Home Tech The MSI Prestige 13 AI Evo Is a Lightweight, Powerful, and Affordable Laptop

The MSI Prestige 13 AI Evo Is a Lightweight, Powerful, and Affordable Laptop

by Elijah
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Slim black laptop opened 180 degrees and lying flat with abstract background as screen saver

MSI has long was an under-the-radar manufacturer of PCs and laptops, with as many hits as misses in his repertoire. As we enter the “AI laptop” era, MSI’s first salvo in the new category lands squarely on the side of the hit, with its Prestige 13AI Evo finding an effective balance between price, performance and portability.

As the name suggests, the Prestige 13 is an ultraportable 13.3-inch laptop, with a 2,880 x 1,800 pixel OLED display (no touchscreen). Inside is an entry-level Intel Core Ultra 5 125H CPU with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. Nothing fancy, but enough to get the job done. There is also a version with the Core Ultra 7 with double the RAM and storage for not much more.

For those of you who haven’t been following the microchip world closely, Intel’s Core Ultra series features (among other innovations) a new neural processing unit specifically designed to enhance the operation of artificial intelligence. The “Evo” designation is awarded by Intel to devices for laptop designs that “pass rigorous testing for performance, battery life, connectivity, audio and visual quality, size, weight and more.”

Photo: MSI

With that foreword, I’ll start where the laptop scores highest: performance. The Prestige indeed lives up to its name on general apps and AI-related tests. MSI’s ultralight Windows machine revolved around the performance of the more tricked-out Lenovo X1 Carbon, which features a faster Core Ultra processor. The MSI beat it on general app benchmarks by 3 to 47 percent depending on the test, and the difference was noticeable in everyday use, as the Prestige felt lightning fast when loading apps, recalculating spreadsheets and the like. The picture wasn’t as rosy in terms of graphics capabilities, as the lower CPU and lack of memory significantly suppressed frame rates on video tasks, although the Prestige performed surprisingly well on photo rendering tests.

At 2.1 pounds and 18mm thick, this laptop is about as portable as it gets in the 13.3-inch category, although smaller 13.0-inch units can be a few ounces lighter. Available in white or black, the magnesium-aluminum alloy chassis isn’t the sturdiest I’ve felt lately, but at the same time it doesn’t come across as flimsy.

Side view of a sleek black laptop, opened approximately 45 degrees

Photo: MSI

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