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MSI Delta 15 (A5Ex) review

The MSI Delta 15 is a laptop that we’ve been wanting to get our hands on for quite some time. Finally, we managed to buy one. Why is it so special, you may ask? You know, the last year was pretty successful for AMD. They managed to dethrone Intel (at least briefly), while their RDNA2 architecture brought the battle with NVIDIA to a new level. This is why the company paired with some brands to make the so-called “AMD Advantage Edition” devices.

One of the most popular units out there was the ASUS ROG Strix G15 G513 with this branding. However, the Delta 15 from MSI flew under the radar of a lot of people. It combines the power of a Zen 3 CPU with that of a Radeon RX 6700M – a 10GB GDDR6 graphics card, again coming from AMD.

To take advantage of such hardware, you would want a good display, wouldn’t you? Thankfully, there is a 1080p 240Hz IPS option, which should be pretty good for fast-paced titles.

Without further ado, let’s take this laptop out of its box, and see what we got ourselves.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/msi-delta-15-a5ex/

Contents

Specs Sheet

MSI Delta 15 (A5Ex) review - Specs

  • Sharp LQ156M1JW03 (SHP155D)
  • Color accuracy  3.9  0.9
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 8000GB SSD
  • RAM
  • up to 64GB
  • OS
  • Windows 11 Pro, Windows 10 Pro, Windows 11 Home, Windows 10 Home
  • Battery
  • 82Wh, 4-cell
  • Body material
  • Aluminum
  • Dimensions
  • 357 x 247 x 19 mm (14.06" x 9.72" x 0.75")
  • Weight
  • 1.90 kg (4.2 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 2x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), DisplayPort
  • HDMI
  • 2.0
  • Card reader
  • Ethernet LAN
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.2
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5mm Combo Jack
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera
  • HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone
  • Speakers
  • Nahimic 3D Audio Stereo speakers
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot

What’s in the box?

Inside the package, there are the mandatory paper manuals, a 240W power adapter, and the laptop itself.

Design and construction

MSI has made this device entirely out of aluminum… well, at least its body. Both the lid and the base are quite resistant to flex, which is good. In addition to that, the laptop has a sleek carbon gray finish.

Its measurements sit at 19mm in terms of thickness, and 1.90 kilos in weight. Generally, this is one of the thin and light gaming notebooks. We hope that the cooling didn’t take a hit.

Thankfully, the lid can be easily opened with a single hand. The top and side bezels around the matte display are thin, and you will find an HD Web camera above the panel.

Let’s take a look at the base. There is a quite sizable grill above the keyboard, which serves no other purpose than for ventilation. Speaking of the keyboard, it is an RGB backlit unit with short key travel and feedback that is a bit soft. Generally, it is not great for playing games.

Likewise, the touchpad is small, while its surface is smooth but weird. On the bright side, its click is satisfying, while the tracking is fast and accurate.

Moving to the bottom panel, we see the speaker cutouts, as well as the huge ventilation grill. The hot air is then exhausted through two vents on the back, and one on either side of the notebook.

Ports

On the left side, there is the power plug, a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) port, a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 2) port, and an audio jack. Respectively, the right side houses a security lock slot, an HDMI connector, another USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) port (which this time has DisplayPort capabilities), as well as a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 2) port.

Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance

The first step here is to remove the bottom panel. To do that, undo all 13 Phillips-head screws, and pry it, starting from the front two corners.

Inside, we see an 82Wh battery pack. It lasts for 11 hours and 30 minutes of Web browsing, or 10 hours and 30 minutes of video playback. To remove it, you just need to undo two Pillips-head screws and unplug the battery connector from the motherboard.

As you can see, the situation is not very simple, as the motherboard is upside down. First, peel the black sheet off it. Then, remove the Wi-Fi card, and unplug all connectors, you see attached to it. After that, you will need to pop off two Phillips-head screws. Only then, you will be able to turn the motherboard the right way around.

Now, you have access to the two RAM SODIMM slots, which fit up to 64GB of DDR4 memory. Storage-wise, there are two M.2 PCIe x4 slots.

