The MSI brand has been synonymous with gaming in the computer market for the better part of the decade, so it is interesting to see them target a slightly different type of consumer with their newest laptop, the MSI Prestige 15.
Specifically, the MSI Prestige 15 is part of the Prestige line from MSI – one that is geared towards content creators. The computer giant is touting the Prestige series as being able to handle heavy-duty content work while remaining lightweight and portable; a 14-inch version is also available.
The design of the laptop mirrors the change in demographics. MSI’s laptops perhaps have one of the more subdued designs for their gaming laptops, but this is reduced even further with the Prestige 15. Now, it just bares a clean bare metal look, with the usual defined red dragon logo replaced with a subtle and simple grey one instead.
This simple look extends to the keyboard as well. No flashy RGB lighting to be seen here, all you get is a basic white backlit one. For the content creator, this is probably more of a boon than a bane as using this laptop would not make them stand out if they were to take it out to use for work.
And this is indeed a laptop that people are more likely to bring out with them. The Prestige 15 lives up to its portability claim: it weighs just a tad lighter than the latest 2019 15-inch MacBook Pro at 1.6 kg, making it easy to carry around in one hand as well as being barely noticeable while lugging it around in a backpack. It’s also nice that the 90W charging cable included with the laptop is also small itself, adding to the portability aspect.
The thinness of the laptop is also quite an achievement considering the port selection offered. Admittedly, the device itself is a little bit thicker than the latest 2019 15-inch MacBook Pro, but that little bit additional thickness has somehow allowed MSI to fit in two Type-C Thunderbolt ports, two 3.2 Type-A USB ports, a full-sized HDMI port, a headphone jack and a Micro SD slot.
It is unfortunate, though, that the ports weren’t given the same attention. Cable connections don’t fit in snugly as would be expected, meaning that you’ll find the cables having lots a room to wiggle even when connected. I also ran into an issue where two of my USB devices had trouble fitting in the USB ports, only just barely slotting in. The USB devices themselves were relatively old, but I had no problem slotting them in before even on other new laptops.
The build quality is also relatively average. Due to the aluminium material that MSI has used for the chassis, it means that the laptop isn’t that sturdy and there is a noticeable amount of flex when moving the screen.
As alluded by the name, the Prestige 15 is a laptop with a 15.6-inch IPS screen, coated with a non-reflective matte display. Bezels are also appropriately thin, both at the sides and the top which surprisingly still has enough space to fit in a webcam that you can use either for video conferencing, or to log in with Windows Hello Face Sign In. All of these aspects combine to give the user a huge, clean and stylish screen to enjoy their content with.
The screen itself has two variations, a Full HD 1080p screen and an Ultra HD 4K one. We used the Full HD version, and for the most part, it delivers. Image quality is nice and sharp, providing excellent colour accuracy as well; something quite crucial for content creators.
This is further aided by the bright screen that the laptop offers, making it a visual feast for the eyes with the colours popping suitably on screen. A testament to how bright the screen is is the fact that it still remains readable even at around 50 to 60 per cent brightness, something that not a lot of thin and light laptops can match.
Unfortunately, this screen purely functions as a display, with no touch capabilities built into it. It is a bizarre exclusion by MSI, considering the fact that the laptop can bend 180 degrees flat; a touch screen could’ve added additional value for artists in particular.
The keyboard is decent if not unexceptional. Though it is advertised as having 1.5 mm of key travel, it does not feel quite like it. It lacks ample spring feedback that makes it feel that extra bit better when typing, but overall it is still better than most keyboards from laptops of similar weight and portability.
The same goes for the touchpad as well. It’s a generously sized glass touchpad that comes with Windows precision drivers and has a fingerprint sensor on the top left, but it is inconsistent. Sometimes my two-finger gestures are detected as three and scrolling also feels relatively slow.
You’ll also probably be using the headphone jack more often than not. Sound fires out from underneath and the quality heard is unspectacular; songs with bass lack that punch that they deliver and audio also sound soft even when the volume is maxed out.
With hardware out of the way, how does the computer perform? Our device came with an Intel Core i7 10710U CPU, and running a Cinebench benchmark test garnered us a score of 1171. Rendering a 3-minute 4K video on Handbrake also took about six and a half minutes to complete comparatively.
The Prestige 15 is also equipped with a decent GPU for casual gamers, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 MAX Q. Running Gears 5 — which came out this year and is fairly graphics intensive — gave me about 40 to 50 fps on high settings; impressive though there were big dips in more frantic situations. Don’t expect to go competitive using this laptop, but even for some newer AAA games, you’ll be particularly pleased with the performance.
Fans were also decently quiet while gaming, but that does not necessarily mean it is a good thing. The laptop gets pretty hot after a session of 30 minutes, meaning that the two fans that are cooling the system aren’t strong enough to blow out the heat from the system. So even though you’ll be undisturbed while gaming or doing CPU-intensive work, you’ll have to take note and be on the alert for the thermals to avoid overheating your device.
Finally, I have to commend MSI for the battery life of the Prestige 15. While it may be greatly exaggerated to say that it offers 16 hours of battery life, it still provides a very commendable 8 to 9 hours while using it for browsing and light work. For more intensive activities, you’ll probably squeeze out about 3 to 4 hours out of it, which is still not bad.
Depleting the battery also doesn’t present that much of an issue as the 90W charger included charges it up to full in about 2 hours, but if you are in a rush, a 15-minute charge gets you 2 hours of usage.
The MSI Prestige 15 has a lot of things going for it in terms of desirable aspects for consumers. However, behind the facade of its elegant and clean look are issues that belie the name that it encompasses. It is a good laptop, no doubt, but not quite a prestigious one.
The MSI Prestige 15 is available for purchase at SITEX 2019 at S$2,249 and S$2,649 for the FHD and UHD models respectively. To find out more, visit the MSI Carnival Zone within the Gaming Zone at Booth 6A40 in SITEX 2019 from 28 November to 1 December 2019.
Photos by Darren Chiong and Soloman Soh of the DANAMIC team.