In the world of business notebooks, portability is king – with more people either working remotely or splitting their time between the home and office, consumers want a computer that they can carry around without straining a back muscle, yet still has the power they need for whatever the job can throw at them.
Enter the MSI Prestige 14 Evo: a svelte, lightweight business notebook with 12th-gen Intel processor. Coming in at a hair under 1.3 kilos, it’s certainly not chore to lift – but can it carry its own weight in terms of performance?
Design and Features
Straight away, you can tell that this notebook means business. It’s super stylish, coming in your choice of Carbon Gray or Bluestone, with a lovely matte feel and the MSI logo embossed on the lid; the grille for cooling is tucked away on the bottom.
The keyboard has backlit white illumination with three brightness settings (not counting “off”), and is just nice to type on in general – the keys are satisfyingly clicky and feel good under the fingers, if that sort of thing concerns you. I typed this whole review on it, in fact, and never hated doing it. Good news for the ergonomically-conscious as well – when open, the keyboard sits at a five-degree angle, making it comfortable for typing and reducing strain on your wrists, as well as allowing for better airflow underneath.
Below the keyboard is a touchpad with built-in fingerprint reader in the upper left-hand corner. The touchpad is responsive, and nice and wide as well, so you’ll always be assured of having enough room for all your navigational needs (especially considering that the display is not a touchscreen); speaking of the fingerprint reader, Windows Hello is also enabled if you prefer facial recognition.
The Prestige 14 Evo is definitely a notebook for those on the go: it’s only 15.9mm thick and weighs just 1.29kg, meaning it ranks up there with the very thinnest and lightest laptops I’ve ever come across. That said, this does come with a few sacrifices in terms of ports: while there are two Thunderbolt ports, either of which can be used for charging, there’s no HDMI out; it also has one USB-A port, a microSD reader, and a 3.5mm combo jack, and that’s about it. Be prepared to hook up a hub or an adapter if you want to plug in more than a couple of things at a time. Wireless connectivity is good, though – the 14 Evo comes with Killer ax Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth v5.2 built-in.
One more feature worth mentioning, as this is after all a business notebook: the built-in webcam is another 720p affair. I’m not sure what it actually looks like in use, since the one on our review unit didn’t appear to be working (which I’m willing to chalk up to the specific unit rather than the product in general), but we really should be going beyond 720p in this day and age where remote and hybrid work is so prevalent.
Display and Sound
The Prestige 14 Evo comes equipped with a low-power 14-inch 1080p IPS display, and while it was crisp and sharp, I’ll admit I’ve seen smoother: scrolling seemed a little choppy despite the 60Hz refresh rate. There also seemed to be a slight warm cast, at least to my eyes, and colors just didn’t seem to pop like they do on other screens – definitely on the dim side, even at maximum brightness. It’s not the worst laptop display I’ve used, but I’ve certainly used better.
In a similar vein: you’re probably not buying a business notebook for the audio, and that’s good, because the audio is definitely not what you’d want to buy this notebook for. The two bottom-firing 2W speakers are very tinny, and just unpleasant to listen to – I definitely wouldn’t want to get through a whole movie, podcast, or TV show on these. Thankfully the trusty 3.5mm headphone jack, whose continued absence is lamented on mobile phones, is still alive and well on notebooks (at least for now).
For such a light notebook, the 14 Evo punches solidly above its weight class in terms of silicon, boasting a 12th-generation Intel Core i7 processor with Iris Xe graphics. It comes with up to 32GB RAM; our review unit had 16GB, which seemed more than enough for what it is. You probably won’t be doing intensive 3D modeling, but it will handle Zoom meetings, Photoshop, and other day-to-day activities just fine.
Power is supplied by a three-cell, 53.8-watt-hour battery. While you won’t be running for the charger in a hurry, I will note that over about four hours of relatively light activity – including some time left to sit unattended – the notebook did chew through a little under 30% of the total battery capacity , so you may want to keep an eye on the power if you’re looking to do more intensive work.
Another plus: heat seems to be largely a non-factor. I was able to get through a full afternoon, including video streaming, without the temperature rising appreciably or even hearing the fan kick in once; the airflow from that ergonomic hinge appears to do wonders.
There’s a lot of good in the MSI Prestige 14 Evo A12M – the low weight, the processing power, the gorgeous design – but its flaws do let it down. With a better display, better audio, better webcam, and maybe some improvement to the battery, this could be a truly great business notebook. As it stands, it’s certainly one worth considering, and you could do a lot worse at the price point if you can look past these little niggles – but it wouldn’t be my first choice.
- Ultra-lightweight, thin, and easy to carry
- Beautiful, stylish and business-oriented design
- Great keyboard with ergonomic hinge
- Stays cool despite extended use
- Latest 12th-generation Intel Core i7 processor with Iris Xe graphics
- Up to 32GB RAM
- Good wireless connectivity
- Disappointing display and audio
- 720p webcam
- Limited physical port selection
- Battery could be beefier