MSI Prestige 14 review: A fast, but flawed laptop


msi prestige 14 review olympus digital camera

MSI Prestige 14

MSRP $1,499.00

“The MSI Prestige 14 is mighty fast, but its battery life and old-school design hold it back from greatness.”

Pros

  • Excellent performance
  • Great keyboard
  • Display has superior contrast
  • Solid build quality
  • Decent entry-level gaming

Cons

  • 16:9 display
  • Poor battery life

There are so many 14-inch laptops lately that it takes a lot for a new machine to stand out — especially if you throw the 14-inch MacBook Pro into the mix. You need excellent performance, a stellar display, great battery life, or some superior combination of features and functionality.

MSI’s Prestige 14 is an example of a laptop that’s advanced in some areas but behind the curve in others. For example, it offers both 28-watt Intel 12th-gen CPUs and a discrete GPU (albeit the entry-level Nvidia RTX 3050), while being saddled with an old-school 16:9 display.

I reviewed the high-end configuration of the Prestige 14, coming in at $1,499 for a Core i7-1260P and the RTX 3050. I found it to be a mixed bag with both excellent performance and poor battery life. With competition this tight among the best laptops you can buy, the MSI Prestige 14 just doesn’t do quite enough to stand out from the pack.

Design

An angled view of the lid on the MSI Prestige 14.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The Prestige 14 sports a straightforward design, with simple lines and angles and zero bling adding any additional style to the all-black chassis. Even the MSI logo on the lid is dark and hard to read. Given its simplicity, it’s still an attractive laptop. Only the plastic display bezels detract from a premium feel. Look around and you can find more elaborate designs, like the Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 7 convertible 2-in-1 that sports rounded chrome edges and a stunning aesthetic. But most laptops I’ve reviewed lately have been minimalist in their designs, and the Prestige 14 fits right in.

It’s constructed of all aluminum, and you have to try hard to get it to bend, twist, or flex. It’s not quite as solid as the Yoga 9i Gen 7 or the Dell XPS 15, but it’s close enough. The hinge allows opening the lid with one hand, but it holds the display firmly in place, and it props up the keyboard deck at an aggressive angle for better airflow and more comfortable typing. It’s a feature that’s quickly gone out of fashion in modern laptops.

The Prestige 14 enjoys thin bezels on the sides, reasonably thin on top, and a bit thick on the bottom chin. Given the 16:9 display aspect ratio, it’s slightly wider than other modern laptops with 16:10 displays but it’s not quite as deep. Compared to the Yoga 9i Gen 7, for example, it’s just a fraction of an inch wider and almost half an inch shallower. That’s not necessarily an advantage, though, as taller displays provide more space on the palm rest for larger touchpads.

The Prestige 14 is 0.63 inches thick and weighs 4.64, making it slightly thicker but significantly heavier than the Yoga 9i Gen 7 that’s 0.60 inches and 3.09 pounds. Despite MSI listing identical dimensions for the MSI Summit E14 Flip, the 2-in-1 is lighter at 3.61 pounds.

Ports

Connectivity is a bit limited for a 14-inch laptop. It features two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 support, a single USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a microSD card reader. I’d like to see HDMI on machines like this one, and maybe even a second USB-A port.

Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2, however, do provide up-to-date wireless connectivity.

Performance

A straight on view of the MSI Prestige 14's display and keyboard
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

My review unit used the Intel 12th-gen Core i7-1260P, a 28-watt, 12-core (four Performance and eight Efficient), 16-thread CPU. We’ve reviewed several laptops with this chip, most of them 14-inch models, and it’s been a strong productivity performer with an increase over Intel’s 11th-gen CPUs in CPU-intensive creative tasks. The Prestige 14 also equipped an Nvidia RTX 3050 GPU.

The Prestige 14 performed well in our benchmarks. I used the MSI Center Pro utility to switch between balanced and performance modes, and I recorded both results in the table below. The switch to performance mode was more impactful in some benchmarks than others, and there wasn’t the extremely wide performance swing that I saw in the MSI Summit E14 Flip. I noticed some minor throttling in performance mode but very little in balanced mode, and overall, the laptop’s thermal design was effective. I noticed that the palm rest and bottom chassis remained warm even when the laptop was idle, exceeding 100 degress F. But I didn’t notice either location getting particularly hot during benchmarks.

