The MSI Pulse 15 is a more entry-level notebook from the gaming brand which aims to deliver RTX 4060 gaming without breaking the bank. It skimps on a few higher-end features in order to bring down the price tag but at the same time, its 1080p 360Hz display makes for a great addition. Sure, 1080p isn’t the best resolution you can play games at on a notebook but the 15.6-inch panel means everything you throw at it still looks great thanks to the higher PPI.
Watch our MSI Pulse 15 B13V review below
This specific model comes packed with an RTX 4060 with 8GB of RAM and an Intel 13th-Gen Core-i7 13700H processor. You can get other models that come with RTX 4070 GPUs as well as a 1440p 165Hz display which is also great for those who want a bit of variation. The 1080p model is definitely the budget option and for those who want the 360Hz panel. Perhaps a more competitive gamer.
MSI Pulse 15 B13V Design
The MSI Pulse 15 B13V comes in a simple brown box which includes the notebook and the 240W power adapter. The notebook itself features a black and silver exterior shell with the lid including a sort of steel look thanks to its aluminium finish.
The rest of the notebook is black plastic which helps with the weight but doesn’t help with the cheap feel. At the bottom, you’ll find the air vents which are stamped in an asymmetrical pattern. These shapes include holes and vents which are also asymmetrical to the actual holes. As someone who has an eye for lines and shapes, this definitely looked off to me. But it is stylish nonetheless.
On the left-hand side of the MSI Pulse 15 B13V, you’ll find two USB-A ports and the power plug port. One is a USB 3.2 port and another is a USB 2.0 port. Likely just for your wired mouse. On the right-hand side, you’ll then find your audio jack combo port, another USB Type-A 3.2 port and a USB Type-C 3.2 port. There’s also an HDMI 2.1 port which is great to see. Some MSI 40-Series notebooks I have reviewed in the past still came with an HDMI 2.0 port. Lastly, there’s a LAN port.
There isn’t much going on here in terms of the design. The MSI Pulse 15 B13V is your average run-of-the-mill gaming notebook. It weighs 2.3 kg and is 27mm thick. The display takes up a good amount of real estate on the top lid and the keyboard features 4-zone backlighting and also comes with a number-pad – great to see too. The WASD keys are also clear for that whole gamified feel.
The touchpad was a bit tiny for my liking. Touchpads should just be bigger nowadays. They are cheap to make and with Windows gestures being so widely used, it makes sense to have a wider area to move your fingers. I don’t know why we’re still getting these minuscule touchpads.
MSI Pulse 15 B13V Performance
The MSI Pulse 15 B13V definitely comes with everything you’ll need to play games. While you won’t be able to play them at the highest possible settings and resolution, that’s not the aim of this notebook. It is meant to be a portable 1080p piece of hardware and it succeeds there.
Testing out the display, the MSI Pulse 15 B13V comes with a Full HD IPS panel. The viewing angles were quite good and the overall brightness measured 300 nits. Image quality was also great and colours were vibrant. This is thanks to its measured 99% DCI-P coverage and 100% sRGB.
It isn’t the best HD display I have ever seen. It could do with a bit more brightness to help in very light conditions but it gets the job done.
Of course, you’re here for the GPU and CPU performance and I ran a number of tests and benchmarks across some of the latest games and apps. First off we have the performance benchmarks:
When it comes to thermal testing, the MSI Pulse 15 B13V held up as you would expect a 13700 and RTX 4060 to go. I pushed the CPU in tests for over ten minutes and measured a max 86C during benchmarks. These tests saw the CPU running at just under 100W with a max clock count of 3.7GHz single-core and 2.3GHz multi-core. The GPU hit 72C while under intense loads with a core clock of 2280MHz. It maxed out at 110W of power.
So while this notebook didn’t exactly hit the perfect performance at the best possible power usage, it got pretty close without much bottlenecking. The cooling kept things under control and I was impressed by the thermals. The body of the notebook itself reached 49C at its centre keyboard spot which is also okay for gaming.
Fan noise while all of this was going on was noticeable. As expected. I measured 51DB during benchmarks. If you’re playing with the speakers, they will struggle to overpower the whine from the fans as these speakers are generally lacking any sort of punch and clarity. They are basic notebook speakers through and through.
When it comes to battery life, the MSI Pulse 15 B13V includes a 90Wh cell. You’re looking at around 6-8 hours on low brightness with about 4 hours on max brightness while web browsing. If you want to watch videos all day, it will last a good 7-8 hours with 50% brightness too. So while the battery isn’t remarkable, it is capable.
A few more things to note here. The MSI Pulse 15 B13V doesn’t feature an upgradable SSD. There’s only one M.2 slot. You can upgrade the RAM to up to 64GB 5200MHz. If you’re looking at this from a future-proof perspective, that is important to know.
The MSI Pulse 15 B13V doesn’t really have any selling features, to be honest. However, it is generally a great notebook for those looking at gaming outside of your PC who don’t want the highest resolution or don’t have the budget to splurge on a beefier model.
Sure, MSI did skimp a bit here too. The display could be brighter, there’s no SD slot, the SSD upgrade options are limited and there’s no Thunderbolt 4. There is a USB 2.0 instead of just another USB 3.0 port. Clearly, MSI cut down these features to save on production costs. Again, you might need them or might not. But it definitely does gaming and the performance is actually impressive.
Find out more about the MSI Pulse 15 B13V on the official site here.
MSI Pulse 15 B13V Review
The MSI Pulse 15 B13V is a solid 1080p notebook that manages to deliver some great performance and battery life. It makes for a decent entry-level gaming notebook without worrying too much about resolution and frame rate. It is definitely a must-buy for competitive gamers thanks to its 360Hz display.