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. Starting with the specs my unit has Intel’s
new 10th gen Comet Lake 6 core CPU, the i7-10710U, lovely name. Before 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 have 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,
you can find examples and updated prices linked in the description. The Prestige 14 comes in 3 colours, 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 allows 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 measured the panel with the Spyder 5 and got 100% of
sRGB, 93% of NTSC, and 98% of AdobeRGB. At 100% brightness I measured the panel at 578
nits in the center with a 980:1 contrast ratio, so overall the results are better than most
laptop panels that I’ve tested, great colours 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 will vary between laptop and panel. 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 bend all the way back. The F12 key is a shortcut to flip the screen,
this is meant to allow you to quickly push the screen back and flip it to show things
to someone in front of you so you can both see. Despite the lighter weight, it was still possible
to open up with one finger, no problems using 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. Despite the thin screen bezels, the 720p camera
is located above the display in the center, and it has infrared for Windows Hello support. The camera looks about average and the audio
sounds pretty good. This is what typing on the keyboard sounds like, and this is what
it sounds like when we set the fan to max speed, so it doesn’t get that loud and you
can still hear me over the fan. 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 complaining about a lack of 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, and here’s how typing sounds
to give you an idea of what to expect. 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. 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 bottom panel
can be removed by taking out 7 Phillips head screws, though 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 latencymon results looked alright. The 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, and either of the Type-C ports can be used. 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 amount of resources and 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. Let’s take a look at thermals next. Just
to recap how cooling works, air is pulled in underneath the machine, which is raised
up a little when the lid is open and then air gets exhausted through the vents below
the screen. There’s just a single fan inside with two shared heatpipes between CPU and
GPU. Thermals were tested with a 21 degree Celsius
ambient room temperature. At idle both the CPU and GPU were on the warmer side, no real
issue with this, but as you’ll hear later the fans were still spinning in this mode
and this is warmer than most other laptops. These worst case stress tests were done with
the Aida64 CPU stress test with CPU only checked and the Heaven GPU benchmark at max settings
at the same time. I haven’t tested game thermals like I normally do for reasons you’ll
see soon. Temperatures increase as we step up through
the performance modes, as higher CPU power limits become possible, and more power equals
more heat, but also more performance. Although the CPU wasn’t thermal throttling in these
tests, the GPU was thermal throttling in sport mode with the fan on auto, but it was possible
to lower this a fair bit with coolerboost enabled. Interestingly the undervolt didn’t
lower temperatures, instead it seems to try to take advantage of the headroom. We can see this when looking at the clock
speeds, where there was a 400MHz boost simply by applying the undervolt. Despite this change,
we’re still around 400MHz below the maximum 3.9GHz all core turbo boost speed of the i7-10710U.
It was also interesting that the GPU clock speed was highest in ECO mode, where the CPU
was lowest. Its seems that in comfort mode and above, the power is instead directed towards
the CPU, resulting in lower GPU performance at all other levels. Just for comparison,
in the best case stress test result, the Prestige 15 with same specs gets a bit higher to 3.6GHz
on the CPU and 1.5GHz on the GPU. This lower GPU performance will be important later when
we look at the gaming results. This is also seen when looking at the power
levels, the GPU was using the most power in ECO mode, then lower in the others. In a GPU
only stress test, it would run at its 30 watt limit, but with the CPU active we can see
it’s way down. The CPU sees the opposite of this, where each mode raises the power
limit, 5 watts in ECO mode, 15 watts in comfort, then 20 in sport mode, rising to 25 with coolerboost
enabled. CPU performance is much the same in CPU only
workloads, in Cinebench I found it would only run up to 25 watts in performance mode. The
same CPU in the slightly larger Prestige 15 was just under a multicore score of 3000 points
in Sport mode with the same undervolt applied, so just goes to show laptops with the same
specs aren’t equal. Given this is meant to be a content creators
laptop I’ve also tested Adobe Premiere by exporting one of my laptop review videos.
