MSI Prestige PS42 review: A slick, sleek and powerful Ultrabook

– MSI is trying to get into
the premium Ultrabook category and today we’re going to
take a look at their PS42. It’s a 14 inch laptop and I’ll tell you
whether it’s good or not. Stay tuned. (heavy bass music) Okay, let’s take a closer look at the build quality of the PS42. As you can see, I really like
this design on the outside. It’s kind of like a brushed metal but it doesn’t really
have any texture to it. But it doesn’t really
pick up fingerprints, which I really enjoy and
they have their logo here but it’s very subtle,
so you can barely see it unless you get a nice reflection on it. I think this is just a
really cool design and look. I like it a lot. All right, turn to the left side, we’ve got a bunch of ports here. So, you do have a barrel charger,
which is really old school but this is what happens
when you kinda go with some other brands like MSI,
who are still fans of it. You do get an HDMI port Type-C 3.1, but this gets weird now. This is going to be the
whole theme of this review. MSI makes some weird decisions. Yeah, Type-C port, awesome. 3.1, good for data transfer. However, it can not charge the device, so there’s no power delivery there, which is a little bit strange. So there’s definitely also
no Thunderbolt 3 support. You do, however, get a headphone jack, which is pretty normal, and you get nice little LEDs here, which show when the
power is on and charging. Not even sure what that one’s for. But what’s cool about these LEDs is they wrap around to the top deck. I actually really like that, so you don’t need to peek
over to the side to see them. Really neat design there. Now, on the right hand side, you do get two USB 3.1 Type-A
ports, which is really nice. Another Type-C again: doesn’t do power so you can’t charge with this, which is really kind of frustrating. But you do get a full SD card reader, which is pretty strange
on a 14 inch laptop. And, again, MSI is gearing this towards creative professionals and
that’s a nice choice to have, and you also get a Kensington lock. Looking at the back here, you do have some nice symmetrical grills
for the venting system. And what’s really neat about this laptop is it does have two fans on the inside, so this actually matches it. Each fan is dedicated: one for
the GPU, which is the MX150, we’ll talk about that later, and the other one is
dedicated for a processor. So, they don’t share the same heat pipes. That’s a really good thermal design here. Okay, turning to the bottom, things aren’t very pretty
on the bottom of this laptop but, still, let’s talk about those vents. Again, two fans on each side here, nice symmetrical design,
you get your feet. They do have weird things
here in the middle, it’s a little fin that sticks up. This laptop does have some flex to it and that’s to prevent that, so when you are pressing
down on the keyboard area and I think that this little ridge and this one in the center here will help prevent the laptop
from basically pressing down. Little weird but at least it’s functional. You have a bunch of screws
too and a bunch of stickers. Not a big deal. You do also get some speakers
at the bottom edge here. Normally, I’d frown upon that, but because of the chassis design of this, you’ll see when I open it up, the sound actually plays out of the bottom and through the top, too. It’s actually very good audio. So don’t let these fool you, they’re actually better than they look. Okay, opening up the Prestige, and we can see all sorts
of cool designs up here. Very thin bezels for you guys who are big on bezel design here. They put very thin ones on this. Now, you still get the
chin here at the bottom, which is unfortunate, but
three out of four ain’t bad. The display itself: 14 inch,
Full HD, anti-glare, non-touch. The touch is going to
be a bit of a downside. But MSI surprise me. They always use actually very good panels. This one too, this is 100%
SRGB for color accuracy, and 79% Adobe RGB. That’s actually a very
good display for this. Now, like I said, it’s
Full HD and it’s mad, but I actually really
enjoy working on this and that’s super important. Brightness is good, too. It’s a little over 300
nits at some points. Not the brightest display out there but it’s definitely, I
would say, good enough. The trade-off with having those
super thin bezels, though, is going to be the webcam at the bottom. And, boy, is it at the bottom. They didn’t even put it up here. But if you’re a big webcam user, probably not the best placement. I wish MSI would’ve done
something different. We did see at IFA 2018, I believe it was, ACER had it in their display
here and it was very thin, and so they’re obviously
shrinking the stuff down. MSI missed the boat there. You also get some microphone holes. It’s an alright webcam. Nothing outstanding but it works. All right, now looking at the top tech, and we get this now familiar
design that MSI is using, including their gaming laptops, where have this sort of
venting grill at the top. Also allows the sound to
come out to the top, too, which is really nice. And they put the power
button in the center. Little strange of a design
but, whatever, it works. Looking at the keyboard itself, we’ve got silver keys,
very large keys, too. MSI does some strange keyboards. I have to give them credit. They have their own design language here and it actually works. I actually really enjoy
typing on this keyboard. It’s similar to the GS65 gaming laptop. Wide keys, they are silver, though. They are backlit but that
also means the backlight is only going to be useful
when it’s really dark. You turn it on now, it’s just going to actually
make the keys harder to see. Trade-off with the silver keys. But the traveling is good
on there, the click is good. I really enjoy typing on this. Now, let’s get to some
of that design stuff that’s a little bit weird for MSI. You have the space-bar here, which is off-center
from the entire device, but the benefit there is you get a nice home row key
there that’s full size. You also get full size arrow keys and, for some people,
that’s a huge deal, right? A lot of companies
sacrifice those arrow keys to move everything over. They didn’t. You get full ones here. You also get a function
key, only on the right side, which you can then use
for the power and volume. You don’t have one on the left. Again, a little bit of a weirdness but I had no issue typing on
