive, but that’s not enough to make up for the overall package that the Spectre x360 16 offers.

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