MSI Status 14 Evo evaluation: Priced low, powered up
“The MSI Status 14 Evo is a skinny and lightweight ultrabook with spectacular efficiency.”
- Spectacular efficiency
- Strong construct high quality
- Good battery life
- Engaging design
- Keyboard and touchpad lack precision
- Dim show
MSI is finest identified for its gaming gear, however the firm has made repeated makes an attempt to transcend its specialty. As manufacturers like Razer have completed, MSI desires to leverage its good repute in gaming to increase into extra mainstream laptops.
The Status 14 Evo is its newest — and maybe most formidable — try to take action but. MSI has labored carefully with Intel on its 11th-gen Tiger Lake processors, in addition to its new Evo certification (therefore the identify).
My evaluation unit has an 11th-gen Intel Core i7-1185G7, which is the quickest Tiger Lake CPU, in addition to 16GB of RAM and a 1TB solid-state drive (SSD). The 14-inch laptop computer is priced competitively at $1,199, a low worth for such a high-end configuration. It’s even being bought as little as $950 at some retailers. However is it sufficient to persuade me that MSI has a future past gaming?
Let’s get any questions of “cheapness” out of the best way. The Status 14 Evo is constructed of aluminum and feels stable throughout. That’s, aside from the show, which has some flex while you apply stress. Each the keyboard deck and chassis backside really feel sturdy, leaving an general impression of construct high quality that’s stable. It’s nonetheless a half-step behind the likes of Lenovo and Asus within the 14-inch class, and Dell and HP in the event you’re taking a look at 13-inch options. The Status 14 Evo doesn’t really feel “low-cost,” but it surely may definitely profit from a firmer lid.
It’s additionally a gorgeous machine with three colour choices: Carbon Grey, Rose Pink, and Pure White. I obtained the Carbon Grey model, and it maintains a darker silhouette. Regardless of the chamfered edges, it’s a conservatively designed laptop computer with no bling in anyway. Even the MSI brand is in a darkish shade on the lid and straightforward to overlook until you take a look at simply the suitable angle. The traces are clear and stylish, with a powerful taper on the underside from the rear to the entrance.
There’s no bling in anyway.
I’ll notice that the Carbon Grey floor is a fingerprint magnet, and it’s not that straightforward to scrub off smudges.
The show hinge lifts the again of the chassis effectively off the desk, giving loads of room beneath for air to maneuver and sound to flee the twin backside audio system. The Asus ZenBook UX425EA is analogous, though Asus provides in some aptitude with concentric rings etched into the lid.
The Status 14 Evo is skinny and lightweight for a 14-inch laptop computer at zero.63 inches and a couple of.85 kilos, though it’s not the thinnest nor the lightest which you can get on this class of machine. The ZenBook 14 is zero.54 inches and a couple of.58 kilos, whereas the Acer Swift 5 is one other Tiger Lake 14-inch laptop computer that’s even lighter nonetheless at 2.31 kilos. It’s zero.59 inches thickness sits in between the MSI and the Asus.
Every of those machines enjoys small bezels, with roughly 90% screen-to-body ratios, and so every has a contemporary look with the lid open. Talking of the lid, the Status 14 Evo’s hinge is properly engineered, requiring only one hand to open, all whereas resisting wobble.
Connectivity is a tad gentle for the category. You get two Thunderbolt four ports on the left-hand facet and a single USB-A 2.zero port (oddly sufficient) on the suitable to go along with a microSD card reader and three.5mm audio jack.
Typically, as with the Acer Swift 5, you’ll additionally get an HDMI 2.zero port, which is lacking right here. Wi-fi connectivity is updated, although, with each Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.
The MSI Status 14 Evo is without doubt one of the quickest laptops in its class that I’ve reviewed. That sounds spectacular on the floor, but it surely’s additionally the primary laptop computer with the Core i7-1185G7 I’ve examined. I’m nonetheless studying simply what could be anticipated from Intel’s newest era of processors, however one factor is for certain: The MSI Status 14 Evo has me impressed.
