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MSI’s attempt at a MacBook Pro killer is a disaster. What went wrong?

MSI Prestige 16 Studio front view showing display and keyboard deck.
MSI Prestige 16 Studio
MSRP $2,100.00
“Unstable and flawed, the MSI Prestige 16 Studio has very little to recommend about it.”
  • Good gaming speeds in performance mode
  • Solid build quality
  • Poor performance in normal mode
  • Loud and hot in performance mode
  • Unstable during gaming benchmarks
  • Display gives off annoying whine
  • Mini-LED display disappoints
  • Short battery life

It’s not often that a laptop comes across my desk in this rough of shape. The MSI Prestige 16 Studio had a lot of of promise too, sporting the latest RTX 40-series graphics and even a mini-LED display.

MSI has been wanting to break into the professional and creator space for a while, and at a glance, and I was hoping the Prestige 16 Studio would finally fit the bill. It certainly looked the part on paper.

But as I began testing, I was left with disappointment after disappointment, finally resulting in my conclusion that this is a laptop that needs to return to the drawing board.

Specs and configurations

  MSI Prestige 16 Studio
Dimensions 14.09 inches x 10.18 inches x 0.66 inches
Weight 4.63 pounds
Processor Intel Core i7-13700H
Graphics Intel Iris Xe
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060
RAM 16GB LPDDR5-4800
32GB LPDDR5-4800
Display 16.0-inch QHD+ (2,560 x 1,600) IPS, 165Hz
16.0-inch QHD+ (2,560 x 1,600) Mini-LED, 165Hz
Storage 1TB PCIe 4 SSD
Touch No
Ports 2 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 with Thunderbolt 4
1 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2
1 x HDMI 2.1
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
1 x microSD card reader
Wireless Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3
Webcam 1080p with infrared camera for Windows 11 Hello support
Operating system Windows 11
Battery 82 watt-hour
Price $1,300+

The Prestige 16 Studio comes in multiple configurations. The entry-level machine costs $1,300 for an Intel Core i7-13700H CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, a 16.0-inch IPS display, and Intel Iris Xe graphics. At the high end, which I tested, you’ll spend $2,100 for the same Core i7, 32GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD, a 16.0-inch mini-LED display, and an Nvidia RTX 4060 GPU.

That’s a relatively affordable price, given the high-end components. Again, that had me excited for the potential of the Prestige 16 Studio on paper — but when it came to actual hands-on testing, it was problem after problem.

A disappointing mini-LED display

MSI Prestige 16 Studio front view showing display.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

I was excited to review the Prestige 16 Studio in part because it’s equipped with the first Mini-LED we’ve tested on a Windows laptop. Apple’s version that it uses in its latest MacBook Pro machines is excellent, with tremendous brightness (especially with HDR content), excellent colors, and the same kind of inky blacks as OLED. Simply put, I was very disappointed in MSI’s mini-LED display by comparison, even when I first turned on the laptop. The image didn’t seem much better than a standard IPS display. But things went downhill from there.

To begin with, the display gives off a noise that sounds a lot like coil whine. It gets louder as the display’s brightness increases. The second machine that MSI sent me also had the same whine, and MSI confirmed that this is common to the machine. Whether it would bother you depends entirely on how sensitive you are to noises like that, but it was a big turn-off for me.

Next, MSI provides a utility to tune the colors for various applications, such as sRGB, AdobeRGB, DC3, etc. Usually, these utilities are turned off from the factory and a default calibration is used that doesn’t apply any tuning. I typically keep the utility turned off when testing with my colorimeter. The MSI utility, though, doesn’t seem to work that way. You have to choose one of the modes, and they all significantly change how the display looks and tests. I found the AdobeRGB setting to be the most attractive and likely the one that creators will choose, and I used that one for testing. I did test with a few other settings, and some display attributes were better and some were worse.

My colorimeter confirmed my subjective observations. Brightness was fine, and when I turned on HDR, the panel pumped out 730 nits, which is very bright. Contrast was better than standard IPS, but nowhere near Apple’s Mini-LED display. The AdobeRGB color gamut was below the 90% or more that creators want to see, and color accuracy was poor at a DeltaE of 3.46 (we’re looking for under 2.0 at least, and the best displays are under 1.0).

Overall, the display is fine for productivity work and consuming HDR content, but won’t work well for creators. That’s disappointing given its intended market. It just doesn’t live up to the promise of mini-LED, and I sure hope we see some better results from other Windows mini-LED laptops in the future.