The results were on the lower side when compared to the other machines tested, and the chassis
what quite hot to the touch under this load. Interestingly, the smaller Razer Blade Stealth
13 performed a fair bit better, despite having a quad core CPU, though the 1650 Max-Q was
a little more powerful, but that is also a smaller 13” machine. As for the external temperatures where you’ll
actually be putting your hands, at idle it was warm and already at 40 degrees, for comparison
most other laptops I test are around 30 at idle. With the stress tests in eco mode it
was only a few degrees warmer, comfort mode was even warmer, getting into the low 50s
now. Sport mode with the fans on auto speed was pretty similar, then it was perhaps just
a touch cooler with coolerboost enabled. The left wrist rest in particular felt quite warm
compared to the right side or touchpad, as the body is metal it will absorb heat. Here’s what the fans sound like during these
different tests. At idle in comfort mode the fan was still
audible, and this is in spite of it being about 10 degrees warmer than most other laptops
at idle on the keyboard. Running the stress tests in eco mode was on the quieter side,
and comfort and sport modes were the same, but still quieter when compared to most other
laptops under this test. With coolerboost enabled it’s getting louder and closer to
the average I see with most laptops. Next let’s take a look at gaming performance.
Although this is not designed as a gaming laptop, we should still be able to do some
light gaming on the Nvidia 1650 Max-Q graphics – at least that’s what I thought going into
it. Let’s start out with Dota 2, as it’s not
a particularly resource heavy title. Generally this is a CPU bound test, and low and medium
settings were performing fine, but there was a big hit observed with high and ultra. Fortnite was tested with the replay feature,
and this is a less demanding game that typically runs well on anything, however that was not
the case here, where even low settings failed to offer a 60 FPS average. Overwatch was tested in the practice range,
and the results were also not great for a game that would normally have no trouble running
on this level of hardware, with low settings needed for an above 60 FPS experience. CS:GO was tested with the Ulletical FPS benchmark,
and this is another CPU bound test that usually runs well on pretty much any modern hardware.
While it was possible to hit 100 FPS with all settings at minimum, these results are
still far lower than expected. The Prestige 15 for comparison got more than double this. To put things into perspective, here’s how
the Prestige 14 compares with the Prestige 15, both have the same CPU and GPU, but power
limits are different, so again just goes to show that you can’t judge purely on specs
alone. This seems to be due to the lower GPU clock speeds and power levels that were hit
with the GPU when under combined CPU and GPU workloads, such as gaming, it just doesn’t
seem to handle both well. Like we saw in the stress tests, while gaming the 1650 Max-Q
sat at 15 watts, half of its 30 watt limit that it can achieve when the CPU is idle. Yeah I could have gone down to 720p, but when
you consider that the Prestige 15 has the same specs and it could play much more demanding
games without issue, I don’t think I should have to with these specs. Next let’s also take a look at how this
config of the Prestige 14 compares with other laptops, use these results as a rough guide
only as they were tested at different times with different drivers. In Battlefield 5 I’ve got the Prestige 14
highlighted in red, and due to it having one of the lowest GPUs I’ve tested it’s down
the bottom of the graph. The Prestige 15 above it didn’t do great in this game either,
but it’s still coming out more than double the FPS with same specs. These are the results from Shadow of the Tomb
raider with the built in benchmark at highest settings. Again the results were extremely
poor, and while it may be possible to get playable frame rates at lower settings, the
point here is that it’s essentially got the same specs as the Prestige 15 which is
scoring 3 times higher. These are the results from Far Cry 5 with
ultra settings in the built in benchmark. This time the Prestige 15 with same specs
has more than a 4 times higher average FPS, so the Prestige 14 really isn’t handling
gaming well at all. Now for the benchmarking tools, I’ve tested
Heaven, Valley, and Superposition from Unigine, as well as Firestrike and Timespy from 3DMark,
just pause the video if you want a detailed look at these results. I’ve used Crystal Disk Mark to test the
1TB NVMe M.2 SSD and the speeds were pretty good. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to test
the Micro SD slot as I don’t have cards that size. For updated pricing check the links in the
description, as prices will change over time. At the time of recording in the US the MSI
Prestige 14 with these same specs is going for $1700 USD, 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 $2800
AUD for the config I tested, while the same specs but with 1080p screen instead of 4K
is $500 less, so you’re really paying for that 4K screen. With all of that in mind let’s conclude
by looking at the good and bad aspects of the Prestige 14 laptop. First let’s address the price. There are
of course cheaper 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 enough of a difference 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. 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 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 getting too much hotter they
have to cap the power limits of the device. Thermals weren’t an issue per se, but they’re
being controlled by limiting performance to lower levels. 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 are 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 fingerprint and
IR camera 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. Let me know what you thought about the MSI
Prestige 14 laptop down in the comments, and if you’re new to the channel consider getting
subscribed for future laptop reviews and tech videos like this one.

MSI Prestige 14 Review – Thin and Light, but at What Cost?
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