The primary check I ran was PCMark 10, which I’ve a run on a handful of current laptops that included 1oth- and 11th-gen Intel CPUs. The Status 14 Evo scored second-highest amongst that group at 4866, dropping out solely to the Lenovo Yoga 9i with the six-core, 45-watt Core i7-10750H CPU at 5173.
The MSI Status 14 Evo is without doubt one of the quickest laptops in its class.
The Status 14 Evo was sooner than another Tiger Lake laptop computer that we examined by a good margin. Curiously, the closest Tiger Lake competitor was the Porsche Design Acer Ebook RS with its surprisingly fast Core i5-1135G7. Trying on the PCMark 10 Full check’s particular person components, the Status 14 Evo was significantly robust in productiveness (spreadsheet and phrase processing work) and creation (photograph modifying, video rendering and playback, and video modifying) duties, whereas falling behind a couple of different laptops solely within the necessities (app startup, videoconferencing, internet looking) class.
These outcomes make the MSI a comparatively sooner laptop computer at extra demanding duties than it’s at primary computing, so in the event you’re primarily going to be looking the online and spending time on Zoom, you then don’t want the MSI’s energy.
In our Handbrake check that encodes a 420MB video at H.265, the Status 14 Evo required slightly below two and 45 minutes, a speedy rating that beats out each different U-series CPU. You should take a look at laptops just like the Lenovo Yoga 9i to see sooner scores amongst Intel laptops (AMD Ryzen 4000 collection laptops are additionally fairly a bit sooner). However in the event you’re on the lookout for a laptop computer with a Tiger Lake CPU, then the Status 14 Evo is the quickest you’ll discover proper now.
The identical held for Cinebench R23, the place the Status 14 Evo scored a powerful 1,513 within the single-core rating (second solely to the Apple Mac Mini with the brand new Apple M1 chipset) and a class-leading 5,789 within the multi-core check. I’ll go forward and repeat myself right here: The Status 14 Evo is the quickest U-series CPU we’ve examined, and it’s not likely shut. MSI has completed a wonderful job of tuning the CPU and managing the thermals in order that the Status 14 Evo is the most effective instance we have now of Tiger Lake’s potential.
We also needs to briefly focus on gaming, given the Intel Iris Xe graphics offered by the Tiger Lake platform. These built-in graphics have thus far offered near low-end discrete graphics efficiency and effectively over what Intel’s earlier built-in graphics supplied.
The Status 14 Evo even handles Fortnite surprisingly effectively.[/
Unexpectedly, given MSI’s gaming laptop computer expertise, the Status 14 Evo at first look didn’t appear as robust in graphics efficiency because it was with its processor. It scored a fairly low 1,465 within the 3DMark Time Spy artificial benchmark, behind the Porsche Design Acer Ebook RS at 1,504 and the Acer Swift 5 at 1,686. It did handle to beat out the Asus ZenBook 14 UX425EA’s anemic rating of 1,281.
Nonetheless, I additionally ran Fortnite to check a real-world sport that matches throughout the Intel Iris Xe graphics efficiency envelope. It handles it surprisingly effectively. The Status 14 Evo managed 42 frames per second (fps) at 1080p and excessive graphics, which once more beats out each different Tiger Lake laptop computer. The earlier quickest, the Intel reference laptop computer, ran at 34 fps. The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 with an Nvidia GeForce MX350 hit 37 fps. At Epic graphics, the Status 14 Evo was at 28 fps, the reference laptop computer at 29 fps, and the Lenovo at 24 fps.
So, not less than in a sport like Fortnite, the MSI doesn’t stay all the way down to its low 3DMark rating. And a sport like Fortnite is on the fringe of what you’ll need to play on a Tiger Lake laptop computer in any occasion.
MSI was good sufficient to equip the Status 14 Evo with a 1-watt, low-power 1080p IPS show. This alternative ought to assist offset the quick CPU in relation to battery life, as we’ll focus on later within the evaluation.
