For one reason or another, the Bravo 15 is one of MSI’s most controversial laptops. We are not going to take that into consideration, because we want our review to be as objective as possible. So what is this laptop actually?

Well, this is one of the first laptops on the market to feature entirely AMD hardware. It comes with Ryzen 4000H processors. This is why MSI says that this is a 7nm technology laptop. While it’s not wrong, it is nothing more than a marketing gimmick, since 7nm by itself means nothing in the gaming world – more on that, later.

However, what is particularly interesting in our opinion, is that you get this laptop with a choice of (for now) two AMD Radeon graphics cards. They are the RX 5300M and the RX 5500M. And since laptops equipped with AMD dedicated graphics were really scarce through the last couple of years, it is exciting to see how the RDNA architecture performs inside of laptops.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/msi-bravo-15-a4ddx-a4dcx/

Contents


Specs Sheet

What’s in the box?

Inside the box, we found some paper manuals, the laptop itself, and a 180W power brick.

Design and construction

Interestingly, the MSI Bravo 15 uses the same chassis and body as the GF65 Thin. This means that its lid is made out of aluminum, while the base is plastic. Expectedly, the thickness is the same as the latter – 21.7mm, although the weight is a bit more – 1.96 kg for the Bravo 15 and 1.86 kg for the GF65. In terms of design, we see a low-key execution with the only aggressive-looking parts are the sporty pseudo-grills in the front. Also, it features a differently-styled logo on the back.

Opening the lid with a single hand is possible. On the other side, it is quite twisty, but nothing too dramatic. Thankfully, the bezels on the side, and the presence of a Web camera above the matte display, means that it looks fresh, and is usable in the 2020-2021 situation.

Now, the chassis, itself, is not very strong. However, despite the fact that it produces some noises when you twist it, we found the keyboard deck to be pretty resistive. Speaking of the keyboard, as far as we know, it will only come with a single-color red backlight – something standard for most budget gaming laptops. It lacks a NumberPad, but this means there is more space for the rest of the board, thus resulting in relatively large keycaps.

Unfortunately, we feel that the travel of the keys is a bit short, which is not ideal for gaming. Yet again, the feedback is clicky, and the Arrow keys are big enough, which is great.

There is one thing that bugs us guys. About half a year ago, when we tested the GF65 Thin 10Sx, we found that it has a huge dead zone in the touchpad. There were two options – either our unit had an issue, or the entire lineup was poised with this problem. Now that we have a different laptop, although with basically the same parts, and body – we can confirm, that it has the same issue, and the problem is entirely into MSI’s courtyard. In fact, the empty space between a click, and the start of the movement is so big, that you can definitely get a sense that the touchpad, itself, is not working as intended.

We really hope that the company is going to fix this in future revisions, although we doubt that the Bravo 15 will get a fix any time soon.

Next, let’s turn the laptop upside down, and check the situation on the bottom panel. As you can see, there is a formidable ventilation grill. However, there is no access to undisturbed air to the fans. This may result in two outcomes (possibly at the same time). First, the cool air is going to be guided above the heating elements, before it reaches the fans, which will reduce the temperature of the bottom panel, itself. Secondly, the air that would have been cool has now taken some of the heat away from the heat pipes and is thus warmer than it would be, and this will result in a worse thermal efficiency of the entire assembly. You will see if we’re right or wrong in the “Temperature and comfort” segment of this review.

Nevertheless, it is good to see that there are three heat spreaders, and the warm air escapes the chassis from two vents on the back, and one on the left side of the machine. As for the speakers, they can be found in their usual position – in the front corners of the bottom panel.

Ports

On the left, you’ll only see the charging plug and an HDMI connector. This means that most of the I/O is on the right – there, you will find a lock slot, an RJ-45 connector, two USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 1) ports, two USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) ports, and an audio jack.

Display quality

MSI Bravo 15 has an IPS panel, model number AUO B156HAN08.4 (AUOAF90). Its diagonal is 15.6″ (39.62 cm), and the resolution 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).

It has comfortable viewing angles. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.

The measured maximum brightness of 284 nits in the middle of the screen and 286 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 8%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 6320K – slightly warmer 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 – 1240:1.

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 Bravo 15’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 51% 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 Bravo 15 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 = 27 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.

The light coming from MSI Bravo 15’s screen doesn’t flicker at any brightness level. Thankfully, this enables you to play for extended periods of time, without the risk of further damaging your eyes and brain.

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.

Conclusion

MSI Bravo 15’s IPS panel has a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, and a good contrast ratio. However, it covers only 51% of the sRGB color gamut, and its 60Hz and response time are not something gamers would fall for.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for MSI Bravo 15 configurations with 15.6″ FHD IPS AUO B156HAN08.4 (AUOAF90).

*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 [email protected]

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 - screen profile

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 - screen profile

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 - screen profile

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.

All

Sound

MSI Bravo 15’s speakers sound pretty good. They are not loud, but the low, mid, and high tones are clear of deviations.

