The MSI Prestige 14 Evo bucks two trends for MSI laptops. The first is that unlike the bulky and sometimes a bit square-looking gaming laptops for which the brand is perhaps most famous, the Prestige 14 Evo looks sleek and refined, and wouldn't look out of place in a boardroom meeting or in a presentation at a university lecture. The second is that unlike MSI's usual emphasis on POWERRRR, what we have here is a neat-looking but reserved spec of 16GB RAM, 512GB storage and integrated Iris Xe graphics, with a Full HD screen and 720p webcam attached to the underpinnings. To specify, the model we got in for testing is the B13M variant, which has a newer processor than the A13M and is a little more expensive too.
So instead of aiming squarely at graphic-hungry gamers or processor-demanding creatives, the Prestige 14 Evo is very much a general productivity laptop, be it for office workers or students, aiming at the market for best laptops for students or best laptops for working from home with this model.
And after a couple of weeks with it, I am happy to confirm that if you're looking for a productivity laptop and won't mind the lack of a dedicated graphics card, this MSI should make your shortlist, at least.
MSI Prestige 14 Evo review: Key specs
|Up to 11th Gen. Intel® Core™ i7 U-Processor
|Intel Iris Xe Graphics
|14" FHD (1920x1080), 100% sRGB
|512GB NVMe SSD
|1x USB-A 3.2, 2x Thunderbolt 4, 1x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack, 1x HDMI, 1x MicroSD
|Wi-Fi 6 AX201(2*2 ax), Bluetooth 5.1
|314 x 227.5 x 17.9 mm
MSI Prestige 14 Evo review: Design and build
Usually, my back starts panicking at the mere sight of the MSI logo on a delivery box, but the MSI Prestige 14 Evo thankfully bucks the trend here. Weighing in at a fairly light 1.6kg, the compact form factor and 14-inch nearly bezel-free frame is easy to pick up, hold and move around at will.
Thankfully, this newfound enthusiasm for (relative) lightness hasn't dulled MSI's focus on sturdiness, though, as there's impressively little flex here, with the well-built frame keeping the innards reassuringly protected.
When you open up the laptop, the back of the lid becomes a de-facto leg, lifting the back of the bottom half up to lean the keyboard towards you. It's a less techy ergonomics solution than the recently reviewed ASUS Zenbook 16 Pro, which uses an internal set of lift-up bars to lean the keyboard toward you (and open up the fan vents), but it works just as well here.
The keyboard is a standard chiclet proposition, with white backlighting you can switch on and off at will. The trackpad is comfortable enough to use as well, though old-school PC user me tends to plug a mouse into any laptop I use by default. When I was on the move, though, it was nicely responsive and didn't require too much force when using, and using the tap function wasn't overly sensitive either, so it struck a nice middle ground.
The silver finish and general chassis layout reminded me more of an HP office laptop than most MSI laptops I've used (which tend to be gaming-focused machines), but in this regard, that's no bad thing as HPs are well-designed machines for general productivity.
MSI Prestige 14 Evo review: Features
While the MSI Prestige 14 Evo is relatively light on a scale, it's very light on ports, although the ones you do get are very useful indeed. It has a fairly sparse selection of two Thunderbolt 4 ports, one USB 3.2 port, an HDMI port, a MicroSD port and a 3.5mm audio out to round things off. I'm not mentioning a power outlet in this list, not because it's something that comes without saying, but because isn't one.
That means one of the Thunderbolt 4 ports will need to be ready and available whenever you need to charge the thing, which reduces the connectivity options for you even further. If you have two peripherals that each need a USB-A 3.2 port (let's say, a mouse and keyboard, for example) and don't have a dock or a USB hub on an external monitor, both of which I'm lucky enough to always have at hand, well, tough luck.
The inclusion of a MicroSD slot is a nice one, though, and that, along with the 100% sRGB coverage, will make this a viable option for hobbyist photographers, for example.
I don't include filmmakers here because the graphic-card options are limited to one, unfortunately: the integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics. It's enough to do light creative work, and edit small videos, but that and the relatively pedestrian FHD resolution (maxing out at 60Hz refresh rate) this won't become your go-to gaming laptop or a pro filmmaker machine.
There's a 720p webcam on here, with a physical webcam lock switch, and for added peace of mind for those carrying state secrets around, there's a fingerprint scanner which adds an extra layer of security, on top of the various options included with the Windows 11 operating system, such as PINs, passwords and the Windows Hello face-recognition functionality.
MSI Prestige 14 Evo review: Performance
|Digital Content Creation: 6,517
|Row 1 - Cell 0
|CPU Multi-core: 9,711
|CPU Single-core: 2,656
|Row 4 - Cell 0
|GPU OpenCL: 16,393
|Row 4 - Cell 2
|Battery test (streaming video):
|Row 5 - Cell 2
The MSI Prestige 14 Evo (bench)marks itself out as a general workhorse, and a very capable one at that. PCMark 10 testing highlights its prowess as a productivity laptop, with great Essentials (over 10,000) and Productivity (7,751) scores, and only struggling in the predicted areas, such as video editing. The Iris Xe graphics do a very decent job of handling static-image creative work, but it understandably starts to struggle a little when it comes to moving pictures. It's still a good laptop to watch films on, although it might not be the best at making them.
The 13th-gen Intel Core i7-13700H processor did well in Cinebench R23 testing, with an average multi-core score of 6,942, ahead of the Microsoft Surface Laptop 5, which is only slightly cheaper.
Most crucially, real-life use with real-life work (including writing this review) is mostly very pleasant and effortless. I could do all my core Photoshop work for my job without issue, and running multiple programs at the same time, along with my customary 38 open tabs in Chrome, didn't slow things down much, if at all. The multi-layered security and privacy features offer peace of mind too, such as when working in cafés or hot-desking in an office, including the Tobii Aware software that blurs the screen when the designated active user looks or steps away, and even looks out for people peeking at your screen from across the room.
Due to the integrated graphics, it's not intended as a gaming laptop, but I could still run lighter games without much issue (the 16GB of RAM are put to good use) but I didn't subject it to AAA games or graphically intensive tasks, as that's not the intended use of it. Hence no Handbrake testing either here, as it would be unfair.
Battery testing, where I played a video off a streaming service on medium brightness and medium volume yielded just over 13 hours of life, which is very impressive (that's just over a season of The Simpsons). I fairly easily got through a workday on battery power too without too many nervous glances at the battery bar, which bodes well for people on the go who don't want to be hunting for a power outlet at every stop.
If you're a student who wants something that will likely last you through university, the specs and performance should last you quite well through that period.
MSI Prestige 14 Evo review: Price
The model I tested ran the higher-specced Intel Core i7-13700H processor, which will set you back £1,299 in the UK and $1,399 in the US. It's admittedly on the higher side for something intended for office and school work, but the specs are fairly well future-proof (if you're not looking for graphical prowess) and MSI is a trusted brand that makes long-lasting machines.
That said, I'd be looking for discounts around sales events, as MSI is likely to want to tempt people looking at cheaper rivals.
Should I buy the MSI Prestige 14 Evo?
Like I've stated above, the MSI Prestige 14 Evo B13M will do you very well indeed if you're looking for a capable productivity laptop for work or school. I found it a general pleasure to use, but I must emphasise that the integrated graphics do limit its potential as a creative powerhouse or gaming machine (aside from fairly casual load in each department). If you're looking for the best laptop for school for yourself or a family member, and one that should last for a while too, the Prestige 14 Evo would be a good shout – especially if you can nab it for a discount...