It comes within the 16:9 side ratio, which is starting to really feel a bit old skool at this level. Dell, HP, and Lenovo have all begun to maneuver towards taller shows of their premium laptops, providing both 16:10 or three:2. As compared, 16:9 feels squat, particularly with the sizable backside bezel.
Based on my colorimeter, that is a mean show for a premium laptop computer with only one evident weak point. Really, “evident” is the unsuitable phrase as a result of whereas the show does effectively in different metrics, its brightness got here in at simply 228 nits. That’s effectively under the 300-nit threshold we wish to see in premium shows, and it could be too dim for a lot of brightly lit workplaces.
The show’s colour gamut is available in at 97% of sRGB and 73% of AdobeRGB, which is the place you’ll discover most different premium laptops. Some manufacturers, resembling Dell and Lenovo, provide 4K shows with a lot wider gamuts (as much as 100% of each sRGB and AdobeRGB), and people are the place inventive customers who demand a lot of colours will need to look.
The Status 14 Evo’s show did fairly effectively by way of colour accuracy, coming in at 1.three, the place 1.zero and fewer is indistinguishable to the human eye and the usual for glorious shows. Lastly, the distinction ratio was 940:1, slightly below the 1000:1 we wish to see in premium laptops.
Examine this show to the excellent ones on the Acer Swift 5 and the Asus ZenBook 14 UX425EA, and also you’ll discover brightness to be the one differentiator — albeit, an essential one. Word that the Lenovo Yoga 7i was an outlier in distinction, scoring solely 690:1 and making for a muted panel.
General, you’ll take pleasure in this show for productiveness work and bingeing Netflix in the event you’re not in too vivid an setting. Crank up the ambient lighting, although, and also you’ll be dissatisfied. When you work in vivid environments, then the MSI may find yourself being an issue for you.
Keyboard and touchpad
The Status 14 Evo’s keyboard is the standard island type, with spacious keycaps, snug key spacing, and loads of journey. My solely criticism is that the switches ere somewhat comfortable, which made them gentle to the contact however with out a exact bottoming motion. This diminished my accuracy and velocity as a result of I wasn’t fairly as sure that I’d registered the right keypress.
I discovered the keyboard only a step behind my favorites, the keyboards on HP’s Spectre line, Dell’s newest XPS 13, and the most effective amongst them, Apple’s Magic Keyboard on the most recent MacBooks. However it’s not so evident that the typical particular person would balk on the typing expertise.
The touchpad’s points are a bit extra noticeable. It’s fairly huge, although it’s not as tall as I’d like. I additionally discovered it too deep by way of button journey. You actually need to dig in to register a click on. Though that click on might be among the many quieter you’ll expertise, for me, the touchpad may been tightened up.
The touchpad is a Microsoft Precision model, although, that means it responds effectively to Home windows 10’s multitouch gestures. My unit didn’t embrace a contact show, and there’s no contact model on provide, which is a bummer. I often use contact for scrolling lengthy webpages and the like, and I missed it right here.
MSI opted to place the fingerprint reader, which gives help for Home windows 10 Hiya password-less login, within the upper-left-hand nook of the touchpad. That’s my least favourite place for a fingerprint reader, and inferior to putting it straight on the ability button (like on the Dell XPS 13) or not less than its personal separate area on the keyboard deck. However, it labored simply superb, logging me in rapidly and with none fuss.
MSI geared up the Status 14 Evo with simply 52 watt-hours of battery life, which is somewhat scant for a 14-inch laptop computer with such a robust CPU. A part of Intel’s Evo certification is the flexibility to attain 9 or extra hours of battery life operating typical duties. Based on my testing, the Status 14 Evo is probably going to take action — barely.
