In its quest to compete with the existing lineup of powerful 14-inch notebooks, MSI launched the Stealth 14 Studio earlier this year. Just like the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14, this 14-inch compact powerhouse is not only aimed at gamers, but also creative professionals and content creators looking for a reliable portable editing machine. It is loaded with the latest Intel 13th-gen processors, a fast and snappy QHD display, and the latest RTX 40-series GPUs from Nvidia.
But is it actually a worthy 14-inch gaming notebook? Can it match up to the likes of the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 or the Dell Alienware X14? Let’s find out.
Table of Contents
Design and build
MSI is infamous for offering rather plain, black plastic slabs, but the Stealth 14 Studio is nothing like that. The company has made an effort to update its design language and at first glance, the laptop looks good. You can get it in ‘Pure White’ which is kind of a weird name considering it’s a combination of white and black. There is also a ‘Star Blue’ hue which is almost a nice steel grey finish.
According to MSI, it has used durable magnesium-aluminium alloy for the chassis which is pretty common on laptops these days. Now I’ve tested a lot of notebooks in the past, and while the overall finish on the Stealth 14 Studio feels great, it isn’t what I would call premium. The lightweight material gives a plastic vibe, and the review unit I got already had a few scuffs and scratches. In terms of durability, the base of the laptop feels solid, but the lid is a bit wobbly and gives off a bit of flex.
The notebook has a thickness of 19mm and weighs 1.7 kg, which is very similar to the Zephyrus G14 and I didn’t have any issues carrying that around in my backpack. There’s also some RGB lighting at the back around the corners as well as some embedded into the exhaust vents that read out the word ‘Stealth.’ I think it looks nice, although I couldn’t find any settings to change the colours so you are stuck with the blue and pink combo.
There are a few Philips head screws that can be removed easily to get access to the internals. Apart from the 72WHr battery and Wi-Fi card, you can upgrade or swap the dual-channel DDR5 memory and the PCIe Gen 4 SSD. Sadly there is no secondary M.2 slot, so you are limited to just one storage drive. The CPU and GPU are covered with a large cooling chamber which apparently offers 50 percent thermal coverage over the PCBA.
The MSI Stealth 14 Studio comes with a 14-inch display with exceptional specifications. The IPS LCD offers a QHD+ resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 pixels with a super fast 240Hz refresh rate and 16:10 aspect ratio. In terms of colour reproduction, MSI claims that the panel can achieve up to 100 percent DCI-P3 and 100 percent sRGB.
The display panel has a matte finish to reduce glare while the bezels are slim on the sides and fairly thicker on the top and bottom. Right above the display is the built-in webcam which is only limited to 720p resolution and can do videos at 30fps. On the flip side, it includes a privacy shutter and an IR sensor, which means you get Windows Hello face recognition for login purposes.
The display is bright enough with a claim of up to 450 nits of peak brightness, although I found that to be just under that. Even colour reproduction looks excellent. MSI talks about its True Color technology, which is essentially a built-in software that allows you to adjust the display according to your preferences. Apart from various presets, one can fine-tune the colours on the display by tinkering around the settings manually.
Even for a 14-inch display I was pretty satisfied with the performance. All sorts of content looks sharp and vivid with a fairly good contrast ratio. Viewing angles are not the best in class, but considering the wide colour gamut coverage the display is suitable for professional content creation. As for gaming, I didn’t have any complaints with the display. Visuals look great be it high-end AAA titles or fast-paced shooters. It is noteworthy though that the RTX 4060 isn’t as powerful, so you won’t be able to fully utilise the panel’s 240Hz refresh rate unless you are playing a low resource-intensive game.
Keyboard and trackpad
The Stealth 14 boasts chiclet-style keys in black, like the rest of the keyboard deck, and comes with RGB backlighting. The LEDs aren’t the brightest, however, there is the option for per-key lighting customisation through the included SteelSeries software.
The typing experience is fairly good, and should work well for most users, although I wish it offered a bit more key travel. There is also a tiny bit of flex if you tend to press the keys down hard, but it didn’t bother me that much while typing down long articles or playing games. The touchpad is large and accurate with support for all your standard Windows gestures. Even the left and right clicks offer good click feedback. The texture and finish does feel a bit inferior to the glass surface on the Zephyrus G14.