this or getting used to it. Again, coming back to odd designs, let’s look at this trackpad. It has these beveled corners on the top. It’s a decent sized one,
it’s a little bit short, but overall it works pretty well. It is a precision trackpad,
which is really nice. It clicks well enough and you do get a fingerprint
reader built in there. And, I’m actually surprised, this is actually a pretty
good fingerprint reader. Really no issue with it. But, again, weird design. You have the whole keyboard here, then you have the space-bar off-center, and now you have the trackpad
off-center from the space-bar, and the trackpad is still off-center from the center line of the device. So everything is off-center, and that’s just, to
me, a little bit weird. Had they moved this over, though, it would’ve probably been too far. So, weird designs choices, not the most aesthetically pleasing but, functionally, it all works together. Okay, let’s get to the specifications, so this is running a Core i7-8550U. Now, that’s not the brand new Whiskey Lake that’s coming out in a few months but, still, it’s a really good processor. It gets very good performance. It’s on par with the MateBook X Pro in terms of single-core
and even multi-core, but I will say the Dell XPS 13 does outperform with the same processor and that’s just because Dell has a very good thermal solution, and they jack up the
TDP on that processor. So, if you still want the best Core i7, the XPS 13 is still going
to be the champ there. But, still, no complaints. It performs well. Now, when it does come to graphics, you get an MX150 GPU and that’s partly because there’s just no Iris Pro Graphics for the eighth generation. It’s a good processor. It gets around the same
scores as the MateBook X Pro, and it will give you that
extra productivity boost when you need it for
graphics and even gaming. Pretty solid choice. Next up is storage, so you can get up to 512 gigabytes of SSD and
it looks to be a SATA drive. Not quite as fast as the NVMe type, so you’re looking at a
500 read and 500 writes, which is not the fastest out there. It feels okay when you’re running it but, clearly, there’s going
to be a compromise here, so a little disappointed there with the SSD but it works overall. You also do get 16 gigabytes of RAM. Overall, this results in
a pretty fast package, I really had no complaints. Don’t forget this is just
running a Full HD display, so the graphics get to push pretty hard. I also didn’t really have too
much with thermal throttling. The processor and
everything works very well, and the fans weren’t too loud, either. You barely hear them. When the system is just running normally, they don’t even really come on. It’s only when you’re
pushing it for, say, gaming or doing a Windows update
you’ll actually hear them. Now, let’s talk a little
bit about battery life. It’s a 50 Watt-hour battery, which is a pretty solid
size for a 14 inch laptop. It’s rated at around 10 hours. I was getting around seven or eight. I was actually pretty happy
with the performance here. For battery life, I don’t
see as much of a problem, mostly because you’re just
pushing a Full HD display, which helps a lot to
preserve that battery life. Now we’re going into software. MSI still packs a lot on there, including some Norton AntiVirus, which, thankfully, you
can of course remove. They also have their Dragon Center and a bunch of sound stuff, and it’s a little bit more
than I prefer in an Ultrabook but at least you can
uninstall a lot of it, and the experience has actually been okay. The sound is a lot better than I expected. It’s not the most bassy system out there but because they’re top-firing and it kind of comes out of
the top of the body there, it actually sounds pretty good for audio. You combine that with
that really good display and it’s a pretty good
experience for those who like productivity and multimedia. Okay, let’s bring it all in. The PS42, yay or nay? Actually, kind of yay. I really enjoy using this laptop. That is, I like typing on it,
I like looking at the display, I like the trackpad and the
audio, to me, was very good. At 2.6 pounds or 1.2 kilograms, it’s also a very light
and nimble 14 inch laptop. To me, the overall experience,
it’s just kind of fun to use. Now, there are some issues I have. The Type-C port is just
weird; I wish it would charge. At the very most, I wish
it was Thunderbolt 3, which I really would expect
at this sort of price point. That, to me, seems to be
like a major oversight. And the aesthetics of
it is a little bit weird but does it interfere functionally? To me, that’s an important distinction. But it’s also the price tag here. This is 1,299, whereas something
like the MateBook X Pro with a similar configuration is 1,499. For that $200, though, you’re going to get a 3,000-by-2,000 display on the MateBook. It’s also a touchscreen. It’s also a very good touchscreen. You get a giant trackpad, you’re going to get much
better Dolby Atmos audio, you’re going to get a way
faster SSD on that thing, we’re talking like 3,200 read speed. So that extra $200 goes way further with the MateBook X Pro and, to me, that’s sort of the bar here. That’s one of my favorite laptops. You also have something like the XPS 13, which is also a really amazing laptop, which has a maximum performance, in my opinion, for a Core i7. But if you want to spec
it out, similar to this, you’re going to go up
into the $1,800 price tag. But, still, I consider
it to be a solid option. Nonetheless, I really like this laptop. I enjoy using it: the typing is good, the screen is good, the trackpad is good, it’s very light to carry. So I think MSI is on the right path here and I want to give them a
little bit of encouragement. I think you’re doing some good stuff with this premium Ultrabook
category that they’re going for, but they do need to make
some improvements here. None of this stuff is deal-killers but they’re important distinctions that I think you should know about. Overall, though, pretty
good attempt from MSI. I can’t wait to see what they do next. All right, so that wraps
it up for this review. Now, if you have any
questions about the PS42, leave them in the comments
below, I’ll try to answer them. If you want more information
about this laptop, we’ll have buy links in the description so you can go and check it out yourself. And if you liked this video, don’t forget to give us a thumbs up and don’t forget to subscribe. Thanks for watching, take care, everyone.

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