Here, the two thin heat pipes are allocated to the CPU, while the two thicker ones are for the GPU. In addition, you get a heat pipe that takes care of the voltage control.

Display quality

MSI Delta 15 (A5Ex) in the configuration we tested has a Full HD 240Hz IPS panel with a model number Sharp LQ156M1JW03 (SHP155D). Its diagonal is 15.6″ (39.62 cm), and the resolution is 1920 х 1080 pixels. The screen ratio is 16:9, and we are looking at a pixel density of – 142 ppi, and a pitch of 0.18 х 0.18 mm. The screen turns into Retina when viewed at distance equal to or greater than 60cm (24″) (from this distance one’s eye stops differentiating the separate pixels, and it is normal for looking at a laptop).

Viewing angles are excellent. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.

Also, a video with locked focus and exposure.

We measured a maximum brightness of 316 nits in the middle of the screen and 295 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 11%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 7250K – slightly colder than the optimal for the sRGB standard of 6500K.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. In other words, the leakage of light from the light source.

Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work. The contrast ratio is good – 1120:1.

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people on HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows MSI Delta 15 (A5Ex)’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 96% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of MSI Delta 15 (A5Ex) with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale, and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 8 ms.

After that, we test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “Gray-to-Gray” method from 50% White to 80% White and vice versa between 10% and 90% of the amplitude.

PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

MSI Delta 15 (A5Ex)’s display backlight doesn’t use PWM for brightness adjustment only above 82 nits (23%). Below that, the frequency of the flickers is really high, which reduces the negative effect.

Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for MSI Delta 15 (A5Ex) configurations with 15.6″ FHD IPS Sharp LQ156M1JW03 (SHP155D).

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at bg.laptopmedia@gmail.com.

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard

Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount

Sound

MSI Delta 15 (A5Ex)’s speakers produce a sound of good quality. Its low, mid, and high tones are clear of deviations. On the other hand, the maximum volume is not that high.

Drivers

All drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://www.msi.com/Laptop/Delta-15-A5EX/support

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with the Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. Here, the 82Wh battery lasts for 11 hours and 28 minutes of Web browsing, or 10 hours and 33 minutes of video playback.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

CPU options

This laptop can be found in configurations equipped with the Ryzen 7 5800H, or Ryzen 9 5900HX.

GPU options

As for the graphics, you get only one option – the AMD Radeon RX 6700M. It comes with 10GB of GDDR6 VRAM.

Gaming tests

Metro ExodusFull HD, Low (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Extreme (Check settings)
Average FPS155 fps65 fps37 fps

Borderlands 3Full HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Badass (Check settings)
Average fps94 fps85 fps71 fps

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon WildlandsFull HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Very High (Check settings)Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
Average93 fps81 fps64 fps

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018)Full HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Highest (Check settings)
Average123 fps117 fps74 fps

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

AMD Ryzen 7 5800H (45W TDP)0:02 – 0:10 sec0:15 – 0:30 sec10:00 – 15:00 min
MSI Delta 15 (A5Ex)3.24 GHz (B+1%) @ 72°C3.16 GHz @ 78°C3.19 GHz @ 84°C
ASUS ZenBook Pro 15 OLED (UM535)3.36 GHz (B+5%) @ 74°C3.32 GHz (B+4%) @ 74°C3.23 GHz (B+1%) @ 82°C
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro (16″)3.19 GHz @ 76°C3.07 GHz @ 79°C3.16 GHz @ 84°C
Dell G15 55153.29 GHz (B+3%) @ 74°C3.14 GHz @ 74°C3.21 GHz (B+0%) @ 82°C
HP Victus 16 (16-e0000)3.29 GHz (B+3%) @ 80°C3.20 GHz (B+0%) @ 80°C3.27 GHz (B+2%) @ 89°C
HP Omen 15 (2021, 15-en1000)3.33 GHz (B+4%) @ 78°C3.33 GHz (B+4%) @ 85°C3.42 GHz (B+7%) @ 88°C
ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 15 G5333.43 GHz (B+7%) @ 76°C3.35 GHz (B+5%) @ 80°C3.47 GHz (B+8%) @ 82°C
ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE (GX551)3.93 GHz (B+23%) @ 81°C3.82 GHz (B+19%) @ 86°C3.78 GHz (B+18%) @ 93°C
ASUS TUF A17 (FA706) 20213.42 GHz (B+7%) @ 74°C3.34 GHz (B+4%) @ 78°C3.35 GHz (B+5%) @ 84°C

As you can tell, the Delta 15 isn’t doing a great job cooling the Ryzen 7 5800H. It barely goes above the Base clocks.

