MSI Prestige 15 (A12Ux) review

Workhorse laptops don’t need to look ugly, or boring. The MSI Prestige 15 (A12Ux) is here to show us how and why. Ultimately, the Prestige series has always advocated for style and productivity. This puts it in a weird position, where it has competitors from both the gaming, ultrabook, and business segments.

This year, it looks like the odds have turned in MSI’s favor, as Intel has released the Alder Lake P-series processors. They offer a nice balance between the H-series and the low-voltage U-series. Nevertheless, we’re going to check this more in-depth down below, so be patient.

In addition to offering a good amount of performance, you get an optional “True Pixel” display with up to a 4K resolution, alleged full AdobeRGB coverage, and accurate color representation. If all of this turns out to be true, you will be off with a laptop that is very suitable for content creation.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/msi-prestige-15-a12sx-a12ux/

Contents


Specs Sheet

MSI Prestige 15 (A12Sx / A12Ux) - Specs

  • Innolux N156HCE-EN1
  • Color accuracy  5.2  1.5
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 8000GB SSD
  • M.2 Slot
  • 1x 2280 M.2 PCIe 4.0 x4 + 1x 2280 M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4  See photo
  • RAM
  • up to 32GB
  • OS
  • Windows 11 Home, Windows 11 Pro
  • Battery
  • 82Wh, 4-cell
  • Body material
  • Plastic / Polycarbonate, Aluminum
  • Dimensions
  • 356.8 x 233.7 x 18.9 mm (14.05" x 9.20" x 0.74")
  • Weight
  • 1.69 kg (3.7 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 2x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)
  • 2x USB Type-C
  • 4.0, Thunderbolt 4, Power Delivery (PD), DisplayPort
  • HDMI
  • 2.0
  • Card reader
  • MicroSD
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.2
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5mm Combo Jack
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera
  • HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone
  • Speakers
  • 2x 2W, Stereo Speakers
  • Optical drive

All MSI Prestige 15 (A12Sx / A12Ux) configurations

#CommissionsEarned

What’s in the box?

Inside the package, you will find some paperwork and a 100W USB Type-C charger.


Design and construction

This device smells premium – it has a super sleek all-metal chassis, which is cool to the touch. The lid is surprisingly rigid, while the body shows some flex when twisted. Interestingly, the keyboard deck retains its shape even if you press really hard on it, which is great.

This machine has a profile of 18.9mm and weighs 1.69 kg. This makes it very portable, and one of the lightest notebooks equipped with an RTX graphics card. We really hope that the slim and light outfit doesn’t induce a negative effect on the cooling capacity of the device.

Not only does the lid open with a single hand, but it goes all the way to a flat position, which is good for presenting a quick project on the go. The bezels around the matte display are pretty thin, while the top one houses an HD Web camera with an IR face recognition sensor.

Moving to the keyboard, we see a pretty familiar layout. The key caps are large (this includes the Arrow keys), but the spacing between them is a bit low. Despite that, there was no space left for a NumPad, which is a bummer. Its key travel is average, while the feedback could have been clickier. Nevertheless, we think that it is generally comfortable for typing.

On the other hand, the touchpad feels fantastic. It comes with a glass cover and is very responsive. Furthermore, there is a fingerprint reader. Unfortunately, the area to its left and above it does not recognize touch input. While the wide aspect ratio of the touchpad may seem a bit weird at first, you can quickly get used to it.

Needless to say, the bottom panel is reserved for the speaker cutouts and the ventilation grill. Again, the hot air gets exhausted through two vents in between the lid and the base.

Ports

On the left side, there are two Thunderbolt 4 connectors, an HDMI port, and an audio jack. Respectively, the right side houses two USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 2) ports, and a MicroSD card slot.


Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance

To access this laptop’s internals, you need to undo a total of 7 Phillips-head screws. Then, pry the bottom panel with a plastic tool and lift it away from the device.

Inside, there is an 82Wh battery pack. It lasts for 13 hours of Web browsing, or 11 hours of video playback. To remove it, you have to undo the three Phillips-head screws holding it in place and unplug the battery connector from the motherboard.

