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The MSI Modern 14 is the laptop I wish I had when I was in school

Its looks don't hurt either

I’ve had the chance to work with a lot of laptops over the past few years. Because of this, I’ve come to appreciate a laptop that knows exactly what it’s meant to be.

More than any other laptop brand I’ve used, MSI designs its laptops with the end user in mind. Sure, the hardware is first-rate, but the true magic behind the brand’s devices is the way that it tailors everything from the chassis to the software to benefit the user.

The Modern 14 is a perfect example. It’s an attractive device that does away with the frivolous features of other laptops in its price range to deliver excellent build quality and performance. If you’re in the market for a laptop that can keep up with your everyday life, the Modern 14 is an excellent option. It’s the laptop I wish I’d had when I was going through school—and the one I’d recommend to users who need a commuting machine.

Designed for students and professionals

The Modern 14 isn’t meant to be your all-in-one workstation like the Creator Z series. This is a laptop that’s designed to increase your productivity, assist with your tasks, and enhance your media experience.

In recent years, MSI has delivered modern aesthetics across its lineup of business laptops that go toe-to-toe with the best-looking products on the market. The Modern 14 comes in a range of colours, from a steel blue to a soft beige and your classic carbon grey. The understated colours are appreciated. It easily blends into a professional environment. Despite being an entry-level product, the Modern 14 feels sturdy, has clean lines, and offers several unexpected features.

Looking at the sides of the chassis, you’ll notice that it has two USB-A ports, a USB-C port, an HDMI port, and a micro-SD card slot. Not only did I not expect an HDMI-out port on an ultralight laptop of this size, but an SD card slot is an excellent addition.

For students and content creators, these two features alone make it stand out. There’s nothing worse than trying to set up a presentation when you’re already nervous. Being able to upload content through the micro-SD card slot and easily present it via the built-in HDMI port will eliminate the need for an adapter or having to cast your screen.

And that’s not even mentioning the true hero of the piece: the quick charging. As someone who loses track of time when I work, I appreciate a fast-charging device. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had the battery warning flash on my screen just as I’m about to head into a meeting. Being able to quickly top up the battery is a life saver. You can charge the battery of the laptop up to 60% in under an hour, and you can charge your other devices quickly using the included USB-C port as well.

Which brings us to two features that your classmates and coworkers will love as much as you do.

It just clicks

The keyboard on the Modern 14 feels very similar to keyboards on MSI’s other business-oriented notebooks. I’ve spoken at length about its keyboards before, so just know that I’m a fan. They won’t replace your custom mechanical keyboard, but as far as laptop keyboards go, they’re best-in-class. They have a pleasant spring to them, don’t require too much weight, and the travel distance is just right. And best of all, they’re quiet. The people around you won’t need noise-cancelling headphones every time you put your fingers on the keys.

However, if you’re the one with a noisy neighbour, the Modern 14 has you covered. Taking a call with others around is a challenge at the best of times, so MSI has included AI noise cancellation that adapts to your situation. Not only does the AI eliminate background noise when it’s quiet, it lowers the noise while you’re speaking. This is the same tech that’s used in the brand’s high-end laptops. And it’s a feature that’s definitely welcome here. Whether you’re taking a personal call in a noisy dorm or delivering an important pitch to a client online, noise cancellation can make all the difference.

And that same smart application of artificial intelligence is applied to the Modern 14’s hardware as well. MSI has been steadily building out its onboard hardware management software. MSI Center Pro is the latest iteration and it delivers on the promise of intelligent software enhancing the performance of hardware to match your needs.

For example, the Modern 14 can detect the audible noise in your surroundings and adjust its fan speed and performance output to be quieter than your environment. So if you’re working in a common area, you can have the AI automatically increase your performance without disturbing anybody. And if you prefer to determine your performance needs yourself, you can choose one of several performance profiles in MSI Center Pro.

For those who are back in the office or on campus, this laptop is built with teams in mind. Sharing a screen can be awkward when several people have to squeeze around it. Instead, the Modern 14 allows you to tilt the screen a full 180 degrees so that it’s level. You can then flip the screen with the press of a button—F12 for those wondering—so that your team members on the other side of the table can view the display in the proper orientation. It might not seem like a major addition, but these features add up to make this a laptop that delivers well beyond its specs.

Performance where it counts

That’s not to say the Modern 14 doesn’t deliver though. On the contrary, the Modern 14 is a leader in the entry-level laptop space when it comes to performance.

The Modern 14 has the latest 12th Gen Intel Core and Intel XE graphics. With the adaptive hybrid architecture, this build is able to assign tasks to the different cores depending on your needs. The P-core handles your heavy tasks, while the E-core manages your multitasking, everyday tasks, and background services. And just like PE class, this P&E combination is ready to keep you running all day.

Despite being an ultralight device, the Modern 14 has handled my daily tasks with ease. I’m currently running YouTube, Discord, Google Suite, and WordPress without any hiccups. And not to encourage watching Netflix during the workday, but it’s a perfect size for those nights when you just want to climb in bed and put on a Kdrama.

Designed for you

MSI hasn’t built the Modern 14 for everyone. It isn’t a gaming device, nor is it the flashiest performer in the company’s portfolio. What it delivers is an attractive, intelligently designed laptop that performs where you need it most. It’s a perfect option for people who need a laptop for their everyday lives. Students and professionals alike should give the Modern 14 some serious consideration as the best entry-level laptop on the market.

You can find the MSI Modern 14 available now at Memory Express or Bestbuy Canada.

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