Real-life gaming

AMD Radeon RX 6700MGPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min)GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min)GPU frequency/ Core temp (Max fan)
MSI Delta 15 (A5Ex)2230 MHz @ 81°C @ 112W2127 MHz @ 86°C @ 105W

While the clocks of the RX 6700 look very high, which is a good thing. However, the temperature of the GPU was also high, which unfortunately is not that good. Here, you can see that the energy consumption drops by 7W, which indicates that some thermal throttling occurs. At 86°C, the cooling is definitely not calculated well enough.

Gaming comfort

Sadly, the bad news doesn’t end here. The external temperature of the body of the laptop is really high – more than 54°C on the keyboard. Due to the thin aluminum material of the housing, the heat spreads quickly to the entire device, making it uncomfortable to handle… unless you’re gaming in February with your window wide open.

Verdict

Albeit the Delta 15 (A5Ex) is a solid performer, mostly due to the power of the Radeon RX 6700M, we couldn’t really say we would recommend it. The single reason for that is its cooling. Indeed, the laptop is thin, light, tough, and arguably pretty. However, all of this comes at a price – an unsatisfactory cooling solution.

Both the CPU and the GPU can’t reach their full potential. Especially the GPU, which leaves a lot on the table, and loses a good chunk of its performance to throttling after no more than 5 minutes of gaming.

However, if we look at this laptop from a different angle – that of a content creator, you will rarely face the problems we saw. In fact, you will probably be more interested in the display quality.

Therefore, you would be happy to know that MSI Delta 15 (A5Ex)’s IPS panel has a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, and a good contrast ratio. It has a 240Hz refresh rate and quick pixel response times, which is great for the gamers out there. The image it produces is really attractive, thanks to the 96% sRGB coverage, while the color accuracy is on point with our Gaming and Web design profile. Even though the panel uses PWM for brightness adjustment, it is only up to 82 nits, and the frequency of the pulsations is very high, which makes them rather harmless.

Moreover, its battery life is quite impressive. The 82Wh unit manages around 11 hours and a half of Web browsing, or about an hour less in video playback. This is due to great optimizations, but also thanks to the variable refresh rate technology, which prevents the display from running at its full 240Hz at battery power.

Interestingly, the laptop has a very good upgrade option roster. We are talking about two RAM SODIMM slots for up to 64GB of DDR4 memory in dual-channel mode, as well as two M.2 PCIe x4 slots for storage expansion. But, you will have to put a bit of effort to access them. Not only do you need to remove the bottom panel, but also, you would have to take out the entire motherboard, as it is placed upside down.

You know, MSI is bragging that you can plug two more displays into their device. What is less impressive, though is the lack of an SD card reader. Yes, you have Wi-Fi 6E support, which is great for people, who have access to Wi-Fi 6E routers.

On the other hand, the input devices are just not up to the level we expected for a laptop at this price. Generally, we think that MSI had a raw gem in its hands, but they just didn’t do a good enough job polishing it. With that said, the ASUS TUF Gaming A15 FA507 is a better option in our view.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/msi-delta-15-a5ex/

Pros

  • Good battery life
  • 2x SODIMM + 2x M.2 PCIe x4
  • Fast display options
  • No aggressive PWM (Sharp LQ156M1JW03 (SHP155D))
  • 96% sRGB coverage and high color accuracy with our Gaming and Web design profile (Sharp LQ156M1JW03 (SHP155D))


Cons

  • No SD card reader
  • Difficult to upgrade
  • Subpar cooling
  • Gets very hot on the outside when gaming