What a time are we living in. MSI is getting deeper and deeper in the thin notebook market, which focuses on productivity and portability. While that may be a far cry for the Taiwanese company’s usual market of monstrous gaming hardware, it can be good for a manufacturer to enter a relatively new space, as it introduces you to new difficulties which sometimes actually open your eyes to engineering ideas that you might have never thought of before. Now, to go back to the device that is in the spotlight today, here is the MSI Modern 14 (B11). It has more than enough performance, due to Tiger Lake, which has a caveat, in the way that it needs a proper cooling setup and RAM configuration, in order to truly succeed.
Today we are presenting you our Top 5 picks about the MSI Modern 14 (B11).
4 reasons to BUY the MSI Modern 14 (B11)
1. Design and build quality
MSI introduced its new logo at CES 2021 (don’t worry, it’s just the wordmark that they replaced, the dragon is safe for now) and we feel like it’s quite tasteful. It resembles the old one, while still feeling fresh, which is mandatory for a good rebrand. The design of the laptop itself is quite good, with the new logo able to be seen on the center of the lid as well as the bezel below the display. Build materials are on point, with the whole laptop being made entirely out of aluminum, resulting in a weight of 1.30 kg and a height of just 16.9 mm. The body is sturdy, with little to no flex to be seen from both the lid and the base.
The lid easily opens with a single hand, which reveals another feature of the laptop. The lid lifts up the base, which gives a better angle for typing on the backlit keyboard, while at the same time allowing for more air to enter the device through the bottom vents. The keyboard and touchpad combo is 50/50 as while the keycaps are well-sized, the feedback is a bit mushy and the key travel isn’t as long as we would like. The touchpad is the same, as it is accurate and smooth, while the inputs sometimes fail to register.
2. Upgradeability and I/O
As with many MSI laptops, due to the factory sticker, which is placed on top of one of the screws and will void your warranty in some regions, we couldn’t give you a photo of the internal components, but we do know for a fact that the MSI Modern 14 (B11) has one SODIMM RAM slot for future expansion, which supports up to 32GB of DDR4 memory, as well as one M.2 PCIe slot for SSD upgrades down the line.
One more positive about the Modern 14 is the relatively wide I/O selection, which includes the power plug, an HDMI connector, one Thunderbolt 4 port, and a MicroSD card slot, which are all placed on the left side. On the right side, you have two USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen.1) ports and the mandatory 3.5 mm audio jack.
Considering the 52Wh battery that is inside, and the power-efficient Core i3 processor we think that the battery life should have been better than this. However, it is still enough to last you through a whole day of work, and in general, the battery life is quite balanced, as there is not that big of a difference between Web browsing and video playback scores. The laptop lasted for 8 hours and 40 minutes of Web browsing and 8 minutes and 4 minutes of video playback.
In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.
For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.
Due to an excellent combination of processor, RAM configuration, and cooling setup, this laptop achieves a great amount of performance even though our unit only had a Core i3-1115G4. If that is not enough for you, there are other Tiger Lake CPUs such as the Core i5-1135G7 and the Core i7-1165G7, which when paired with the potent cooling solution, will be an unrivaled combination at this price point.
Results are from the Cinebench 20 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
1 reason NOT to buy the MSI Modern 14 (B11)
Imagine a world where this laptop gets a better display than the one that it has. It would honestly make it a contender for one of the best-selling notebooks on the market. However, MSI has decided to go the cheaper route and put a 14-inch Full HD IPS panel which generally has decent qualities such as comfortable viewing angles, decent maximum brightness, and a good contrast ratio of 1200:1. Furthermore, it doesn’t use PWM across any brightness levels. Sadly the color coverage is just a measly 49% of the sRGB color gamut.
The color accuracy isn’t anything to write home about, as even our Design and Gaming profile couldn’t bring it down to a professional standard. Here you can see the results of our test with both the factory settings (left) and with our Design and Gaming profile (right).
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Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for MSI Modern 14 (B11) configurations with 14.0″ BOE NV140FHM-N4V (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS.
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Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.
Design and Gaming
This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.
Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.