MSI’s utility includes a setting that automatically matches performance to the task and a feature that measures the ambient noise and ensures that the fans don’t get loud enough to exceed it. I didn’t officially test these features.

The Prestige 14 is the fastest laptop with this processor we’ve tested.

Like the Summit E14 Flip, the Prestige 14’s single-core performance was slightly behind the rest of the field, but its multi-core performance led the pack. It took first place in Geekbench 5 and Cinebench R23, and in performance mode, it came in second to the Summit E14 Flip in our Handbrake test that encodes a 420MB video as H.265. The Prestige 14 also took first place in the PCMark 10 Complete benchmark, with the highest score we’ve seen from a Core i7-1260P.

I also ran the Pugetbench Premiere Pro benchmark that runs in a live version of Adobe’s Premiere Pro through a comprehensive series of video editing tasks. The benchmark can use discrete GPUs, and I was curious to see how well the RTX 3050 would perform. It did pretty well, scoring 553 in balanced mode and 583 in performance mode.

Even though that’s below the 700+ we usually see with laptops running 45-watt 12th-gen CPUs and better graphics, performance-wise, it certainly makes for a decent content creation machine for a starter. Certainly better than smaller laptops with only Intel Iris Xe graphics.

In fact, the Prestige 14 is the fastest laptop with this processor we’ve tested. It can handle demanding productivity workflows with ease, and it can tackle some creative tasks as well.

Geekbench
(single / multi)
Handbrake
(seconds)
Cinebench R23
(single / multi)
PCMark 10
Complete
MSI Prestige 14
(Core i7-1260P)
Bal: 1,505 / 10,041
Perf: 1,477 / 10,604
Bal: 114
Perf: 97
Bal: 1,553 / 8,734
Perf: 1,567 / 10,450
6,201
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7
(Core i7-1260P)
Bal: 1,650 / 8,080
Perf: 1,621 / 8,544
Bal: 116
Perf: 120
Bal: 1,587 / 7,682
Perf: 1,611 / 8,078
5,537
MSI Summit E14 Flip
(Core i7-1260P)
Bal: 1,485 / 7,732
Perf: 1,472 / 10,276
Bal: 152
Perf: 94
Bal: 1,536 / 6,793
Perf: 1,536 / 9,124
4,910
Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 Gen 7
(Core i7-1260P)
Bal: 1,717 / 9,231
Perf: 1,712 / 10,241
Bal: 130
Perf: 101
Bal: 1,626 / 7,210
Perf: 1,723 / 8,979
5,760
Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1
(Core i7-1255P)
Bal: 1,703 / 6,520
Perf: 1,685 / 6,791
Bal: 153
Perf: 141
Bal: 1,729 / 6,847
Perf: 1,773 / 7,009
5,138
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
(Ryzen 7 6800U)
Bal: 1,417 / 6,854
Perf: 1,404 / 7,223
Bal: 112
Perf: 111
Bal: 1,402 / 8,682
Perf: 1,409 / 8,860
5,647
HP Spectre x360 14
(Core i7-1165G7)
Bal: 1,214 / 4,117
Perf: N/A
Bal: 236
Perf: 189
Bal: 1,389 / 3,941
Perf: 1,404 / 4,847
4,728

The Prestige 14 did well in the 3DMark Time Spy test, almost matching the Dell XPS 15 with an RTX 3050 Ti. However, in Fortnite, it managed just 23 frames per second (fps) at 1080p and Epic graphics. That’s only a few fps faster than Intel’s Iris Xe graphics and less than half the fps that the XPS 15 achieved. I ran Assassin’s Creed Valhalla at 1080p and ultra high graphics, and the Prestige 14 hit 20 fps (29 fps in performance mode).

That’s similar to the MSI Summit E16 Flip with an RTX 3050 that hit 19 fps (17 fps in performance mode). The MSI Prestige can be counted on to run modern titles at 1080p if you turn the graphics down far enough — but it’s far from a dedicated gaming laptop.