Here, the memory comes soldered to the motherboard. The maximum amount you can get is 32GB of LPDDR4x RAM. Storage-wise, there are two M.2 PCIe x4 slots, one of which supports Gen 4 drives.

The cooling system comprises two heat pipes shared between the CPU and the GPU. In addition, you get two fans, as well as some cooling elements over the VRMs and the graphics memory.


Display quality

MSI Prestige 15 (A12Ux) has a Full HD IPS panel with a model number Innolux N156HCE-EN1 (CMN152D). Its diagonal is 15.6″ (39.62 cm), and the resolution is 1920 х 1080 pixels. The screen ratio is 16:9, and we are looking at a pixel density of – 142 ppi, and a pitch of 0.18 х 0.18 mm. The screen turns into Retina when viewed at distance equal to or greater than 60cm (24″) (from this distance one’s eye stops differentiating the separate pixels, and it is normal for looking at a laptop).

Viewing angles are comfortable. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.

Also, a video with locked focus and exposure.

We measured a maximum brightness of 312 nits in the middle of the screen and 298 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 12%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 7440K – slightly colder than the optimal for the sRGB standard of 6500K.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. In other words, the leakage of light from the light source.

Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work. The contrast ratio is good – 1150:1.

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people on HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows MSI Prestige 15 (A12Ux)’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 94% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of MSI Prestige 15 (A12Ux) with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale, and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 19 ms.

After that, we test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “Gray-to-Gray” method from 50% White to 80% White and vice versa between 10% and 90% of the amplitude.


PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

MSI Prestige 15’s display uses PWM to adjust its brightness up until 95 nits. However, the flickering is with a high enough frequency, making it relatively comfortable for extended periods of use, without the excessive strain on the eyes in this aspect.

Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for MSI Prestige 15 (A12Ux) configurations with 15.6″ FHD IPS Innolux N156HCE-EN1 (CMN152D).

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work

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

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.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount


Sound

MSI Prestige 15 (A12Ux)’s speakers have decent quality, but to be honest – the maximum volume is a bit too low for us. Plus, the entire frequency range has some deviations from clarity.


Drivers

All drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://us.msi.com/Business-Productivity/Prestige-15-A12UX/support

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with the Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. Here, we have an 82Wh battery pack, which lasts for 13 hours and 3 minutes of Web browsing, or 11 hours and 3 minutes of video playback.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.


CPU options

You can get the laptop with the Core i5-1240P, Core i7-1260P, or Core i7-1280P.

MSI Prestige 15 (A12Sx / A12Ux) CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the MSI Prestige 15 (A12Sx / A12Ux) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which MSI Prestige 15 (A12Sx / A12Ux) model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different CPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / CPU.

Results are from the Cinebench R23 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)

Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)


GPU options

Graphics-wise, the choice falls down to the GTX 1650, RTX 3050 (40W), and RTX 3050 Ti (40W).

MSI Prestige 15 (A12Sx / A12Ux) GPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the MSI Prestige 15 (A12Sx / A12Ux) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which MSI Prestige 15 (A12Sx / A12Ux) model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different GPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / GPU.

Results are from the 3DMark: Time Spy (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the 3DMark: Wild Life (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)


Gaming tests

Metro Exodus Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Extreme (Check settings)
Average FPS 108 fps 48 fps 23 fps

Borderlands 3 Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Badass (Check settings)
Average fps 99 fps 67 fps 50 fps

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018) Full HD, Lowest (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings)
Average 143 fps 89 fps 81 fps

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings)
Average fps 86 fps 79 fps 69 fps

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average P-core frequency; Average E-core frequency; CPU temp.; Package Power

Intel Core i7-1280P (28W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
MSI Prestige 15 (A12Ux) 2.76 GHz @ 2.27 GHz @ 72°C @ 59W 2.74 GHz @ 2.28 GHz @ 79°C @ 59W 2.45 GHz @ 1.98 GHz @ 84°C @ 47W

The “28W” Core i7-1280P surprised us with very high power output. This makes the laptop super powerful and beats pretty much everything in its class.

