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MSI PS42 Review - The company's first thin and light productivity laptop!

Huawei Nova 5T
MSI is known for their motherboards and graphics cards and eventually gaming laptops. Today we look at their attempt at a thin and light productivity laptop!
The new thin and light from MSI!

MSI surprised Computex 2018 goers with their new Prestige line. It looks to be the answer to the popular XPS line from Dell where they offer a stylish thin and light that can also provide the performance needs of power users.

This is our review of the MSI PS42!

MSI PS42 Specs

Display: 14-inch IPS screen w/ FHD 1920 x 1080 resolution at 157 ppi
CPU: 8th Gen Intel Core i5, i7
GPU: Intel HD620 Share Graphic/Nvidia GeForce MX150 w/ 2GB GDDR5
RAM: 8GB DDR4 2400MHz up to 16GB
ROM: 256GB NVMe PCle/512GB NVMe PCle
Selfie Camera: HD webcam
Battery: 4-cell LiPo
OS: Windows 10 Home/Windows 10 Pro
Connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth, 2x Type-C USB, 2x Type-A USB, 1x SD, HDMI
Others: Built-in microphone, built-in speakers
Dimensions: 322 x 222 x 15.9 mm
Weight: 1,800 g
Price: PHP 54,995/PHP 76,995

Unboxing/Accessories

Unboxed!
Unboxed!

It comes in a premium textured white box with the laptop, documentation, power cord and power supply cord.

Build Quality/Design

At the bottom are 5 rubber feet, speakers, vents and regulatory information!
At the bottom are 5 rubber feet, speakers, vents and regulatory information!

At the bottom are the speakers, intake vents, five rubber feet and regulatory information.
The rear features the hinge and the two vents
The rear features the hinge and the two vents

At the rear side is the hinge and two large exhaust vents for the cooling system.
Two USB 3.0, USB Type-C, SD card reader
Two USB 3.0, USB Type-C, SD card reader

The right side has two USB 3.0s, USB Type-C, SD card reader and a Kensington security slot.
3.5 mm, USB Type-C, HDMI port and power plug port!
3.5 mm, USB Type-C, HDMI port and power plug port!

The left has indicator LEDs, headphone jack, a second USB Type-C, an HDMI port and the proprietary power port.
Finger slot at the front!
Finger slot at the front!

At the front is the finger slot to make it easier to raise the display. It doesn't pass the one finger lift test though. There is a slight resistance that normally would be good with a touch screen. Our review model however doesn't have a touch display.
The keyboard!
The keyboard!

The keyboard layout is okay. I was able to get used to typing on it within an hour of use. The travel is short but somehow enough. It lights up and is readable in the dark. My one gripe with the keyboard is that I wished the keys were spaced out by 1 or 2 millimeters of each other.

Beautiful design!

The trackpad on the other hand is responsive and quick in both single point and multipoint taps and/or gestures. I don't like the fingerprint placement on the trackpad as it gets in the way when I am "clicking and dragging items" for example. I had hoped they placed the scanner else where.

The trackpad can also be a bit cramp for some people. If so we recommend bringing a mouse with you.

Display Quality

Slim bezels
Slim bezels

The display is a 14-inch IPS screen w/ FHD 1920 x 1080 resolution at 157 ppi with thin side and top bezels. The bottom bezels remain thick with the MSI branding.

The aspect ratio is 16:9 which makes it great for watching videos but may be short for people who want to focus on productivity. I find myself wanting more real estate at the bottom part to avoid scrolling up and/or down often.

It is a 60Hz panel panel will good resolution that gets really eye popping at maximum brightness but it maintains decent sharpness of text and good color with 99% SRGB coverage and 77% Adobe RGB coverage. 

Viewing angles are good for a productivity focused machine and is acceptable for multimedia consumption.


Battery Life

Battery test
Battery test

It is running on a 4-cell LiPo and in our benchmarks it ran for at least 4 hours.


In real world usage of constantly connected to a Wi-Fi with Chrome browsing,  Social Media, YouTube streaming Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop and Netflix, we were averaging around 6 hours of continuous use daily.

On lighter work days, we would be comfortable enough not to bring the power brick.

Decent battery life!

Charging time takes around two hours and we didn't notice any remarkable change in temperature on the laptop body but the power supply brick can get warm after a few hours of use!

Audio Quality

One of the speakers on the left side!
One of the speakers on the left side!

The MSI PS42's speaker at max volume is moderately loud. This means that the volume is loud enough to fill a small room without problem. It will struggle with noisy outdoor environments though. Even at maximum volume, there is little distortion while the separation and clarity is decent that most people won't complain.


The microphone records clearly without issues when used for recording and video calls.

Camera

The PS42 is equipped with a 720p HD webcam that is positioned in between the display and the hinge.

The placement isn't ideal for conference calls because it looks up the user's nostrils. The quality isn't that great as well with okay resolution accompanied by grain.


Performance

Geekbench score
Geekbench score
3DMark score
3DMark score

The MSI PS42 performs well in processor focused benchmark GeekBench with a single-core score of 4,366 and a multi-core score of 10,875. This is because of the new 8th-Generation Intel core processor which significantly improves multi-core performance compared to the previous 7th-Generation processors.

In the graphics focused benchmark Fire Strike, the PS42 got 3,283 mainly because of the onboard MX150! It performs better than Intel's onboard graphics and the MX150 is able to run light games like Counter Strike without problems.


For applications for productivity like Microsoft office, it is able to run them smoothly without problem along with streaming YouTube at 1080p or watching 4K videos.

Video editing 1080p videos is passable but this machine will struggle with higher resolution videos.

Otherwise, this is a productivity focused machine that can do most tasks without a hitch.

Pros - Build and Design is great for its price, weight, specs is comparable to more expensive competitors,
Cons - 4x3 aspect ratio display would have been better for productivity, 6 hours of battery life is decent but could be better for a productivity focused laptop, camera placement is below the display

Verdict

If you are looking for a thin and light that can compete with popular competitors  like the Huawei Matebook X Pro or the Dell XPS 13 that can be bought locally with warranty, then the MSI PS42 is for you!

It is lighter than some of the competition but doesn't skimp on specifications, performance and cooling! Unlike the competition it has a great number of ports that others lack like an HDMI port and a full sized SD card slot.

Our main gripes are the camera placement and the aspect ratio of the display which are both nitpicks if you don't use the camera a lot and if you are okay with less real estate for scrolling down.

It is a great practical option that doesn't skimp on build or looks. We recommend it in both configurations!

Build / Design -  4.5
Display - 4.25
Audio - 4
Battery - 4.25
Performance - 4.25
Average - 4.25/5
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