Drivers

All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://www.msi.com/Laptop/support/Bravo-15-A4DX

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with 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. This notebook’s 51Wh battery lasts for 9 hours and 10 minutes of Web browsing, and 8 hours and 25 minutes of video playback.

CPU options

This notebook can be purchased with either the AMD Ryzen 5 4600H or the Ryzen 7 4800H.


MSI Bravo 15 (A4DDx / A4DCx) CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the MSI Bravo 15 (A4DDx / A4DCx) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which MSI Bravo 15 (A4DDx / A4DCx) model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different CPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / CPU.


GPU options

And GPU-wise, the options include the RX 5300M with 3GB of GDDR6 memory and the RX 5500M with 4GB of GDDR6 VRAM.


Gaming tests

rise-of-the-tomb-raider

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 5 4500H (45W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
MSI Bravo 15 3.66 GHz (B+22%) @ 86°C 3.48 GHz (B+16%) @ 83°C 3.30 GHz (B+10%) @ 85°C
Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-44) 3.40 GHz (B+13%) @ 86°C 3.22 GHz (B+7%) @ 85°C 3.07 GHz (B+2%) @ 80°C
Lenovo Legion 5 (15) 3.71 GHz (B+24%) @ 86°C 3.55 GHz (B+18%) @ 85°C 3.44 GHz (B+15%) @ 80°C

Here, the CPU actually doesn’t perform badly. And the temperatures seem okay, although a bit higher than its two opponents.

Real-life gaming

AMD Radeon RX 5300M GPU frequency/ Core temp/ Hot Spot (after 2 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp/ Hot Spot (after 30 min)
MSI Bravo 15 1462 MHz @ 69°C @ 74 1463 MHz @ 71°C @ 78

Interestingly, AMD has put two temperature sensors on their RX 5300M – one for the core, and one dubbed – Hot Spot. If we look only at the core temps, we see a very well maintained temperature, especially considering the stable clocks. However, the hotspot of the die reached 78°C at the end, and sometimes it shot above 80°C during the test.

Gaming comfort

After half an hour of gaming, the laptop became a bit loud, and the top part of the keyboard warmed up considerably. Additionally, the rest of the keyboard remained above 40°C, but thankfully the palm rest area was pretty cool. As was the bottom panel, if we have to be honest.

Verdict

Although we were really excited during the tests of the Radeon RX 5300M, there was something that constantly put us off. Can you guess? Yep, the drivers. Every once and a while, and especially in the two Tomb Raider titles (the Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and the Rise of the Tomb Raider), an error popped up, explaining that our drivers have crashed. Unfortunately, this was the latest driver, downloaded from AMD’s page, and considering that this GPU isn’t exactly new, such issues should have been long fixed.

Nevertheless, we saw it perform somewhere in the league of the GTX 1650. Despite the fact that the Radeon was able to beat the latter some benchmarks, the gaming tests produced different results. Especially in the highest settings. Unfortunately, it was not aided by the cooling solution, which was not able to maintain the performance. Considering the weird choices on the bottom panel vents, as well as the relatively high 85W TGP for a graphics card in this class, it seems like the MSI Bravo 15 in this configuration (or any) is not a very sensible choice.

Its IPS panel (AUO B156HAN08.4 (AUOAF90)) has a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, and a good contrast ratio. However, it covers only 51% of the sRGB color gamut, and its 60Hz and response time are not something gamers would fall for.

On the bright side, this notebook’s battery life seemed really solid – we got 9 hours and 10 minutes of Web browsing, and 8 hours and 25 minutes of video playback. Also, there are two RAM SODIMM slots, which support up to 64GB memory in dual-channel mode, and have two M.2 slots at your disposal. However, MSI still puts its “Factory seal” stickers on one of the screws of the bottom panel. And in some regions, removing or damaging this sticker may void your warranty.

At the end of the day, we can’t recommend the Bravo 15. The issues around the touchpad, with its huge dead zone, as well as the insufficient cooling solution, and the troublesome drivers just make us go for something else. Even the fact that this is one of the least expensive gaming laptops on the market isn’t capable of changing our minds. Instead, we would prefer the slightly more expensive ASUS TUF A15 (FA506), or the Legion 5 (15) equipped with the same Ryzen 5 4600H, but sporting the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650.

Nevertheless, we would love to provide you more tests of the RDNA 1 laptop graphics cards, so stay tuned, as we try to snatch even more units.

Pros

  • Priced adequately
  • Good keyboard with decent travel, clicky feedback, and an optional RGB backlight
  • Up to 64GB of memory in dual-channel + two M.2 slots for storage
  • Wi-Fi 6 support
  • 144Hz display option
  • Doesn’t use PWM for brightness adjustment (AUO B156HAN08.4)

Cons

  • Lacks an SD card reader and Thunderbolt support
  • Covers only 51% of sRGB (AUO B156HAN08.4)
  • Gets pretty warm on the outside
  • Drivers feel unfinished
  • Huge dead zone on the trackpad clicking mechanism

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/msi-bravo-15-a4ddx-a4dcx/





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