Real-life gaming

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (Max Fan)
MSI Prestige 15 (A12Ux) 1489 MHz @ 74°C @ 40W 1441 MHz @ 82°C @ 40W 1499 MHz @ 72°C @ 40W
Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58) 2021 MHz @ 70°C @ 94W 2009 MHz @ 73°C @ 94W
Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (15″, 2021) 1885 MHz @ 76°C @ 85W 1866 MHz @ 82°C @ 85W
Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2021) 2004 MHz @ 82°C @ 88W 1991 MHz @ 86°C @ 88W
ASUS Vivobook Pro 15 OLED (K3500) 1605 MHz @ 69°C @ 49W 1610 MHz @ 68°C @ 50W
Dell Vostro 15 7510 1729 MHz @ 74°C @ 64W 1710 MHz @ 78°C @ 65W
ASUS VivoBook Pro 16X OLED (N7600) 1576 MHz @ 68°C @ 50W 1571 MHz @ 69°C @ 50W
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro (16″) 1651 MHz @ 72°C @ 55W 1636 MHz @ 75°C @ 55W
HP Victus 16 (16-e0000) 1824 MHz @ 73°C @ 75W 1814 MHz @ 73°C @ 75W 1822 MHz @ 73°C @ 75W
MSI Katana GF66 1675 MHz @ 73°C @ 60W 1660 MHz @ 78°C @ 60W 1699 MHz @ 67°C @ 60W

As far as the graphics goes, we got the results we expected from a 40W GPU. On the bright side, the CoolerBoost option does its job perfectly.

Gaming comfort

Nevertheless, the shell of the machine heated up quite drastically. We measured more than 50°C in the middle of the keyboard.


Verdict

You know, the latest technology from Intel and NVIDIA has definitely helped the Prestige 15 (A12Ux) in its quest to be one of the best business-productivity laptops on the market. Ultimately, the so-called Alder Lake-P Core i7-1280P is roughly the same as the Core i5-12500H in terms of performance.

In addition to that, you get pretty comfortable input devices, and some biometric login options that do their job as intended. This includes an IR face recognition scanner, and a fingerprint reader, placed inside the touchpad area. Unfortunately, this means a small portion of the touchpad is unresponsive.

MSI Prestige 15 (A12Ux)’s IPS panel has a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, and a good contrast ratio. Its backlight doesn’t flicker at any brightness level, which makes it safe in this aspect. Furthermore, the 96% sRGB coverage results in a vibrant image, while our Gaming and Web design profile will help you get the most out of the panel in terms of color accuracy.

Of course, we have to talk about some downsides. One of them is the lack of memory expansion. Another one can make your fingers warm. The slim profile definitely has a negative impact on the cooling performance and efficiency.

Now on the bright side, the lid goes all the way down to 180 degrees, while the I/O includes two Thunderbolt 4 connectors, a MicroSD card slot, and more. Respectively, the internal ports comprise two M.2 PCIe x4 connectors.

We wouldn’t bat an eye recommending this laptop, but its cooling issues just prevent us from doing so. Yes, the CoolerBoost function manages to break through and decrease the GPU temperature by 10°C. However, it makes the laptop sound like it’s being piloted by a guy named Tom Cruise.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/msi-prestige-15-a12sx-a12ux/

Pros

  • Two Thunderbolt 4 ports (either of which can charge the laptop) and a MicroSD card reader
  • A backlit keyboard with big keycaps, and a huge touchpad
  • 2x M.2 NVMe drives
  • Doesn’t use PWM for brightness adjustment (Innolux N156HCE-EN1)
  • Has a good contrast ratio and comfortable viewing angles (Innolux N156HCE-EN1)
  • 96% sRGB coverage and great color accuracy thanks to our Gaming and Web design profile (Innolux N156HCE-EN1)
  • Thin and light aluminum body
  • 13+ hours of Web browsing on battery
  • IR face recognition scanner + fingerprint reader


Cons

  • Gets pretty warm when gaming
  • Quiet speakers
  • Soldered memory

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Giustino Gallo
Giustino Gallo
2 months ago

Qual è il modello con 32GB di RAM? Io trove sempre solo modelli con 16GB.