MSI has recently introduced their newest business laptop and although it is small and light it certainly does not suffer from small laptop syndrome. The MSI Prestige 13 Evo A13M that was sent to us delivered everything we wanted it to do.
As a road warrior I do a lot of work out and about and it is important for me to have a capable laptop that is also light and easily portable. The MSI Prestige 13 certainly fit those requirements so we ran it through its paces to check its computing chops.
The design is not much different to many other laptops. It is a dark slab with some kind of accent or fake hinge bumps next to the hinges. They do not seem to have any function but just seem to break up the boring black slab. There is of course an MSI logo on the lid but that is to be expected.
The Prestige 13 is extremely light at just 990 grams – I wonder what they left out to get it under that 1kg mark because I’m sure that was the goal. That 990 grams is well distributed though because although light, it does not feel flimsy.
The MSI Prestige 13 is just 16.9mm thin and although it is not as thin as something such as the MacBook Air which is 0.41cm at its thinnest and just 16.1mm at its thickest. The MacBook air though is desperately lacking in ports though when compared to the Prestige 13. I dare say MSI needed to add to its thickness to allow these ports to fit.
Hardware and build quality
The Prestige 13 we reviewed arrived with a 13th Gen Intel Core i7-1360P 2.20 GHz chipset with 16GB of LPDDR5-4800 RAM which can be specced up to 32GB if required. I had no issues with 16GB of RAM though and for a small business-oriented laptop such as this I can’t see why you’d ever need more than this.
There is 256GB of storage in a single M.2 SSD slot (NVMe PCIe Gen4) and there is no reason you cannot spec it up higher than this – up to 2TB. The graphics included is the Intel Iris Xe graphics that we see on most standard business laptops which do not have need of a dedicated graphics card.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are powered by Intel® Killer™ AX Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth 5.3 and in use I had no issues at all with fast internet at all times and great connectivity with all of my Bluetooth accessories.
I mentioned the ports above and they certainly cannot be ignored. There are two USB-C ports with support for USB, DP and Thunderbolt 4 and PD charging. They are both on the left-hand side of the laptop, next to the full-sized HDMI 2.1 port and audio jack. There is also a DC-in slot but the charger included in the box is a 65W USB-C charger so that is useless unless you already have a DC-in charger that fits this slot.
The right-hand side includes the single USB-A 3.2 Gen1 port, microSD card reader and the Kensington Lock slot. All the ports you could ever need.
The power button doubles as a fingerprint sensor which is accurate and consistent. The laptop also includes support for Windows Hello unlock via the webcam which is an IR FHD type (30fps@1080p).
The webcam is decent and to be honest is better than many we have seen on laptops. Far too many manufacturers include just a 720P webcam but this one at least supports 1080p and also IR and thus Windows Hello. For your privacy and security there is a physical shutter for the webcam which is easy to move over the webcam when required.
Underneath the laptop are two 2W speakers which are decent but don’t expect to be playing your music out aloud at audiophile quality. They are good enough for video calls but chances are you will have Bluetooth headphones paired with your laptop for use anyway.
The display is decent but, for my preferences, is not a touch display. The 13.3-inch FHD+ (1920×1200) 16:10 display is bright enough to use outside with colours that look great but the FHD+ resolution is a tad disappointing. I could live with that resolution a lot more comfortably if the display was a touchscreen but unfortunately it is not.
Although you don’t get the extremely vibrant colours of something such as an OLED display the IPS-level quality of this display is decent for business use.
If you are looking for creativity purposes I suggest you look elsewhere for a true OLED display but for day to day use, this display does the job. One of the reasons it excels is the size of the display inside such a small laptop. The bezels around the display are tiny making best use of the small footprint on the Prestige 13 – just what so many people want and need.
Keyboard and touchpad
The keyboard is decent and being a productivity laptop, you would hope it was considering you will most likely be doing a lot of typing on it. The keys are a different sensation to most keyboards in that they feel a bit flimsy with less resistance and tactile sensation while typing. There is a learning curve there that’s for sure and the keyboard could certainly be improved but once I got used to it typing on it was easy and fast.
The keyboard is also backlit which is a win for folks like me who need to look at their keys every now and again to check hand position.
The keyboard also places the delete button at the top right hand side of the keyboard, outside the power button which is a great idea allowing for quick and easy access to it. On the other hand, the backslash, page up and down and the arrow keys are all smaller than usual and incredibly annoying if you use these keys a lot. I do not use these keys basically ever so did not have any issues here.
The trackpad below is quite large for such a small laptop which took some getting used to as I kept pressing the wrong side of it for certain functions. It is a good size though and MSI has done a great job giving this tiny little laptop such a big touchpad.
This is not a laptop you will be using for high end powerful games but it was able to run everything I threw at it. It ran basic games and that is all I tested because if you are serious about your gaming you will not be buying this to push your games.
It was able to render videos in Camtasia without any issues and perform any other business-type activity I asked of it. It may be small but it sure packs a punch.
Using the Thunderbolt 4 port and/or the HDMI port I was also able to project/extend the display to my 38-inch ultrawide monitor without any issues at all. No lag, no drop outs.
The MSI Prestige 13 Evo A13M comes with a 75Whr battery installed and a 65W USB-C charger in the box. The laptop supports fast charging so that I was able to charge the battery from close to empty to half full in around 30 minutes.
Battery life was fairly impressive given how bright I had the display while using it. I was easily able to eek out around 16 hours of use from the Prestige 13. I dare say that you could get more with more battery-friendly settings if required.
Should you buy the MSI Prestige 13 Evo A13M?
While there are a few downsides to the Prestige 13 we tested, namely the squashed arrow keys, the key caps needing some extra feedback and the display a bump in resolution, if you are after a light, ultraportable laptop that is also affordable then you could do worse.
The Prestige 13 is extremely light, small and portable while still packing a decent punch and if that is what you are after then you should consider purchasing the MSI Prestige 13 Evo A13M. For me there isn’t much more I’d want from an ultraportable but it’s a tough market and I think given the drawbacks and corners that were obviously cut, I’d expect it to be just a tad cheaper.
As it stands though you can pick up a MSI Prestige 13 Evo A13M for $1,299 in its Intel Core i5 configuration with the Core i7 setting you back $1,499 which is not too bad. At this price you should at least give it a look if you are in the market for an ultraportable laptop. Now is the time to check them out too with their EOFY sale currently on.
Available in Pure White and Stellar Grey head into your local PC store and check them out.