Forget MacBook Air: This Windows alternative is just as lightweight and full of features

Estimated read time 5 min read


Cesar Cadenas/ZDNET

ZDNET’s key takeaways

  • MSI’s Prestige 13 AI Evo offers great performance thanks to its Intel Core Ultra processor and supporting AI tech.
  • This results in a computer whose performance outclasses an M1 MacBook Pro for content creation.
  • For the price, it does have its quirks, from the middling graphics card to buggy software.

MacBooks are some of the most praised laptops among consumers and the tech industry. There’s a good reason for this. Apple consistently makes top-tier hardware. Even when they’re mediocre by Apple standards, MacBooks are solid picks regardless of their quirks. However, there are a couple of problems: A) they can be expensive, and B) you may not be familiar with macOS. The system may be similar to Windows, but it is still a different digital environment.

MSI, a brand prominent among PC gamers, seems to be aware of these issues, resulting in the company creating powerful ultraportable laptops with performance comparable to a MacBook but without a high price tag or alien operating system. 

Also: HP’s new Spectre x360 is already one of my favorite laptops of the year. Here’s why

This brings us to MSI’s latest release, the Prestige 13 AI Evo AM1G; a laptop that I recommend for people looking for a computer that can handle heavy workloads while also weighing just a little more than two pounds. 

View at Newegg

To start, I ran the Prestige 13 through two benchmarking tests. This is the first time I am trying out a computer with a Meteor Lake CPU, so I wanted to see exactly what it was capable of from an objective point of view. And the results were better than I thought. 

One of the tests was Cinebench, and on there, the Intel Core Ultra 5 processor earned a score of 536. According to the benchmark, this puts the CPU right above the Apple M1 chip in terms of performance. With regards to Geekbench, it achieved a score of 8,477, earning it a spot between the AMD Ryzen 7 Pro 6850HS and the Ryzen 9 Pro 5945, indicating it has a decent amount of power behind it. Keep in mind I have the lesser of the two Prestige builds I should also mention these numbers come from the laptop on Performance Mode so it’s firing on all cylinders.

Also: The best laptop cooling pads to protect your device from overheating

What’s interesting is it appears MSI made the laptop capable of handling gaming too. The Prestige 13 comes with the Xbox app installed and a surprisingly powerful cooling system. It’s better than the fans I’ve experienced on some gaming laptops.

On the bottom, you’ll see three ports with a large fan inside. When turned out, the fan can turn an uncomfortably warm Prestige 13 into a perfectly cool machine. It was quite impressive. My only problem with the fans is they get loud, almost like a mini turbine.

Despite MSI’s efforts, this is not a gaming laptop at the end of the day. It performs well, but can’t match the likes of a Nvidia GeForce RTX 40-series graphics card. I played a couple of games on the Prestige 13 just to see how they ran, with most running perfectly fine under low graphical settings. But the moment I pushed toward high-quality graphics, I ran into performance problems. So if you decide to play games on this, keep it light.

On the positive side, the display on the MSI Prestige 13, which you’ll spend all of your time staring at, is fantastic. It’s a 13.3-inch OLED screen outputting a 2.8K resolution (2,880 x 1,800 pixel) image. Combine this with its support of the DCI-P3 color gamut and you have a computer able to show off visual content in stunning fidelity. It’s a sight to behold. 

Also: Lenovo made a Mac Studio for Windows users, and it might even be better

On the computer is a feature called Tobii Aware. What it’s supposed to do is blur the display whenever someone walks behind you to maintain your screen privacy. While the feature sounds useful in practice, I couldn’t get it to work. I tried troubleshooting, shutting it down on Task Manager, and restarting the Prestige 13, but to no avail. The same can be said for the Ambient Silent AI tool which is supposed to momentarily quiet the cooling fans if they’re blowing full blast. 


Cesar Cadenas/ZDNET

It’s entirely possible I encountered some random bug and is not indicative of the Prestige 13. However, it would be a disservice on my end if I didn’t at least warn you of potential issues you may run into.

I did manage to get the Smart Auto feature up and running. It allows users to reallocate resources from different areas of the computer to whatever app you’re using at the time to boost performance. Or if you want a certain app to get the boost at all times, Smart Auto also lets you target specific software. It was a nifty little tool that I got a lot of enjoyment out of. You likely will, too.

ZDNET’s buying advice

All that said, I actually recommend the MSI Prestige 13 AI Evo laptop, particularly for creative professionals looking for a lightweight, decently-priced device to carry around to and from work. Even if you’re not creatively minded, this is still a great machine to have.

Also: This Lenovo ThinkPad is so close to being the perfect ultraportable laptop

For the smaller, 13-inch size that I tested, you can buy the Intel Core Ultra i5 version of the Prestige 13 laptop from Newegg for $1,049. If you want the big brother model, you can buy the Intel Core Ultra i7 rendition of the Prestige 13 off Best Buy for $1,299. It also comes equipped with 32GB of RAM and a full terabyte of storage, which at that price, is well worth it.

Source link

You May Also Like

More From Author

+ There are no comments

Add yours