3DMark
Time Spy
Fortnite
(1080p/1200p Epic)
MSI Prestige 14
(RTX 3050)
Bal: 4,438
Perf: 4,451
Bal: 23
Perf: 26
Dell XPS 15 9520
(RTX 3050 Ti)
Bal: 4,470
Perf: 4,520
Bal: 57
Perf: 56
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7
(Intel Iris Xe)
Bal: 1,899
Perf: 1,886
Bal: 17 fps
Perf: 16 fps
MSI Summit E14 Flip
(Intel Iris Xe)
Bal: 1,740
Perf: 1,959
Bal: 15 fps
Perf: 19 fps
Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1
(Intel Iris Xe)
Bal: 1,492
Perf: 1,502
Bal: fps
Perf: fps
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
(Radeon graphics)
Bal: 2,110
Perf: 2,213
Bal: 19 fps
Perf: 19 fps
HP Spectre x360 14
(Intel Iris Xe)
Bal: 1,457
Perf: 1,709
Bal: 19 fps
Perf: 23 fps

Display

The MSI Prestige 14 display.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The most disappointing thing about the Prestige 14’s display is its old-school 16:9 aspect ratio. It’s weird to use a premium laptop with a display that’s not taller at 16:10 or 3:2. That said, out of the box, the panel looked reasonably bright and colorful with deep blacks for an IPS display. It runs at only Full HD (1920 x 1080), so it isn’t as sharp as many other 14-inch laptops I’ve reviewed lately. There’s also a 14-inch Full HD display option with a low-power panel that I didn’t review.

When I applied my colorimeter to the display, the results were average at best with a couple of exceptions. First, the panel was just bright enough at 317 nits, exceeding our 300-nit threshold for displays that can overcome typical ambient lighting. Colors were average for a premium display at 97% of sRGB and 72% of AdobeRGB, but accuracy was a disappointing Delta-E of 3.67 (less than 2.0 is good enough for creative work).

This display isn’t ideal for creators.

The one bright spot was the contrast ratio, which came in at 1,820:1 — greatly exceeding our preferred 1,000:1 ratio and high for an IPS display. As you can see from the tablet below, this was mostly a lower-quality panel compared to competitive laptops.

The MSI Prestige 14’s display is good enough for productivity work, especially for anyone who works with black text on a white background. It isn’t ideal for creators, though, with too narrow and inaccurate colors. That’s too bad, as this machine has the performance to back up that kind of work.

Brightness
(nits)
Contrast sRGB gamut AdobeRGB gamut Accuracy DeltaE
(lower is better)
MSI Prestige 14
(IPS)
317 1,820:1 97% 72% 3.67
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7
(IPS)
386 1,900:1 100% 81% 0.78
MSI Summit E14 Flip
(IPS)
516 1,320:1 100% 89% 1.10
Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 Gen 7
(OLED)
406 28,380:1 100% 95% 0.87
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro
(IPS)
369 1,340:1 100% 80% 1.65
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon
(OLED)
397 27,590:1 100% 96% 0.88

Two downward-firing speakers provide the audio with DTS support. They put out sufficient volume to fill a small office, with clear mids and highs and little bass. Nothing to write home about, but they’re good enough for the occasional YouTube video and Netflix show.

For anything more involved, you’ll want a good pair of headphones for music and long binging sessions. It sounds measly compared to laptops like the Dell XPS 15 and MacBook Pro 14-inch.

Keyboard, touchpad, and webcam

Close up on the MSI Prestige 14's keyboard.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The keyboard has large keycaps and excellent key spacing, occupying almost all available space. The switches are light and springy, with a comfortable bottoming action that’s precise and responsive. It’s an excellent keyboard that ranks up with the best Windows versions, including Dell’s XPS and HP’s Spectre lines.

The touchpad is very wide and narrow, giving it plenty of horizontal surface area. It’s an unusual size, but it works. The surface was comfortable for swiping, with Microsoft Precision drivers for reliable Windows 11 multitouch gesture support. However, the surface was also a tiny bit loose and made a faint noise when tapped, and the button clicks were a little loud.

The display isn’t touch-enabled, and that’s disappointing. As far as I can tell, there’s no option for a touch display on this model.

Close up on the MSI Prestige 14's webcam.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Windows 11 Hello passwordless support is provided by a fingerprint reader embedded in the touchpad, which is my least favorite location for that sensor. It does, however, include facial recognition via an infrared camera. Both methods worked quickly and consistently.

The webcam is just 720p, and its image quality was just okay. Many premium laptops have switched to 1080p webcams, so the Prestige 14 is behind the curve here again.

Battery life

The bottom left corner of the MSI Prestige 14's screen.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The Prestige 14 has 52 watt-hours of battery capacity, which isn’t a lot for a 14-inch laptop. I’ve not seen any indication that the Core i7-1260P is a particularly efficient CPU compared to Intel’s 11th-gen, but the Prestige is also equipped with a Full HD display that shouldn’t be too power-hungry.