First, I ran our web-browsing check that loops by way of a collection of fashionable web sites. It gives a good estimate of sunshine productiveness use, and the Status 14 Evo managed roughly 7.25 hours. That’s a below-average period for the category, with the ZenBook 14 UX425EA lasting for 10 hours and the Acer Swift 5 managing a much less spectacular eight hours.
Change to the PCMark 10 Purposes rating, which makes an attempt to supply a extra direct comparability to productiveness longevity, and the Status 14 Eve did a lot better at virtually 10.5 hours. This can be a new check for us so we don’t have as many machines to match it towards, however this rating is simply 22 minutes behind the Dell XPS 13 9310, which is the longest-lasting we’ve examined and beats out laptops just like the older XPS 13 7390 with a 1oth-gen Core i7. Mix these two scores, and the MSI could final the Evo certification’s required 9 hours.
I additionally ran the PCMark 10 Gaming battery check, which stresses the CPU and GPU — it’s a substitute for the Basemark internet benchmark check we’ve run prior to now, which received’t full on Tiger Lake laptops. The Status 14 Evo lasted for simply over 1.5 hours, on the low finish of our restricted database. The Acer Swift 5 lasted for slightly below two hours, whereas the XPS 13 9310 was robust on this check at virtually 4 hours.
Lastly, I used our video check that loops a Full HD Avengers trailer, and the Status 14 Evo lasted for simply over 16 hours. That’s a powerful rating that beat out the XPS 13 9310, the Acer Swift 5, and the ZenBook 14 UX425EA — thanks largely to the low-power show MSI selected for the machine.
In the end, you’ll get a full day’s work out of the Status 14 Evo until you’re pushing the CPU and GPU. And it’s more likely to stay as much as its Evo certification requirement of 9 hours of typical use.
The MSI Status 14 Evo is the quickest Intel U-series laptop computer we’ve examined, beating out each different instance by honest margins. It competes extra strongly towards AMD’s newest choices than the remainder of the category, and it does so whereas offering affordable battery life.
You received’t begrudge the Status 14 Evo its construct high quality, both, as a result of at $1,199 you’re getting a really well-configured laptop computer with solely a barely versatile show to complain about. The laptops largest weak point is its show brightness, however all over the place else it’s a contender.
Are there any options?
The Asus ZenBook 14 UX425EA makes for a viable various to the MSI. Hold it in efficiency mode, and it’ll keep inside spitting distance of the a lot sooner Status 14 Eve, however you’ll must take care of louder followers. It’s constructed somewhat extra stable than the MSI, and it presents an HDMI port and a greater show. You’ll spend about $100 extra for the Asus, though you get the marginally slower Core i7-1165G7.
The Acer Swift 5 is one other stable various to the Status 14 Evo. It’s the next-fastest Tiger Lake laptop computer, and it, too, is about $100 dearer whereas additionally that includes the slower Core i7. The Swift 5 can be lighter than the MSI, and its show is brighter.
When you like the thought of a 2-in-1, then the HP Spectre x360 13 is a superb alternative. It may be geared up with Tiger Lake as effectively, though we haven’t had an opportunity to check the most recent model, and presents a shocking OLED show that blows away the show on the Status 14 Evo. You’ll spend somewhat extra for a similar configuration, however you’ll get a gem-cut marvel that’s fairly a bit smaller than the MSI.
Lastly, the Dell XPS 13 stays top-of-the-line laptops on the market and will all the time be a consideration. Its Tiger Lake replace beters what is perhaps the right laptop computer already, and whilst you’ll spend extra for the XPS 13 and quit among the MSI’s efficiency, you’ll get an incredible design to go along with it.
How lengthy will it final?
The Status 14 Evo is constructed effectively sufficient that you simply received’t have to fret about it breaking down for years, and it’s geared up with elements that ought to preserve Home windows 10 buzzing alongside for simply as lengthy. You solely get a one-year guarantee, however that’s trade normal.
Must you purchase it?
Sure. The MSI Status 14 Evo is the quickest ultrabook you should purchase, and it’s a good alternative within the 14-inch laptop computer class.