• Operating System: Windows 10 Home
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-8550H
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce MX150
  • Memory: 16GB DDR4
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Input/Output: 1x HDMI, 2x USB 3.0 Type A, 2x USB 3.0 Type C, 1x SD reader, 1x audio/mic combo jack, 1x Kensington Lock
  • Dimensions: 322 x 222 x 15.9 mm
  • Weight: 1.19kg
  • Pros:
  • Price
  • Lightweight
  • Cons:
  • Build quality

Almost The Complete Package

There’s nothing like a good ultrabook at a decent price. Good news for MSI fans is that the MSI PS42 could just be the one they would want, especially if compromising on performance is not on the cards.

As it’s not a gaming device, the PS42 went with a cleaner design with its silver-coloured brushed aluminium body. We like the non-glossy texture on its body since it means that fingerprints won’t be too obvious, plus it won’t look glaring when you use it at a cafe.

Despite being a 15.6-inch device, it’s surprisingly light, which is great if you need to move around with it a lot. The build quality is not the greatest here, as some parts of the chassis don’t feel very solid and give way when you apply pressure on it.

The I/O ports available are a good balance: Two USB Type-C ports (great for those multiport docking stations), two standard USB 3.0 ports for general use, HDMI port for video output, audio jack for headsets, and the highly-wanted SD card reader.

The webcam position is near the hinge instead of the top

The webcam position is near the hinge instead of the top

An unusual thing about this notebook is that the webcam is placed below the display near the hinge instead of the regular spot. In practice, this means you have to tilt the screen when using the webcam for Windows Hello or video conferencing, or it won’t be able to capture your face.

The display performs well by delivering good brightness and contrast levels. Colours are also decent and can be tweaked using MSI True Color, which can also help you do professional calibration if you have a colorimeter. In addition, the matte and anti-glare surface makes it comfortable for viewing even out in the sun. The speakers here are quite loud at max volume and have good clarity. But as usual, don’t expect anything in the bass department.

It has a very good range of I/O ports

It has a very good range of I/O ports

Next is the keyboard, which we were satisfied with. All the keys are well-spaced and have good key travel, so typing on it – even for long hours – felt comfortable.
There’s a few different key configurations made available to the PS42. The higher-end one sports an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 inside, but the one we got uses a more modest GeForce MX150. Although it only has half the VRAM and storage space, it still performs well for a range of different usage, including video playback, photo editing, or some light video rendering. However, we did note that the CPU temperature can go quite high when it’s going all out, maxing out at around 93° C.

CHIP CONCLUDE: Specs, pricing and form factor – MSI nailed the right balance for all three in this one.

(to be published in issue December 2018)