The MSI Modern 14 converts several outstanding elements from look to feel that are all good in the price range, but the 14 inch laptop still has some minor limitations that we will look at in this MSI Modern 14 review. Of course, most gamers ranging from rookie to professional are no longer strange, referring to the MSI brand from Taiwan. MSI laptops feature a gaming-standard tunnel design, which meets the diverse needs of heavy and smooth gaming like a PC.
But in the framework of this MSI Modern 14 review, we will temporarily set aside its gaming line. Because just a year ago, MSI has officially entered the business laptop market with three excellent laptop lines: Summit, Prestige, Modern.
Among them, it is impossible not to mention the MSI Modern series, which is in the most fertile section. So, if it has anything outstanding, please read this MSI Modern 14 review, which is powered by an Intel Core i5 1155G7 processor, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, and Windows 10 Home with a free Windows 11 update.
Now the national logo “Red Dragon” is no longer full of power that attracts many gamers. This time around, the company has completely changed the image of the new logo, showing a strong inner strength towards the aesthetics of business people and offices. Instead of curved lines, the MSI logo is now just the company name, but all with carefully calculated square and straight lines. Somewhere in there, it clearly shows a more edgy, minimalist, and respectable style.
The entire A, C, and D face of the device is covered under a sturdy aluminum metal layer. Coming to the colors, our MSI Modern 14 review unit comes in Carbon Gray color, but it is also available with Beige Mousse and Bluestone color options. But whatever you say, every color has its own unique feel, from strong to soft and even neutral.
The surface is made of metal material does not mean that the weight of the device is heavy. Weighing in at just 1.3kg, the laptop can be “tossed up” anywhere without causing fatigue or a feeling of neediness. Those of you who are experts in using gaming laptops will obviously feel lighter while switching to this laptop. Those who are used to some of the lighter lines, like the MacBook Air, will realize that there isn’t much of a difference compared to the Modern 14.
Equipped with popular Ergolift hinges like Asus brands and based on an aesthetic point of view, each of you will have your own assessment. But in general, somewhere in the device still exudes a stronger and more bunker feeling than the usual hinge. With this design, those who often work on documents and type will feel much more comfortable.
MSI takes advantage of the Ergolift hinge with cooling fans located on opposite sides of the gaming series when the Modern 14 is fitted with sealed cooling fans located on the D-side of the device to speak the right design language, it’s elegant, modern, not too old. At the same time, the speaker system of the device is also moved to the D-side position to make the keyboard neater. And then, there is an added effect of the Ergolift hinge that helps the machine to better dissipate heat as well as sound.
When folding the screen down to almost 180 degrees, perhaps because of the weight, the screen folds down quite quickly, creating a feeling of looseness. But if the screen is used at a normal viewing angle, this situation will not happen, this is a small minus point on this MSI Modern 14 laptop.
The sound is more complete and realistic from the device to the listener. The laptop leans more towards the mid and treble range in terms of sound quality. So it would be more appropriate to use listening to the singer’s voice. It is quite shallow for the bass range, not suitable for listening to heavy metal or electronic music. Although the MSI Modern 14 has a built-in Nahimic application, you can adjust the sound range to better suit your listening needs, which will result in a slight improvement.
Also, the speaker volume is a bit low and, one drawback is that the speaker faces down on the table and diverts the sound towards the ear, so if you don’t leave the device on a firm surface, it will be hard to hear clear sound.
Despite the slim design, the device still has all the popular connectivity ports including 1 x HDMI, 1 x USB-C, 1 x Micro SD, 2 USB-A 3.2, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. If you are a creative person, it is quite a pity as the device is equipped with a microSD card slot instead of an SD card. Therefore, it will be necessary to reinsert the SD card reader during use. Furthermore, there is also no LAN port to support wired networks for those of you who often play games at high levels, which may affect the ping while experiencing. But with the thin design of the laptop, it is also difficult for the manufacturer to add more LAN ports.
However, if you are a student or an office worker, we still have a full range of popular connection ports for the service, specifically using the USB-C 3.1 gen 2 port we can transfer data twice as fast as compared to gen 1, which saves space and time. But there is a limitation that this port cannot be used for charging or output purposes.
Keyboard and touchpad
The keyboard side has a borderless design with a large, soft keycap, 1.5mm of key travel for an extremely smooth and relatively accurate typing experience. Of course, there’s definitely no keyboard flex with the sturdy aluminum frame design. However, there are a few “strange” details on the MSI Modern 14 keyboard. For example, the Fn key will be on the right-hand side, close to the Ctrl key, and there is no space between the two keys. Meanwhile, the left Ctrl key has a relatively large size, even larger than the combination of the two right Fn and Ctrl keys.
In regards to navigation buttons, the MSI’s design is huge, compared to many Acer or Asus laptops. In keeping with the common ground with other keys, the navigation key is used quite rarely, so many companies have designed it small enough to streamline the key surface area. However, with a larger design like the MSI Modern 14 when used for scrolling pages, viewing photos, or simply moving the mouse pointer position in the text, it’s clear that the experience is greatly enhanced.