As it turns out, battery life was disappointing. In our web browsing test that cycles through a handful of popular and complex websites, the Prestige 14 managed just five hours. That’s well below average and at the bottom of our comparison group, most of which had higher resolution displays and, in the case of the Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 7 and Asus ZenBook S 13 OLED, much more demanding OLED panels.

It performed even worse, relatively speaking, in our video test that loops a local Full HD Avengers trailer, hitting just six hours. Most laptops last 10 hours or longer in this test, and it’s surprising to see the Prestige 14 perform so poorly given its low-res display. I ran the test twice with a reboot in between just to make sure there wasn’t some rogue task running in the background, and I got the same result. It’s possible that there’s a display driver or other issue at play, and it’s something MSI will want to look into.

Finally, I ran the PCMark 10 Applications battery test, the best indication of productivity longevity. The Prestige 14 hit seven hours in this test, which is less than the 10-hour or so average across all the laptops we’ve tested and the lowest among our comparison group.

Overall, battery life is disappointing. You’re unlikely to get close to a full day’s work even running a simple productivity workflow. Push the CPU hard, and you might not make it to lunchtime.

Web browsing Video PCMark 10
Applications
MSI Prestige 14
(Core i7-1260P)
5 hours, 11 minutes 6 hours, 2 minutes 7 hours, 2 minutes
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7
(Core i7-1260P)
10 hours, 10 minutes 16 hours, 12 minutes 10 hours, 33 minutes
MSI Summit E14 Flip
(Core i7-1260P)
7 hours, 23 minutes 9 hours, 0 minutes 7 hours, 54 minutes
Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 Gen 7
(Core i7-1260P)
9 hours, 10 minutes 12 hours, 45 minutes 8 hours, 32 minutes
Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1
(Core i7-1255P)
6 hours, 42 minutes 11 hours, 6 minutes 8 hours, 43 minutes
 Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
(Ryzen 7 6800U)
8 hours, 4 minutes 13 hours, 13 minutes N/A

Price and configurations

MSI has a wide range of configurations available with the Prestige 14. My $1,499 review unit was the most expensive model, equipped with the Core i7-1260P, 16GB of LPDDR4 RAM, a 512GB PCIe SSD, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050, and the 14-inch 16:9 Full HD IPS display. The least expensive model you can buy is $929 for a Core i7-1240P, 8GB of LPDDR4 RAM, a 512GB PCIe SSD, Intel Iris Xe graphics, and a 14-inch 16:9 Full HD low-power IPS display. Several configurations offer up to 32GB of RAM (only with Iris Xe graphics), a Core i7-1280P, and a 1TB PCIe SSD. These prices start at the midrange and end up as premium. They compare to the Yoga 9i Gen 7 at $1,449 for a Core i7-1260P, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, a 14-inch Full HD+ display, and Intel Iris Xe graphics. The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon is another competitor that comes in with a $1,220 model with an AMD Ryzen 7 5800U CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 14-inch 16:10 2.8K (2880 x 1800) OLED display.

Our take

The MSI Prestige 14 offers strong productivity performance and can tackle some creative tasks as well. It doesn’t last long on a charge, though and it has a few old-school design elements. It has the basics covered, even if it’s far from the most cutting-edge laptop.

Are there any alternatives?

I’ve reviewed several excellent 14-inch laptops in the last few months, most convertible 2-in-1s. The best has been the Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 7, which provides strong performance, a stunning aesthetic, a solid build quality, and a superior display.

I haven’t mentioned the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon in this review because it’s based on the previous generation Ryzen 7 5800U processor. However, it’s a well-built and speedy laptop with a 90Hz OLED display that’s still worth consideration.

Finally, you can’t ignore Apple’s MacBook Pro 14, which is the best 14-inch laptop if you’re not married to Windows. It offers the usual MacBook quality, Apple’s super-fast M1 Pro or M1 Max CPU, and class-leading battery life. It’s expensive but worth it.

How long will it last?

The Prestige 14 is durable enough to last for years of typical use, and it’s equipped with all the right components for years of productive service. The standard one-year warranty is disappointing, as usual.

Should you buy it?

Yes, if you need the best productivity performance but don’t need a laptop that will last all day on a single charge.

Editors’ Recommendations








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