Speedy processor with lots of RAM
Spacious, reliable keyboard and trackpad
Mediocre battery life
The Prestige’s battery run time is lower than what’s expected out of an Intel Evo-certified laptop. Its speakers work fine for meetings, but they put a harsh, tinny filter over any tunes you bump throughout the day. Its 14-inch, 1080p display is easily overpowered by bright light, and though we’re glad MSI included a fingerprint scanner on the laptop, its placement on the trackpad is a bit strange.
About the MSI Prestige 14 Evo
Here are the specs of the unit we tested:
- Processor: Intel Core i7-1185G7
- Operating System: Windows 10 Pro
- Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
- Memory: 16GB LPDDR4X
- Display: 1920 x 1080 14-inch screen
- Battery: 3-cell 52WHr battery with 65W USB-C charger
- Ports: USB-A 2.0 Gen 1; 2 x USB-C 4.0 Gen 2; 3.5mm headphone jack
- Connectivity: Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX201; Bluetooth 5.1
- Included Accessories: Laptop sleeve
- Weight: 2.8 pounds
- Dimensions: 12.55 x 8.46 x 0.63 inches
- Warranty: One-year limited warranty
What we like
Fit for heavy workloads
MSI’s Prestige Evo 14 packs plenty of speed to handle some of the most strenuous tasks. Along with 16GB of RAM, it’s equipped with Intel’s 11th-gen Core i7-1185G7 processor, which delivers slightly slower speeds than Apple’s M1 MacBook Air, but faster speeds than the Intel Core i5-1135G7 in HP’s Spectre 14t. Throughout a day’s worth of Slack chats, Zoom meetings, editing and writing in Google Docs—a few detours to YouTube—the Prestige Evo 14 managed to keep up without getting too hot or lagging under the heavy load.
If you’re in need of a photo or video editing powerhouse, you’ll be in good hands with the Prestige, too. We tested its performance in both Handbrake (an open-source video transcoder) and Blender (open-source 3D graphics software) with the Prestige performing well in both tests. The Prestige successfully compiled a 6GB 4K video in just under 15 minutes in Handbrake, and rendered Blender’s BMW demo file in just over seven minutes.
Fast specs hardly matter if your laptop is too hefty to tag along on your daily trek. Luckily, this 14-inch laptop is among the lightest laptops we’ve tested at just about 2.8 lbs. Whether you’re carrying it across your apartment for a bit of couch browsing or you need to toss it in your bag before hopping on the train, the Prestige won’t (literally) drag you down.
The Prestige Evo’s footprint is a bit larger than the latest MacBook Air, at 14.75 inches diagonally compared to the Air’s 14.25 inches. The display is an inch larger diagonally than the MacBook Air, but the Prestige still weighs the same. That extra space allows the laptop to give a little breathing room for its keyboard and trackpad. MSI doesn’t utilize all the Prestige’s free space as well as something like a Lenovo ThinkPad would, but it’s nice to have a laptop that never feels constrained by space.
You won’t be left hanging with a lack of ports, either. The Prestige comes equipped with two USB-C ports on the left side that support ThunderBolt 4, with a USB 2.0 port and a microSD card slot on the right side. It’s not the vastest selection of ports you can get on a laptop, but it’s plenty for a productivity laptop.
Comfortable keyboard and trackpad
Unless you’ve developed a habit of carrying extra peripherals with you everywhere, your laptop should be equipped with a keyboard and trackpad that you can at least tolerate using through even the most gruesome workdays. Thankfully, the Prestige’s keyboard has plenty of breathing room, and its large backlit keys are spaced close enough together so you won’t stretch your fingers awkwardly. It’s definitely comfortable to type on throughout an entire day.
The Prestige’s keys feel more plasticky and lack the polish of something like a MacBook or a Lenovo ThinkPad, but they’re not so cheap that they feel like they’ll break if you type too hard. That said, with all the extra space the Prestige has compared to Lenovo’s ThinkPad E14 Gen 2, some of that space is wasted here. The Prestige’s Page Up/Down, Insert, and Delete keys, for instance, are placed on top of one another along the right side edge of the laptop, which puts the entire keyboard slightly off-center with the trackpad.
Like the keyboard, Prestige’s trackpad is spacious and reliable. Across days of use, the trackpad rarely missed a tap or scroll, and felt accurate and easy to maneuver. There’s plenty of space to drag your fingers across the surface, although it’s slightly larger than other trackpads, which may cause some trouble if you accidentally rest your wrists on the pad itself.