In addition, the keyboard has LED support in three levels of brightness, strong, medium, and weak, in low-light environments. The LEDs are very bright, white, and clear, not “colored” like in gaming laptops. Here is a subtle change on the part of the company while designing the keycap with a slight distance from the keyboard frame. Then at a normal typing angle, the light coming from the keyboard background can be seen directly. So in a daylight environment, LEDs can still be seen clearly, not to mention a night environment.
In general, with a rough design keyboard surface, good feedback, clear, easy-to-see fonts, the typing volume is not too loud nor too small enough to stimulate hearing, and the sturdy keyboard surface feels good. Typing for long periods of time is still completely comfortable without any discomfort.
The touchpad part of the MSI Modern 14 is relatively small, which is easy to understand because of the compact design philosophy the company has targeted for the device. The touchpad is located horizontally in the middle of the keyboard surface, maybe the company moves this part of the touchpad to the left a little to create more rest for the hand, and at the same time expand the area of the mouse, it’s much better. Those of you who have used some of its popular gaming lines like Pulse GL66 (REVIEW) or GP66 Leopard (REVIEW) will certainly understand this.
The touchpad surface is rough, the feeling of use is extremely smooth, not too slippery, but not too hiss.
Under the 14-inch FHD IPS panel (1920 x 1080 Pixels), the image released from the device will be a minus point, especially for those who use it a lot to design 2D with a variety of colors or simply watch the video. With 45% NTSC color coverage, 65% sRGB, it is probably only good for office tasks and light image editing.
The black screen of the device is quite deep, the contrast is okay but not too prominent. With a basic user-oriented office laptop and 2D design, the screen of the device is still relatively disappointing. But anyway, in the price range of $749, we have traded for a very good design with good performance that we will mention below.
The screen border is quite thin, and there is a camera on the top edge. That makes the upper border relatively thick, but in general, the overall visual experience is still at a good level of arousal. Accompanied by a screen brightness of 300 nits and equipped with anti-glare technology, this is just the right brightness for users to use in bright environments, not too impressive. But in the office, or at a regular coffee shop, the screen light is still good.
Our MSI Modern 14 review unit is powered by an Intel Core i5 1155G7 processor with 4 cores and 8 threads with a maximum clock speed of 4.5GHz, 8MB cache, 8GB of DDR4 3200 MHz RAM (can be upgraded with 1 more slot), and 512GB SSD M.2 PCle. This level of performance is enough for us to use it smoothly for creative work, 2D design, office tasks, surfing the web or playing light eSports games, etc.
This configuration level is powerful for tasks such as Word, or Excel. When using the laptop to render images with popular software such as Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop, they all respond smoothly. Particularly, when playing games, the laptop temperature is quite high, even using MSI Center to set the fan to maximum (Cooler Boost) is still quite hot in general. In addition, the laptop’s fan is quite loud, and it will feel uncomfortable if used in a closed space.
The MSI Modern 14 uses the onboard Intel Iris Xe Graphics, so the RAM resources of the device will be quite expensive. But fortunately, this version has 2 RAM slots, you can upgrade more multi-channel RAM to optimize graphics card performance if you have higher usage needs.
Used to play light games and optimize configurations like League of Legends at high graphics settings, the laptop maintained around 100 fps. In combat conditions, it decreases to about 90-95. At that time, the laptop temperature was not very high, somewhere around 70 degrees. However, if you play for long periods of time, you should turn on the fan on Cooler Boost each time to avoid overheating so as not to affect the gaming experience.
During the CS: GO, this is not a game that requires too much configuration. However, MSI Modern 14 is still the office laptop model, to have a good experience, we have adjusted the graphics to low, the device maintains the FPS of about 60-75.
Also tried with games like PUBG with higher configuration levels. The graphics are adjusted to very low yet the device FPS remains only around 35-40, with the machine temperature reaching around 85-90 degrees even when the fan is active at maximum range.
The laptop’s SSD has a read speed of 788.19 MB/s and a write speed of 976.52 MB/s. It’s still relatively low compared to common ground, especially in terms of reading speed, but it’s enough to handle most daily tasks.
Here are the benchmarks of the machine tested on some popular software such as Geekbench 5, Cinebench R23:
The MSI Modern 14 is equipped with a 3-cell 38Whr battery for not too large of a usage time, specifically at 100% brightness, 40% volume when participating in a Google Meet meeting, the battery will last about 3 hours. When watching Youtube at the same brightness and volume, the device will last about 4 hours and 30 minutes. As for regular office tasks such as Excel, Word, Google Docs, etc., it will be 7 hours and 15 minutes. Finally, it is not surprising that when using the device to play League of Legends, it only takes about 2 hours for the device to run out of battery.
In addition, the Modern 14 supports 65W charging for a charging time from 0-100% that will take 83 minutes, as shown in the following chart:
The MSI Modern 14 gives us many impressions with its slim, lightweight design and good performance to handle a variety of tasks that are not too intensive. The only downside is that the screen isn’t too prominent, or the battery life isn’t great. However, in terms of general experience in tasks from 2D design, eSports games, Word, Excel, etc., it must be said that it is quite impressive for an office laptop. If you are an office, business, creator, student who moves frequently, MSI Modern 14 would be an excellent choice that is hard to ignore.
So how did you like this MSI Modern 14 review? Do tell in the comment.