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Lifewire / Andrew Hayward
Plenty of speed
Decent gaming power
Solid battery power
Large 512GB SSD
Slightly creaky build
Awkward delete key placement
Just "okay" speakers
Stuck fan out of the box
The MSI Prestige 15 is a capable all-around laptop that’s not necessarily the best at any one thing but is well equipped for just about everything.
We purchased the MSI Prestige 15 so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.
Given its name, the MSI Prestige 15 has been positioned as something special. Sure enough, it’s loaded with powerful tech within a sleek and alluring design, but what makes this laptop more worthwhile than the competition? There are more power-packed, gaming-primed Windows laptops around the same price, and less demanding users can get a premium, ultra-thin notebook for a few hundred bucks less.
The MSI Prestige 15 sits somewhere between those well-defined categories, and the company’s emphasis on professional creatives makes sense: it’s a very capable, attractive computer that can handle resource-intensive apps and heavy multitasking, plus it does a pretty good job running games.
Add in a nice screen, decent battery life, and generous SSD storage, and you have a great portable workstation that could be well worth spending some extra cash for. I tested the base model of the MSI Prestige 15 for more than 60 hours, running through my daily work routine, playing games, watching media, and running benchmarks.
The MSI Prestige 15 packs a lot of computer into a pretty reasonably-sized frame. While not the thinnest or lightest laptop out there, it’s a powerful notebook that you can still easily cart around. At 14.4 x 9.2 x 0.63 inches (HWD) and 3.64 pounds, it’s large but not bulky or too heavy. Like the much lighter LG Gram 15, however, MSI’s computer does have a slight creakiness to the build. It doesn’t have that dense, unibody-like feel of a MacBook Pro, although it still seems solidly constructed despite that sensation.
Every configuration of the MSI Prestige 15 has the same finish, and it’s an attractive one. The base color is a darker grey, but with blue diamond-cut edges that glisten and reflect the light. The same effect surrounds the touchpad, giving the notebook a distinctive visual cue that is plenty pleasing to the eye. There’s a subtle logo on the outside of the MSI dragon-on-a-shield, which I find a bit goofy compared to the minimalism of an Apple or Microsoft logo, but it thankfully doesn’t stand out too much.
It doesn’t have that dense, unibody-like feel of a MacBook Pro, although it still seems solidly constructed despite that sensation.
Open up the MSI Prestige 15 and you’ll find very little bezel around the large display. The keyboard takes full advantage of the space with large keys that don’t feel cramped at all. There’s a solid amount of travel to the keys, and visually, I like the impactful-looking font and the two-tone finish, with the sides of the keys taking on a lighter, almost translucent quality. My only complaint with the keyboard is MSI placing the Delete key to the right of Backspace, which caused some miscues during my testing.
The MSI Prestige 15’s touchpad opts for a very wide configuration, almost looking like the silhouette of a smartphone below your keyboard. It’s smooth and responsive with a satisfying click, and there’s a unique addition: the fingerprint sensor is a small rectangle in the upper left corner. That might seem like an odd place, since it’s essentially dead space on the touchpad—but it really never impeded my day-to-day usage. And the sensor itself works great.
MSI thankfully included a full complement of ports here, with two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports, an HDMI port, and a 3.5mm headphone port on the left, plus two full-sized USB-A ports (with a nice blue accent) and microSD slot—plenty to work with. There’s also loads of storage in this base configuration, with a 512GB SSD inside. That’s half a terabyte of speedy storage, which again makes this ideal for content creators, especially those working with ample video footage.
The MSI Prestige 15 also comes with a nice faux-leather laptop sleeve inside the box, too, so you may not need to buy an additional cover for light transport.
As a Windows 10 PC, the MSI Prestige 15 doesn’t take much hassle to get running. The process is led by Microsoft’s Cortana spoken assistant, which can be muted if you don’t need the narration, and it’s simply a matter of choosing some options, logging into a Microsoft account, and letting everything get properly installed and configured. It doesn’t take very long.
One thing to look out for as you’re first using the computer: my laptop had an odd, repeating clicking sound in the upper left corner—enough to be noticeable. Searching around, it seemed to be a pretty common issue with one of the internal fans getting stuck during shipping. Following a suggestion, I gave the laptop chassis a very firm tap in that corner and the fan immediately spun to life. No more clicking and thankfully, no need to send it in for repair.
While the other MSI Prestige 15 configurations opt for a super high-resolution Ultra HD (4K) panel, the base model sticks with 1080p. That is a noticeable difference in crispness, and the core model can’t stack up to the higher-resolution screens seen on recent MacBooks, for example.
Still, this matte-finish 15.6-inch display is large and still solidly detailed, giving you plenty of space to work with for manipulating media, surfing the web, or playing games. It doesn’t have quite the punch of vibrancy as a MacBook Pro either, which my usual everyday laptop, but it’s hardly dim. It’ll do the trick for your everyday needs, although upgrading to one of the 4K models could be tempting.
Interestingly, the screen can also fold flat at 180-degrees, apparently in case you wanted to show your screen during a presentation. However, the content doesn’t flip in that setting, so I’m not sure just how useful that feature will be—and it doesn’t fold further into a tent-like or tablet-like design. But it’s not a touchscreen, so those features wouldn’t be necessary.