There’s also a fingerprint scanner at the top left corner of the trackpad. It works well as an additional layer of security to keep your files private, but MSI’s placement is a bit awkward for right-handed users. Since the trackpad is 5.5-inches across (a full inch wider than the trackpad on a MacBook), reaching the sensor might require you to fully shift your hand from where you usually rest it on the pad at times. It’s not as long a reach as the M1 MacBook Air or ThinkPad E14, both of which keep theirs at the top right corner of the keyboard, and it doesn’t take up much room on the spacious trackpad so you can still fumble with gestures to your heart’s content.
What we don’t like
Less juice than expected
If you mostly stick around your home or office, the Prestige’s battery life will do just fine. To test the Prestige’s battery life, we charged the laptop to 100%, set the display’s brightness as close to 200 nits as we could, set the battery saver to 10%, and left Google Chrome to cycle through a series of webpages repeatedly until the battery died. The Prestige lasted just over eight hours on a single charge, which is around the same as Dell’s XPS 13 and Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 4, and just under half as long as Apple’s M1 MacBook Air lasted in our testing.
Eight hours is a healthy length of time for any laptop battery, but it falls short of Intel's Evo certification. Since this the Prestige is Intel Evo certified, it should deliver over nine hours of battery life on a single charge. After running our tests three times, tinkering with battery saver settings, and double-checking our methods, we couldn’t get the Prestige to reach those levels. Eight hours might be enough to get you through a day’s worth of work, but it still falls short of Intel’s and MSI’s own promises.
Though you probably have a decent set of headphones or a Bluetooth speaker lying around for serious tuneage, poor laptop speakers can really dampen the mood when you need to watch a few videos or catch up with some friends. Unfortunately, the Prestige Evo 14’s speakers don’t match up with other speakers in their class.
In a side-by-side comparison against Apple’s M1 MacBook Air, the Air’s speakers delivered impressively full and loud sound, while the Prestige’s speakers sounded tinny. This may not seem like an issue if you’re not subject to frequent Zoom calls or don’t blast a focus playlist while doing your work, but the speakers do genuinely make it tough to enjoy listening to anything.
It's not just the tinniness of the sound, though—the Prestige’s speakers are also surprisingly quiet. At max volume, the speakers weren’t loud enough to be heard clearly across a small room while listening to a variety of songs and podcasts on Spotify, as well as a few YouTube videos. Even up close I had to turn up the volume to hear what was being said clearly.
While the Prestige’s light and slim form factor makes it great for lugging around to different spots, its display isn’t quite up to the task. In our tests, its nit brightness was significantly lower than other laptops in its price range, including the Surface Laptop 4, Dell XPS 13, and M1 MacBook Air. At 100% brightness, the Prestige only reached 297 nits which makes it tough using a laptop outdoors—and the screen began to wash out in brightly lit rooms with large windows.
Even if you don’t plan to spend a ton of time outdoors with your laptop, the Prestige’s dim display isn't the best for graphic-intensive work like photo and video editing or illustration, especially if you don’t have much control over your lighting situation. It does have a 100% sRGB color gamut (which is 72% of the NTSC gamut), but this is tough to overlook when many other ultraportable laptops we’ve tested in the same price range have a brighter display that would be better suited for both leisurely browsing and creative work.
Should you buy it?
Maybe, if the alternatives are out of stock
MSI got a lot of things right with the Prestige Evo 14. Its keyboard and trackpad are comfortable and precise. The laptop is packed with specs that’ll chomp through intense workloads, and it’s all packed into a surprisingly light shell. That said, the Prestige's screen isn’t bright enough to display everything legibly in brightly lit rooms. Its subpar speakers mean you’ll probably need some extra gear if you care about audio, and its battery life falls behind both the competition and what the Intel Evo platform promises, though eight hours of battery life is still good for any laptop.
At just shy of $1,110, the MSI Prestige Evo 14 costs more than the entry-level M1 MacBook Air but offers a slightly slower processor, less battery life, and a worse display. For a little extra money, you can get the Asus ZenBook 14 Ultra with a better display and an IR camera for facial recognition. You could also get nearly the same performance while saving yourself some cash without making many more sacrifices than the Prestige requires. This Lenovo IdeaPad 5 and this HP Pavilion 15 both offer nearly the same specs while costing notably less than the Prestige. They technically have slower processors, but the difference is so minute you won't notice it.
Its price also puts it in a weird middle-ground between truly high-end laptops with better all-around specs and cheaper laptops with comparable performance. However, If you need a solid and reliable laptop for sending emails and organizing spreadsheets, the Prestige Evo 14 is a good option to consider.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Staff Writer, Electronics
Jordan has been writing about and reviewing technology since 2017, with products ranging from tablets and apps to fanny packs and home office gear.
Checking our work.
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.Shoot us an email