[Review] Powerful But Uninspired: The MSI Prestige 14 Evo

MSI Prestige 14 Evo

RM 5,199

Hello and welcome back to another review of yet another MSI Prestige laptop. Yes, this is the third Prestige that I've reviewed so far - you can find the first two reviews here and here.

This time, I've received the MSI Prestige 14 Evo. Like the rest of the Prestige family, the Prestige 14 Evo is a lightweight machine built for productivity on the go. The 'Evo' suffix refers to Intel's new Evo standard, which is a set of qualifications that guarantee a certain level of user experience. This includes Thunderbolt 4 compatibility, sub-1 second sleep-to-wake time, over 9 hours of battery life with quick charging, and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity. You can read more about it here.

The main draw of the Prestige 14 Evo is undoubtedly its beefed-up Intel Core i7-1185G7 processor, which is just a step ahead of most other laptops within its class, which usually boast a more modest i7-1165G7 instead.

However, apart from that, I didn't really find much else to get excited about as it was pretty much the same laptop apart from a few minor tweaks to its keyboard and port selection (which - spoiler alert - aren't necessarily for the better).

Recognisable design with an updated logo

The exterior of the laptop features the same smooth metal finish we've grown used to - it's classy and stylish, though the texture is still quite a fingerprint magnet. However, MSI has outgrown its teenage pains and updated their non-gaming lineup with a much sleeker typographic logo, which I really dig.

Built for portability, it's extremely lightweight and slim. The hinge folds under the chassis, giving it a little bit of a lift for improved ventilation and a slight tilt to make your wrists feel more comfortable while typing.

The entire chassis does bend a bit under pressure, but it's nothing too concerning or unusual, especially in such a lightweight build. Its chamfered edges are electric blue, which adds a nice touch to its austere grey chassis.

All in all, it looks elegant and boardroom-worthy without being too boring.

Same old, same old

The display is a full HD IPS-level screen - pretty standard for a laptop like this. The images are pretty crisp, though the backlighting is still a little underwhelming if you're the type who enjoys working in sunny areas. However, if you're an indoor-sy person like myself, then you'll be just fine.

On the bright side, there's an IR camera mounted on the respectably slim bezels, which is pretty much a requisite for this pandemic-stricken era. The quality is nothing to write home about, but it will suffice for video conferencing.

One thing that has regretfully stayed the same since the last Prestige is, unfortunately, the speakers. There's really nothing redeeming about it - the volume is mediocre, the bass and mids are non-existent, and you're really much better off getting a decent headset.

Some questionable changes

At first glance, one might easily mistake this as a pure rehash of last generation's Prestige with a couple of hardware upgrades. However, as mentioned earlier, there are a few subtle tweaks that I found a bit puzzling.

Firstly, the keyboard has been updated to match the MSI Modern that I reviewed not too long ago. As I mentioned back then, I'm extremely unimpressed with what appears to be a completely unnecessary design update.

The bottom row is the main offender, with the left function key completely obliterated in favour of a larger control key. To the right of the spacebar, you'll find an additional backslash that the typical user would probably have no use for, as well as the last remaining function key, which has magically fused into a Siamese twin a long with the right control key.

On the plus side, you'll enjoy a dedicated print screen key - though that's situated rather unfortunately next to the power button, which makes for some very fun mis-presses.