The MSI Prestige 15 was one of the first laptops to roll out with the latest 10th-generation Intel Core i7-10710U processors, and with that strong CPU and 16GB RAM (2x 8GB DDR4 2666Mhz) inside, this is a laptop built to handle heavy productivity needs. It’s speedy throughout and rarely gets bogged down in any way, and it has the ability to handle a lot of browser tabs or multiple apps at once.
In benchmark testing, the PCMark score of 3,830 was a fair bit higher than the 3,121 score of the 4K Dell XPS 13 (9370) or the 3,085 of the LG Gram 15 (2018 model). It also beat the 3,465 of the current-gen Razer Blade 15, which has a 9th-gen Intel Core i7 chip instead. With Cinebench, however, the MSI Prestige’s score of 1,508 landed behind the Razer Blade’s score of 1,869—but it handily topped the XPS 13 (975) and LG Gram (1,173).
MSI packed in a solid discrete graphics card here: the NVIDIA GeForce GTX1650 (Max-Q). It’s not powerful enough for MSI to call this a gaming laptop, but it ran speedy car-soccer game Rocket League at a steady 60 frames per second at max settings and hit the same clip with Fortnite at high-to-max settings. With a more visually demanding open-world adventure game like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, however, the benchmark test showed an average of 46fps at Medium settings, and we saw an average of 42fps in-game. That’s still pretty good, but there are much more powerful gaming laptops out there if that’s a priority.
It’s not powerful enough for MSI to call this a gaming laptop, but it ran speedy car-soccer game Rocket League at a steady 60 frames per second at max settings.
The MSI Prestige 15’s speakers fall into the good-not-great category, which might be underwhelming for some given the laptop’s positioning for content creators. Located on the bottom, they put out loud sound for music and other audio, but the playback isn’t as crisp and nuanced as I’d hoped. There are much worse laptop speakers out there, certainly, but these aren’t in the upper echelon.
With a Wi-Fi 6-compatible Intel wireless card onboard, the MSI Prestige 15 is built for the latest generation of high-speed routers. I don’t have one of those, but even on my home network, the measured download speed of 55Mbps and upload speed of 17Mbps fell in the typical range, and surfing the web and downloading files always felt fast on the laptop. It also ships with a USB adapter for an Ethernet cable, which is a very handy addition for steadier wired internet connections.
The 82Whr battery pack in the MSI Prestige 15 is certainly large, although MSI’s estimate of up to 16 hours of usage on a full charge is definitely generous—especially if you are editing video, for example.
At full brightness, going about my usual work routine of typing documents, surfing the web, watching occasional videos, and streaming some music, the MSI Prestige 15 usually gave me between 6 and 6.5 hours of uptime. It lasted a bit longer during our video rundown test, in which a Netflix movie was looped at full brightness until the battery died. In that case, it survived for 7 hours, 37 minutes.
These are solid numbers, but they don’t point to a laptop that can give you a full work day of uptime unless you significantly trim down the brightness and stick to lightweight tasks. Anything heavy will drain the battery much faster: an hour of playing Rocket League, for example, left me with just 42% of battery life left. Keep the USB-C charging brick handy if you’re planning a longer day or heavier usage.
The MSI Prestige 15 ships with Windows 10 Professional, which is the latest and greatest (and frequently updated) version of Microsoft’s legendary operating system. If you’re familiar with past versions of Windows, then you’ll be right at home here. Thanks to the powerful CPU and solid amount of RAM here, everything ran very smoothly in my experience. MSI packs on a few bits of bonus software, including PhotoDirector 10 Essential and PowerDirector 17 Essential, although creative professionals probably already have their own tools of choice.
At $1,399 for the base model, you’re getting a laptop with more power and graphics capabilities than a base Surface Laptop or Dell XPS 13 model, not to mention a generous 512GB SSD that’s ideal for content creation. For a little bit more, however, you could get something with even more gaming power, if that’s a primary concern. And if you want the Prestige 15 with more perks, a version with a 4K screen, 1TB SSD, and 32GB RAM runs for $1,799—a reasonable price bump for some serious upgrades.
As mentioned, these 15-inch laptops are built for different purposes. The MSI Prestige 15 is designed for content creation but is also capable enough to handle gaming, while the Razer Blade 15 (view on Amazon) is an all-out gaming machine. The Intel Core i7-9750H is a generation behind the MSI, but the NVIDIA GeForce 1660Ti is a much more powerful GPU, capable of running Assassin’s Creed Odyssey at very high settings while sitting around 60 frames per second.
The Razer Blade 15 also looks like a gaming laptop, thanks to the glowing, multi-color keyboard lighting, plus it’s bulkier and much heavier to boot. If you’re big on PC gaming, it’s a great option at $1,599+. But content creators will appreciate the 512GB SSD (vs. 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD) and longer-lasting battery of the MSI Prestige, no doubt.
A happy medium of price and power.
The MSI Prestige 15 is a quite capable all-around laptop that, while not particularly mind-blowing in any one respect, manages to lack any truly consequential deficiencies. It has plenty of processing power and a generous SSD, the ability to play current games pretty well, and is wrapped up in an attractive shell with a very good display.