Most gaming laptops come with powerful hardware in very big, bulky packages with massive charging bricks and a heavyweight. We were very surprised to see MSI’s productivity-oriented MSI Modern 14 A10RB laptop. Almost everything about it impressed us.
We have tested this laptop with every task that we do on our daily use laptops. We have also tried some things we have never done on our working laptops. Modern 14 proved to be a solid, value-for-money release from MSI. Let’s have a look at it in detail:
1. Build and Design
Let’s start with the design, like we earlier mentioned, everything about this laptop is great. The silver-white color, the aluminum body, and the sleek design. All of it is perfect and extremely eye-catching. Honestly, we usually prefer laptops in darker colors, but MSI has done a flawless job designing the Modern 14.
On the outside, there’s really nothing to dislike. The lid looks beautiful, the laptop is thin and very light at just 1.2kgs. You will find all the required ports, even C type. The lid is super soft to open, you can open it even with a single hand.
However, the one and only issue we encountered with this design is the webcam. It’s placed on the bottom bezel, reminiscent of laptops like the XPS 13 from Dell, and with all of the same problems as that one including the fact that people are often looking into your nostrils while you video conference with them. This is also a pretty big deal for me right now since most people have been working from home a lot due to the coronavirus scare. You might be surprised to see what your nostrils looked like from below.
Apart from that single issue, however, this laptop looks and feels awesome. The build is sturdy and strong, and it does look like the laptop can take a hit. However, we did not test whether the laptop can take a hit, but it does look strong enough.
After the design and build, let’s take a look at the display. The MSI’s Modern 14 has a 14-inch FullHD IPS display and it’s pretty nice. Though it’s not the brightest display I’ve seen on a laptop, it’s definitely more than bright enough, and sunlight visibility shouldn’t be a problem thanks to the matte finish on the screen that reduces glare considerably.
With reduced bezels around the display, the Modern 14 looks more immersive, and the laptop can fit a 14-inch screen within a footprint that’s impressively small.
What we don’t really like about the display is the 16:9 aspect ratio. It just feels too wide for no reason. Other than that, this display gets all the things you’d expect from it. It’s nice and sharp, the colors look good, even if they don’t feel contrasty enough, and it also has good viewing angles — all of which is awesome. Plus, the screen doesn’t flex too much like some other laptops in this price range, and that’s something really worth appreciating.
Alright, let’s talk about the performance. The MSI Modern 14 is no slouch on paper. The laptop packs in a 10th-gen Core i7-10510U processor paired with 8GB RAM and a 500GB SSD. There are also MX250 graphics here from Nvidia to help with any GPU-heavy tasks. These are solid specs for a mid-range ultrabook-like laptop, and that shows in the kind of real-world performance this laptop can push.
As mentioned at the very beginning, we have used this laptop to do everything on our daily schedule and some other things as well and MSI Modern 14 takes it all and breezes through it.
Obviously, the usual Chrome with around 15 tabs open, playing YouTube Music in the background kind of work is handled pretty easily by the laptop, but even with slightly more demanding tasks such as handling large Photoshop files, and gaming, the Modern 14 performs really well.
We also tried AutoCAD and we were very impressed with how the laptop performed even with a huge number of plans open at the same time. There was no lag or any kind of delay in executing commands.
We also tested the laptop through 3DMark and PCMark benchmarks to see how it performed, especially because the Modern 14 comes with the latest 10th-gen Core i7. As you can see from the screenshots below, the laptop’s scores in both of these benchmarks are pretty decent and on par with what you’d expect from an ultrabook with these specs.
4. Keyboard and Trackpad
The keyboard’s build quality of the MSI Modern 14 is quite great. MSI has provided a Steelseries keyboard on the Modern 14 and it feels great. No matter how good a laptop is, a bad keyboard can really ruin the excitement. The Modern 14, however, has an amazing keyboard. The keys are big, so there’s less chance of pressing the wrong ones, and there’s ample key travel as well, which is something we are not used to courtesy of Apple’s butterfly switches on the MacBook Pro, but we still appreciate it.
The keyboard is backlit, which is one of the best things to have on laptops, especially those aimed at creative professionals because believe it or not, we do tend to spend late nights working, and a backlit keyboard is a boon for us.
Let’s have a look at the trackpad. The trackpad on this laptop attracted mixed feelings from our review team. It is a Windows Precision trackpad, so technically all the gestures and the ease of use are there, but it is very small and that makes it quite difficult to actually use it consistently throughout the screen. If you’re used to trackpad-based gesture navigation on your laptop, you’ll have a tough time with it. We suggest you use a mouse with the Modern 14 to actually enjoy using it, and that’s not a good thing for a laptop.
5. Ports and I/O
The Modern 14 A10RB also comes with a wide selection of ports and I/O options so you will probably not run out of connectivity choices for your peripherals. The laptop has an HDMI port with support for 4K@30FPS video out, 2x USB Type-C ports, and 2x USB Type-A ports. Plus, there’s an SD card reader here, because a lot of content creators, especially videographers and photographers do need that port to actually transfer data between their cameras and their laptop.
Most people use the USB-A ports, and occasionally, the SD card reader, but it’s great to have the other options available if you need them.
For Audio, even though the MSI Modern 14 might look like it has speakers right up top, that’s a big fat lie. The speakers are actually on the bottom here which isn’t great.
The laptop doesn’t have the best speakers you can get in this price range. The volume is low, even at the highest levels, and there’s absolutely no bass in the sound so if you’re used to watching movies or listening to songs directly from your laptop’s speakers, the Modern 14 isn’t going to fit in for you.
The speakers can still do an okay job in a video call if you’re in a pinch for speakers or good earphones, but we would recommend investing in a pair of good Bluetooth speakers for this laptop.
7. Battery Performance
Finally, let’s talk about the battery, and this is another thing where the MSI Modern 14 excels. The laptop comes with a 50Wh battery, which isn’t the biggest in the segment, but it lasts long.
MSI claimed that the laptop can last up to 10 hours on a charge, which looks great. In our usage, which involved using Microsoft Edge with around 12 tabs open at all times, a session of Photoshop running alongside, and sometimes YouTube Music or Amazon Prime Music playing in the background, the laptop lasted around 8 hours, which is great. With slightly more casual usage, the 10-hour claim can hold true.
The charger, that MSI ships along with this laptop, is a 65W brick that charges the laptop from 0 to 100% in around 2 hours. So yeah, the battery performance on the laptop is pretty decent.
The Good and the Bad
As it is with almost everything, the Modern 14 also comes with its own set of pros and cons.
- Lightweight and portable
- Great battery life
- Really impressive performance
- Speakers are disappointing
- Trackpad can be finicky
MSI Modern 14 A10RB: An Amazing Laptop with Minor Issues
The MSI Modern 14 A10RB is a solid laptop that is priced at INR74,990. The laptop comes with an impressive design and build, and is very lightweight which makes portability easy. It also packs in pretty solid specs, including the latest 10th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, so it’s fairly future-proof.
So yeah, there are a lot of choices out there, even in this price bracket. However, the MSI Modern 14 seems to bring the best amalgamation of price, performance, and portability. If you’re looking for a laptop that won’t break the bank or your back, and will still let you do all your creative tasks with ease, the MSI Modern 14 should be the one you want to look at.