Contrast sRGB gamut AdobeRGB gamut Accuracy DeltaE
(lower is better)
MSI Prestige 16 Studio
455 3,140:1 98% 82% 3.46
Apple MacBook Pro 14
511 35,450:1 100% 89% 1.21
Dell XPS 17 9730
501 1,570:1 100% 100% 1.33
Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8
395 27,510:1 100% 96% 0.79
Apple MacBook Air M2
486 1,310:1 100% 90% 1.08

Aggressive tuning for Jekyll and Hyde performance

MSI Prestige 16 Studio rear view showing lid and logo.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Performance was the other major issue I ran into while testing the MSI Prestige 16 Studio.

Most manufacturers now include utilities to tune the CPU and GPU for a variety of uses. I test laptops in both their “balanced” and “performance” modes (or whatever they’re branded as), to get a feel for how they perform across both extremes. These modes don’t always make a huge difference, but in this MSI, the disparity was glaring. In fact, I’ve never seen a more massive divide.

In balanced (or normal) mode, which does keep the fans quieter and the chassis cooler, the Prestige 16 Studio is slow for a laptop with the Core i7-13700H. That’s a 45-watt CPU with 14 cores (six Performance at 5GHz and eight Efficient at 3.7GHz) and 20 threads, and it’s provided fairly consistent performance in the other laptops we’ve tested. The MSI falls way behind, though, particularly in our CPU-intensive benchmarks. In the Pugetbench Premiere Pro that runs in a live version of Premiere Pro and can utilize the RTX 4060 to speed up various processes, the Prestige 16 Studio was slower, but not as dramatically. Note that the Dell XPS 15 and XPS 17 both ran the RTX 4070 GPU, and so the MSI’s relative performance makes more sense in this benchmark.

MSI Prestige 16 Studio top down view showing tents.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

In performance mode, the laptop was much faster and competitive with the rest of our comparison group. It didn’t take the lead in any benchmarks, but it wasn’t downright slow either. However, the fans spun up dramatically and were very loud, and the chassis got quite warm. It seems that MSI’s thermal system just doesn’t seem up to the task, which would explain the aggressively slow tuning in normal mode and the unimpressive showing in performance mode.

Overall, the Prestige 16 Studio’s productivity and creativity performance is underwhelming in balanced mode, and there’s a real cost in heat and noise when turning on performance mode.

(single / multi)
Cinebench R23
(single / multi)
Premiere Pro
MSI Prestige 16 Studio
(Core i7-13700H)
Bal: 1,880 / 6,951
Perf: 1,903 / 11,945
Bal: 139
Perf: 80
Bal: 1,797 / 7,959
Perf: 1,921 / 13,647
Bal: 668
Perf: 865
Dell XPS 15 (9530)
(Core i7-13700H)
Bal: 1,787 / 11,978
Perf: 1,830 / 11,769
Bal: 79
Perf: 76
Bal: 1,865 / 13,386
Perf: 1,868 / 13,927
Bal: 866
Perf: 1,023
Dell XPS 17 (9730)
(Core i7-13700H)
Bal: 1,901 / 12,654
Perf: 1,928 / 12,911
Bal: 79
Perf: 71
Bal: 1,933 / 13,384
Perf: 1,912 / 15,462
Bal: 760
Perf: 848
Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro 360
(Core i7-1360P)
Bal: 1,800 / 8,960
Perf: 1,781 / 9,071
Bal: 109
Perf: 99
Bal: 1,711 / 8,389
Perf: 1,750 / 9,182
Bal: N/A
Perf: N/A
Apple MacBook Pro 14
(M2 10/38)
Bal: 1,973 / 14,596
Perf: N/A
Bal: 85
Perf: N/A
Bal: 1,608 / 14,789
Perf: N/A
Bal: 1,093
Perf: N/A

The Prestige 16 Studio is also the first laptop we’ve tested with the RTX 4060 GPU, and again its benchmark results were heavily impacted by performance mode. This was most evident in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, where it outperformed the RTX 4070 laptops on our list in performance mode. Overall, it was quite speedy when you turned things up, in spite of its 3DMark Time Spy score being faster in normal mode.

The laptop did demonstrate a major issue, however: When I switched into performance mode and ran a benchmark again after running in normal mode (with some time in between to let the system cool down), the Prestige 16 Studio locked up in what appeared to be a thermally throttled state, with the fans spinning at full speed. Benchmarks ran like slideshows, with frames per second (fps) in the single digits. I had to reboot the laptop and run the benchmarks again in performance mode to get the results listed in the table. This was consistent across all the games I used to benchmark, and even happened with a second evaluation unit that MSI sent me.

If MSI ever fixes this instability, the Prestige 16 Studio could be a solid 1080p gaming laptop that can run some newer titles in 1440p with decent graphics. Again, you’ll have to put up with very loud fans and a warm chassis though.

