MSI Prestige 14 Review, Battery Life, Build Quality – The Prestige 14 is a thin and light laptop from MSI. Featuring Intel’s latest 10th gen CPUs. But there are some important things you need to know before considering it. So let’s get into it in this detailed review.
MSI Prestige 14 Design
The MSI Prestige 14 comes in 3 colors, rose pink, pure white, and carbon grey. Which is what I assume mine must be. The metal lid is grey with a subtle MSI logo in the center. While the metal interior is similar. With a blue-trimmed accent around the touchpad. And there was a similar blue trim around the edges of the device.
Overall the build quality felt pretty good as it’s all metal. And all edges and corners were rounded and smooth. The weight is listed at 1.29kg, though mine was a little under this. The total weight increases by almost 400g with the 90-watt power brick and cables for charging included. So definitely on the lighter side. It’s quite a portable 14-inch machine and was less than 1.6cm thick.
The slim width and depth allow it to have 6.5mm thin screen bezels on the sides. The 14” 4K 60Hz IPS-Level screen has a matte finish, and viewing angles were fine. It’s also available with a 1080p option. However, expect different results with that one compared to what I’m about to show.
MSI calibrate the display for you out of the box to Delta-E less than 2. I’ve covered the panel by the Spyder 5 and got 100% of sRGB, 93% of NTSC, and 98% of AdobeRGB. At 100% brightness, I covered the panel at 578 nits in the center by a 980:1 contrast ratio. So overall, the effects are better than most laptop panels that I’ve tested. Great colors and high levels of brightness.
Backlight bleed wasn’t perfect, but when practically looking at darker content with my own eyes, I didn’t notice any issues. But this order varies among laptops and panels. There was some screen flex despite the lid being metal as it’s on the thinner side. The hinges are found out towards the corners. And the screen can turn all the way back. The F12 key will flip the screen. This is meant to allow you to show things to someone in front of you.
Despite the lighter weight, it was still possible to open up with one finger. No difficulties were applying it on my lap despite the lift design. When you open the lid, the back of the screen comes into contact with the surface underneath. Raising the back of the laptop up, putting it on a 5-degree angle. This should help improve airflow for cooling. And also gives the keyboard a slight angle for typing on.
MSI Prestige 14 Specs
Starting with the specs, my unit has Intel’s new 10th gen Comet Lake 6 core CPU. The i7-10710U, lovely name. Before the 10th gen, the U series chips only went up to 4 cores. So this now means we can get 6 cores in thinner and lighter machines. Unlike Ice Lake, though, this is still based on their 14nm architecture.
For the graphics, my unit has an Nvidia GTX 1650 Max-Q. So while not a gaming laptop, I’m expecting it to be capable of playing some lightweight games. I’ve got 16gb of memory in dual channel, a 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD for storage, and a 14” 4K screen. Though it’s also available with 1080p.
For network connectivity, it’s got the latest WiFi 6, so 802.11ax support and Bluetooth 5. It’s too thin for an ethernet port, though. So you’ll become to use a dongle if you need that. The Prestige 14 is also available with some different spec options. Including lower-powered MX250 graphics or Intel integrated graphics.
On the left from the back, there are two USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C ports with DisplayPort support, and both support Thunderbolt 3. followed by status LEDs and Micro SD card slot. On the right from the front, there’s a 3.5mm audio combo jack and two USB 2.0 Type-A ports.
There’s nothing on the back. Other than rubber feet towards the corners, which come into contact with the desk once it’s opened up. While the front just has a subtle indentation for opening the lid. The base of the machine is metal, like the rest. And the pattern up the back half is all holes for air intake.
The keyboard has white backlighting, which illuminates all keys and secondary key functions. Key brightness can be adjusted between 3 levels or turned off by using the F8 key. I saw someone crying about a need for Numpad. But it’s a 14” machine so not sure what you’re expecting.
I liked typing with the keyboard, the subtle 5-degree tilt was nice. It’s got 1.5mm of key travel. There was some keyboard flex while pushing down hard. Likely due to there being fewer contact points between the device and the table when open. But I never had any issues with this during normal use.
The touchpad uses precision drivers, clicks down anywhere you press. And like many of MSI’s other recent laptops, it’s stretched out and is quite wide. In general, I enjoyed the extra space. and I never had any problems with it getting in the way while typing. The times that I did touch it while typing nothing happened, so the palm rejection seemed decent. There’s also a fingerprint scanner in the top left corner of the touchpad. And I found this to work quite fast for unlocking the laptop.