Performance and software
The MSI Stealth 14 Studio is powered by the 13th-gen Intel mobile processors, and is available with up to a Core i7-13700H. It’s a pretty impressive chip, especially for a 14-inch laptop featuring six performance cores, eight efficiency cores and max boost clock speeds of up to 5GHz. The CPU managed to offer consistent performance and I recorded a maximum TDP of 109W while running Cinebench R23 on a 10-minute loop. This is not that far from the rated 115W max-TDP by Intel. Of course, that would not be possible if the GPU was being used at the same time in tasks like gaming. In terms of CPU performance, you can expect it to offer slightly better, than last year’s Core i7-12700H. Here’s a quick look at all the benchmark scores:
The laptop can be configured with Nvidia’s latest RTX-40 series mobile GPUs, ranging from the RTX 4050 to the RTX 4070. The review unit that I got included the RTX 4060 with 8GB VRAM and up to 90W TDP. The notebook also included 16GB of DDR5 memory clocked at 5200 MT/s, and a 1TB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD.
Considering the ‘Studio’ moniker in its name, it seems to be aimed at professionals looking for a machine that can handle workloads that require high graphics performance. The inclusion of an RTX 40-series GPU ensures that the Stealth 14 Studio can be used for creative tasks like photo and video editing as well as 3D rendering, graphics designing, and more.
Of course, the laptop is a perfect candidate for a portable gaming laptop. It managed to deliver excellent performance in first-person shooters like Apex Legends and Valorant, even at its native QHD+ resolution. As for titles like Forza Horizon 5, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Horizon Zero Dawn, I was able to get up to 100 fps with some fine-tuning of the settings. It is capable of running Cyberpunk 2077 fairly well with ray tracing off, but things seem to topple once you enable it. Of course, there is the option to enable DLSS frame generation, which brings a notable jump in frame rates in supported games.
|Games at QHD+ (1600p)||Medium||High||Ultra/Very high|
|Horizon Zero Dawn||95fps||80fps||77fps|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider||121fps||111fps||91fps|
|Cyberpunk 2077 (RT)||39fps||37fps||19fps|
|Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition||54fps||43fps||27fps|
|Forza Horizon 5||124fps||86fps||75fps|
Using the MSI Center app you can switch between Silent, Balanced and Extreme Performance modes. The last one gives you additional settings to overclock the GPU as well as controls for the cooling fans under Auto, Cooler Boost (full fan speed) and Advanced options. Thermal performance is quite respectable and I didn’t notice throttling during my stress tests. At idle the CPU remained under 50°C with the GPU just slightly above that. MSI claims that it is using special thermal pads instead of traditional paste over the CPU and GPU. It does get hot after a long gaming session, but that’s the tradeoff for having a small compact chassis. The maximum temperature I recorded on the CPU was 98°C, and 82°C on the GPU.
The notebook is not that impressive when it comes to battery life, which is common among gaming notebooks. Featuring a 72WHr battery unit, the laptop would last me anywhere from 3 to 4 hours. You can squeeze out a bit more depending on the usage and the settings, but I doubt you can get more than 5 hours.
In my experience, the best way to get the most battery life out of the Stealth 14 Studio was to turn down the brightness to 50-60 percent, switch advanced optimus graphics to integrated only, and switch the power profile to Super Battery on the MSI Center app. Of course, that means a big drop in performance.
In the PCMark 10 Modern Office benchmark, however, I got slightly better results with a total of 6 hours and 13 minutes of runtime. As for the charging brick, it has a rating of 240W, which makes it large and chunky and adds on to the weight of the laptop especially while you are travelling.
The MSI Stealth 14 Studio isn’t the best of the lot and has some room for improvement, and I am confident the company will look into the feedback. Those looking for a compact 14-inch gaming notebook should also consider options like the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14, or the upcoming Lenovo Legion Slim 5. In fact, the model that I reviewed is listed at Rs 1,94,990, which is in the vicinity of the 2023 Zephyrus G14 featuring the same RTX 4060 GPU, but an AMD CPU at its heart.
That said, the Stealth 14 Studio comes across as a good refresh in terms of design when compared to older MSI notebooks, even though the overall finish and quality could’ve been better. The display looks excellent and performs well for all kinds of applications. Even the performance is quite adequate considering it is a small 14-inch notebook. Overall, MSI has made an honest attempt at making a portable yet powerful notebook for a wide range of audiences, and for that, the Stealth 14 Studio deserves consideration.
Editor’s rating: 7 / 10
- Excellent display
- Terrific performance
- Suitable for content creation
- Compact design
- Average build quality
- Poor battery life
- 720p webcam