Assassin’s Creed
Ultra High)
Civilization VI
(1080p Ultra)
Time Spy
MSI Prestige 16 Studio
(RTX 4060)
Bal: 35 fps
Perf: 108 fps
Bal: 64 fps
Perf: 74 fps
Bal: 105 fps
Perf: 131 fps
Bal: 7923
Perf: 7386
Dell XPS 15 (9530)
(RTX 4070)
Bal: 65 fps
Perf: 105 fps
Bal: 60 fps
Perf: 60 fps
Bal: 131 fps
Perf: 137 fps
Bal: 7,077
Perf: 7,632
Dell XPS 17 (9730)
(RTX 4070)
Bal: 88 fps
Perf: 94 fps
Bal: 75 fps
Perf: 77 fps
Bal: 155 fps
Perf: 159 fps
Bal: 9,639
Perf: 9,535
MSI Creator Z17 HX Studio
(RTX 4070 Ti)
Bal: 66 fps
Perf: 101 fps
Bal: 61 fps
Perf: 90 fps
Bal: 149 fps
Perf: 191 fps
Bal: 10,186
Perf: 11,630
HP Envy 16
(RTX 3060)
Bal: 70 fps
Perf: 71 fps
Bal: 40 fps
Perf: 41 fps
Bal: 125 fps
Perf: 132
Bal: 7,645
Perf: 8,040

Unimpressive longevity

MSI Prestige 16 Studio side view showing ports and display.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

You don’t expect a laptop with a powerful CPU and a large, high-resolution Mini-LED display to provide excellent battery life, unless it’s the Apple MacBook Pro 16 which breaks all the rules. The Prestige 16 Studio performed even worse than I expected, however, with its relatively small 82 watt-hour battery likely contributing.

It lasted just 5.25 hours in our web-browsing test, six hours in our video-looping test, and six hours in the PCMark Applications battery benchmark. All of these are poor scores even compared to other laptops in the same class. The Dell XPS 15, for example, made it to almost 10 hours in our web-browsing test and lasted 11.75 hours in our video test, while making it to 10.75 hours in the PCMark Applications benchmark. And the XPS 15 was equipped with the same CPU and an OLED display.

You’ll need to carry the power brick around with you if you want to get work done beyond a few hours.

A pedestrian design

MSI Prestige 16 Studio front angled view showing display and keyboard deck.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The Prestige 16 Studio is constructed of aluminum and demonstrates rigidity everywhere but the display, which is a bit bendable. It’s not quite up to par with laptops like the Dell XPS 17 and Apple MacBook Pro 16, which are more solidly built. The all-silver chassis is minimalist in its design, with some aggressive venting on back hinting at the power within (and MSI’s gaming roots). It’s not an unattractive laptop, but it doesn’t stand out much either.

The screen bezels aren’t nearly as narrow as you’ll find on Dell’s XPS laptops, but they’re not huge. As such, its dimensions are within a reasonable width and depth. It’s quite thin at 0.66 inches, and its 4.63 pounds is a reasonable weight for a large laptop. The Dell XPS 15 with it slightly smaller display is thicker at 0.71 inches and only slightly lighter at 4.23 pounds.

MSI Prestige 16 Studio top down view showing keyboard and touchpad.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The keyboard sports large keycaps and tons of key spacing, even with the numeric keypad. I found the switches light and snappy, with a precise response that didn’t quite live up to the XPS or MacBook keyboards. Nevertheless, it was a good keyboard for comfortable long-term typing sessions. The touchpad is large and smooth, with firm, quiet clicks.

Connectivity is a strength, with both Thunderbolt 4 ports for future-proofing and a couple of legacy ports. The microSD card reader is welcome, but a full-size version would have been more useful for creators. Wireless connectivity is up to date.

The webcam is 1080p, which is becoming the standard on modern laptops. It features an infrared camera for Windows 11 Hello support, along with a fingerprint reader on the palm rest. Both methods worked fine to quickly login without a password.

Too many issues to recommend

Between the inconsistent performance, instability, and unnerving display whine, the Prestige 16 Studio is a laptop to avoid. Toss in the underwhelming performance of its mini-LED display, and the machine is one of the most disappointing I’ve reviewed in quite some time.

If MSI can resolve these issues, then at its $2,100 price, the Prestige 16 Plus could be a contender. But as it is, it’s far too flawed.

Editors' Recommendations

Mark Coppock
Mark has been a geek since MS-DOS gave way to Windows and the PalmPilot was a thing. He’s translated his love for…
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