Battery & Speakers
It was a little harder to remove it from the front. Once inside, the battery is right down the front, with the single M.2 storage slot next to that with both SATA or PCIe support and WiFi card next to that. There’s only one fan for cooling, and memory is soldered to the board and cannot be upgraded. The two 2 watt speakers are found on the left and right sides towards the front. They sounded ok, about average, but a bit tinny with minimal bass. They get loud enough at maximum volume. But there was a bit of vibration in the palm rests. And the latency on results looked alright.
The MSI Prestige 14 is powered by a 3 cell 52-watt-hour battery, and I’ve tested it with the screen brightness at 50%, keyboard lighting off, and background apps disabled. Battery life was fairly average; while just watching YouTube, it lasted for 5 hours and 12 minutes. While playing the Witcher 3 with medium settings and Nvidia’s battery boost set to 30 FPS. The battery only lasted for 48 minutes at 30 FPS, one of the lower results.
At this stage, it dipped to 23 FPS, lasting for an hour and 8 minutes in total. The Prestige 14 supports Type-C charging. This is what the included power brick uses. It comes with MSI’s Creator Center software installed, which is basically the control panel to manage it.
By enabling creator mode, we can configure the number of resources and the priority of specific applications to try and optimize performance for them. We can use this to swap between three performance modes, which from lowest to highest are ECO, Comfort, and Sport. We’ve also got the option of leaving fans on auto speed or enabling cooler boost for max speed.
MSI Prestige 14 Price
For updated pricing, you can check it HERE, as prices will change over time. At the time of writing in the US, the MSI Prestige 14 with these same specs is going for USD 1700. Or for $300 less, there’s the same thing with half the storage but 1080p screen. While the i5 model with half the storage is $500 less than the configuration, I tested. Here in Australia, we’re looking at AUD 2800 for the config I tested. while the same specs but with 1080p screen instead of 4K are $500 less. So you’re really paying for that 4K screen.
Let’s assume by staring at the good and bad features of the Prestige 14 laptop. First, let’s address the price. There are, of course, more affordable and more powerful laptops available. But they’re typically going to be larger and heavier. You’re definitely paying more for a smaller and lighter machine with fair build quality here. If you’re willing to go just $100 more, you can get the same specs in the slightly larger Prestige 15. which, as we’ve seen, actually performs well compared to the Prestige 14.
There’s plenty of a variation for me to pay a bit more to get the 15. but that’s me, let me know if you want to see a full detailed comparison between the two. The performance was the next major issue I had with the Prestige 14. when using the CPU and GPU together, the GPU, in particular, seems to be negatively affected. Which significantly lowered gaming performance. Basically, it doesn’t really seem to pass 15 watts. I guess in an attempt to keep it getting too hot.
While not a gaming laptop, I think the game tests are a good way of seeing the practical performance. And we did also observe this resulting in lower Adobe Premiere performance compared to other similarly specced machines. My guess is to prevent it from getting too much hotter. They have to cap the power limits of the device. At first, I thought this just might be a constraint of the smaller 14-inch footprint. But then remembered the smaller Razer Blade Stealth 13 beats it in Premiere exporting and gaming.
But to be fair, the Stealth was a little over 100g heavier despite being smaller. So it seems like MSI is prioritizing the more portable footprint at the cost of performance. Due to the smaller size, there’s also limited upgradeability. Pretty much all you can change is the WiFi card and the single M.2 storage drive. So make sure you buy it with the amount of memory you need from the start.
Outside of those issues, though, with the 4K screen, it does look great. And two Thunderbolt ports with Type-C charging is nice to have. Though a bit strange to see USB 2.0 at this price point. Battery life was pretty average, the wide touchpad offers plenty of space to move around. And having both fingerprints and IR cameras to unlock was convenient.
If you’re considering the Prestige 14, I’d suggest looking at the slightly larger Prestige 15 instead. as the performance was just so much better despite having the same specs. The battery is larger, there’s no USB 2, and memory isn’t soldered to the board. All for just $100 extra and 1 inch larger. I’d only consider the Prestige 14 if you really need to prioritize smaller and lighter at the expense of performance and some features. If you’re doing less resource-heavy work, then I doubt you’d ever notice any problems.