The MSI Cyborg 15 offers affordable graphics and a fast screen, making it an attractive buy to budget-minded gamers, but it’s hard to ignore the spots where MSI cut corners.
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MSI is known for its radically powerful gaming machines. Right now, the latest offering is a semi-compact gaming laptop called the Cyborg 15. The price is right at just over $1,000 and the newer Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 GPU is a beast in the graphics department. That said, we had a few caveats about this particular machine.
The laptop holds back with the processor, which is an Intel Core i5 from the 12th generation. It’s an older model, which means this machine falls behind a bit in processing tasks. According to my initial performance measurements, this computer seems to under-perform when compared to the competition. I get similar results from laptops with more power-efficient P-type Intel Core processors. Nitpicks aide, if it’s pure graphics you’re after, then graphics you’ll get.
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MSI Cyborg 15: Specifications
Processor: Intel Core i5-12450H with 4 Performance cores up to 4,4 GHz + 4 Efficiency cores up to 3,3 GHz Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060, 8GB Memory: 16 GB DDR5 Storage: 512 GB SSD Display: 15.6 inch matte IPS, 1920×1080 pixels, 144 Hz Webcam: 720p Connections: USB 3 gen 1 type c with DisplayPort, 2 pcs USB 3 gen 1 type a, USB 2.0, lan, HDMI, headset Wireless: WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.2 Operating system: Windows 11 Home Other: Backlit keyboard, numeric keypad Noise level: 0-42 dBa Battery life: 1 hr 35 min (high load), 8 hr 50 min (low load) Size: 35.9 x 25 x 2 cm Weight: 4.36 pounds Price: $999 (baseline), $1099 (as configured)
MSI Cyborg 15: Performance
Cinebench R23, CPU: 8,824 points CinebenchR23, CPU and core: 1,556 points Geekbench 6, CPU: 8,889 points Geekbench 6, CPU and core: 2,138 points Geekbench 6, GPU: 77,857 points Disk read: 3,628.11 MB/s Disk write: 2,474.03 MB/s
MSI Cyborg 15: Better at gaming in practice
But once you’re in the game, you’ll notice a boost for the graphics card, compared to simpler computers on paper. It runs at a higher frame rate and it’s possible to have more demanding graphics settings than I can manage in other computers for this price. Not much better, but marginally.
It should have been better, though, so maybe the cooling in the computer isn’t efficient enough. In standard mode, it’s automatic and AI controlled, and you can also choose between silent, balanced and high performance modes, but apart from the silent mode, I don’t see performance being affected, just the fan noise, which can go from a subtle whisper to short loud bumps at very high volume.
That this is a gaming laptop is evident in many ways. A keyboard that glows blue, with arrow keys and WASD clearly marked. An angular design with wide sides to accommodate large cooling grilles. And a semi-transparent chassis that reveals components, screws and plates on the inside. It even says “MSI TRUE GAMIN” (yes, without the final G, or at least barely legible) in giant letters on the bottom.
MSI Cyborg 15: Not very heavy
Is it necessarily stylish? No, but at least it’s a bit different. The computer is a little thicker than most standard 15-inch computers without game graphics, but it’s not excessively large or heavy. You’ll be carrying just under two kilos. If you don’t count the battery charger.
You get a comfortable keyboard with well-sized keys and clear click response. The backlight is a constant blue, and I don’t see that there would be RGB control on the color. It’s usually possible to download and install otherwise in MSI’s MSI Center control software, but that option never appears. So it’s blue or nothing. It is easy to adjust the brightness with a function button, so if you can tolerate the color, it works well.
The base is plastic, but the surface around the keyboard and mouse is a cool, matte lightweight metal that’s comfortable to rest your wrists on. The mouse pad is comfortable, but the precision is a bit lacking at times; I have to press a bit on the surface for it to detect movement.
MSI Cyborg 15: Fast but pale screen
A monitor with 1080p resolution and 144Hz frame rate makes for a good gaming experience, even if response times are only semi-short. Good enough for most people, but a little too sluggish for a discerning e-sports player. Unfortunately, it’s also quite pale in color. It doesn’t reach the srgb level but ends up at just over 60 percent of it, which means that colors are bland in both films and games.
The brightness of around 250 cd/m2 is also not much to cheer about and means that dynamics and contrast suffer, although it can be relatively dark in black pixels. The screen is actually best for everyday tasks such as browsing and reading documents.
The computer’s speakers deliver rather weak sound. With mediocre pressure in the bass and lost details in the treble, they are acceptable at best. If the fans are blowing, the speakers may have to work hard to drown it out.
MSI Cyborg 15: Charging is needed
Battery life is never much to cheer about in a computer like this. I get barely two hours of runtime when playing demanding games, and maybe a full working day of surfing and emailing. But just maybe, with too much brightness and a little more load on the processor, the hours shrink.
You charge the battery with a separate ISO connector, and then have a USB-C port for data or monitor, as well as two USB Type-A ports, all three with USB 3 Gen 1 speed. You also get fixed gigabit networking, if you don’t want to connect wirelessly. Its Wi-Fi 6 is fast and stable, but I miss the support for 6 GHz and Wi-Fi 6e that many of its competitors have.
It’s not a single important thing enough to lower the rating, but the MSI Cyborg 15 accumulates a list of things that either make my time with the computer less enjoyable or limit what it’s good at. The exception is when I play games, when the power of the graphics card comes into its own. But a nicer screen would have been welcome even for that.
This review was translated from Swedish to English, and originally appeared on pcforalla.se.