After handling MSI's new AI-infused 2-in-1 business laptop I can see the appeal

MSI Summit A16 AI+
(Image credit: Future)

MSI first announced the Summit business laptop series in 2020 to expand the company's non-gaming laptop offerings. Between the Prestige, Modern, and Summit series MSI has three different offerings in the consumer, business, and productivity sector.

Much like the Prestige lineup, MSI is updating the Summit series with the new Intel Lunar Lake and AMD Ryzen AI "Strix Point" processors. As we covered with the Prestige A16 AI+, these hardware updates come with a decent boost in performance and AI-powered productivity.

One of the big differences between the Prestige and Summit lines is that the Summit comes in a 2-in-1 form factor, while the Prestige line is more focused on portability.

I was able to get a look at the MSI Summit A16 AI+ in Taipei, Taiwan during Computex, the massive annual computer expo that ran from June 3-7 this year. The MSI Summit 16 AI+ Evo was trapped under glass with the Intel Lunar Lake products. While I've often wondered what the Summit line has to offer compared to the MSI Modern and MSI Prestige lines, I came away cautiously optimistic after my time with the Summit A16. But will it be good enough to earn it a spot among the best business laptops when it launches later this year?

MSI Summit A16 AI+: Specs

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Price:$1,699
CPU:AMD Ryzen AI 9 365
GPU:AMD Radeon Graphics
Memory:32GB
Storage:1TB
Display:16-inch QHD+ (2,560 x 1,600) 165Hz touchscreen IPS
Battery:80.25 Whr (watt-hour)

MSI Summit A16 AI+: Pricing and configurations

Much like the Prestige, MSI is updating the Summit lineup with multiple configuration options. The only pricing and spec information we have at this point is for the AMD powered MSI Summit A16 AI+ with an AMD Ryzen AI 9 365 processor, integrated Radeon Graphics, 32 GB of memory, 1 TB of storage space, and a 16-inch QHD+ IPS touch display. That particular configuration will cost $1,699.

Based on the units available for perusal at Computex, it seems the MSI Summit 16 AI+ Evo with an Intel Core Ultra ("Lunar Lake") processor and MSI Summit A16 AI+ with an AMD Ryzen AI ("Strix Point") processor will retain the 16-inch design.

MSI will reveal additional configuration options closer to the launch of the laptops, though the MSI Summit A16 AI+ is expected to launch in Q3 of this year while the MSI Summit 16 AI+ Evo will launch in Q4.

MSI Summit A16 AI+: Design

MSI Summit A16 AI+ ports

(Image credit: Future)

While the Prestige lineup is focused on delivering a light, portable chassis, the Summit is a little on the chunkier side to make up for the convertible 360-degree style hinge. But that isn't the only difference between the two laptops.

The MSI Summit also has a slightly flashier look with a contrast stripe on the sides of the keycaps and the edge of the trackpad. Those small details help give the Summit a more "premium" feel compared to the Prestige which is rather stripped down and minimalist.

MSI Summit A16 AI+: Display

MSI Summit A16 AI+

(Image credit: Future)

While IPS displays aren’t generally as vibrant or bright as OLED panels, the MSI Summit A16 AI+ appeared to do well on both fronts, from what we could see at the expo. There was limited glare on the panel and the colors looked deep and expressive.

MSI claims a 100% DCI-P3 rating on the IPS panel, which is certainly at the top range for laptop displays. We’ll have to wait until we can run the Summit A16 AI+ through our test lab for full display analysis, but MSI has a strong track record for high-quality displays.

Naturally it's a touchscreen panel, though I didn’t get a lot of time to test how reactive the touch controls are, but it's rare for touchscreens to have difficulty with inputs these days so that’s unlikely to be an issue on the Summit.

MSI Summit A16 AI+: Performance

This will vary based on the configuration, but any of the Summit A16 AI+ models will handle web browsing, photo and video editing, or any document management tasks you’re likely to encounter during the workday.

As part of Microsoft’s Copilot+ program, it will also have access to a number of AI-powered tasks like intelligent document summaries, image generation, and live captions.

Of course, the final verdict on the Summit’s performance will have to wait until we can get the laptop into our test lab and run through our gamut of benchmarks and hands-on tests to make a full determination.

Outlook

MSI Summit 16 AI+ Evo

(Image credit: Future)

Whether you go for the AMD-powered A16 AI+ or the Intel-powered 16 AI+ Evo, there is plenty of power behind the Summit series of laptops. The biggest difference between the Summit and Prestige lines is the design of the two laptops. The Prestige is a minimalist clamshell laptop, while the Summit is a 2-in-1 convertible.

So if you don’t mind a slightly thicker chassis to accommodate the hinge and you want the flexibility of a convertible design, the Summit is the way to go. Of course, you do have convertible laptop options from other makers, but for a fully accurate 2-in-1 on 2-in-1 comparison, we’ll have to wait until we get our hands on a review unit for a proper determination on what laptop is the Best 2-in-1.

Travel to and from and accommodation at Computex Tapei was paid for by MSI. The company did not see the contents of this article before publication.

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Madeline Ricchiuto
Staff Writer

A former lab gremlin for Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Tom's Hardware, and Tech Radar; Madeline has escaped the labs to join Laptop Mag as a Staff Writer. With over a decade of experience writing about tech and gaming, she may actually know a thing or two. Sometimes. When she isn't writing about the latest laptops and AI software, Madeline likes to throw herself into the ocean as a PADI scuba diving instructor and underwater photography enthusiast.