Yes, the most gamer-centric brand on the market (if we exclude Alienware as part of Dell), is getting more and more into the thin and light productivity notebooks. The Modern 14 (B11) is one of the devices that may lay a hand on a lot of already settled manufacturers in this segment.

In fact, it brings a ton of power to the table, in addition to a price that is actually within reasonable margins. To achieve this, MSI has gone for what can be described as Intel’s most successful processor lineup in the past three or four years. The Tiger Lake chips are pretty efficient, and provide a lot of capabilities, should they be paired with an appropriate RAM setup and cooling solution.

In addition to that, there is a 14-inch 1080p IPS panel, Wi-Fi 6, and Thunderbolt 4 support. So, putting it side by side with the Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 (14) doesn’t seem like a bad idea, whatsoever.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/msi-modern-14-a11sx-a11mx/

Contents


Specs Sheet

MSI Modern 14 (A11Sx / A11Mx / B11Mx) – Specs

M.2 Slot

1x M.2 NVMe slot

OS

Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, No OS

Dimensions

319 x 220.2 x 16.9 mm (12.56″ x 8.67″ x 0.67″)

Ports and connectivity

  • 2x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), Thunderbolt 3, Power Delivery (PD), DisplayPort
  • HDMI
  • Card reader MicroSD
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • Audio jack 3.5 Combo Jack

Features

  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Speakers 2x 2W, Nahimic 3
  • Optical drive

What’s in the box?

Once we opened the packaging, we saw a 65W power brick, some paper manuals, and the MSI Modern 14 (B11) itself. Units that come with a dedicated GPU will feature a 90W power adapter.

Design and construction

According to MSI, the entire chassis of this notebook is made out of aluminum. The thickness of the device measures 16.9mm, while the weight stands at 1.30 kg. As you can see, a fairly portable laptop. Moreover, we observed little-to-no flex when we twisted both the lid and the base, which indicates a very high build quality.

Additionally, the lid opens easily with a single hand. And when it’s open, it acts as a leverage to the body, lifting its backside at a good distance from the ground. This not only ensures more comfortable ergonomics but also increases access to fresh air for cooling.

Moving to the base, we see a backlit keyboard with pretty large keycaps. Now, when it comes to comfortability, it is not the best on the market, as it has an average key travel and somewhat mushy feedback. We definitely prefer the one on the Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 (14). On the other hand, today’s notebook packs one of the largest Arrow keys on an ultrabook.

The touchpad is also a bit of a mixed bag. Yes, it is accurate and responsive, but we found that it fails to register a left mouse click pretty often. Actually, you need to be spot on the left side of the touchpad, if you want your input to be detected.

Last but not least, turn the laptop upside down, and you will see the ventilation grills, as well as the speakers. Ultimately, the hot air exits the laptop from in between the base and the lid, but what got us concerned was the presence of a Factory Seal. This is typical from MSI, and we cannot advise opening the laptop, before contacting your retailer, as you are risking voiding your warranty.

Ports

On the left side of the laptop, there is the charging plug, an HDMI connector, a Thunderbolt 4 connector, and a MicroSD card slot. Then, on the right, you have two USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) ports and an audio jack.

Display quality

MSI Modern 14 (B11) features a Full HD IPS screen, model number BOE NV140FHM-N4V (BOE08D7). Its diagonal is 14″ (35.56 cm), and the resolution – 1920 х 1080. Additionally, the screen ratio is 16:9, the pixel density – 157 ppi, their pitch – 0.161 x 0.161 mm. The screen can be considered Retina when viewed from at least 56 cm (from this distance, the average human eye can’t see the individual pixels).

It has comfortable viewing angles. We have provided images at 45 degrees to evaluate quality.

The maximum measured brightness is 365 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 346 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 9%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 6000K (average) – warmer than the 6500K optimum for sRGB.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. The illustration below shows how matters are for operational brightness levels (approximately 140 nits) – in this particular case at 37% Brightness (White level = 138 cd/m2, Black level = 0.115 cd/m2).
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 (a maximum tolerance of 2.0 ). The contrast ratio is good – 1200:1.

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 Modern 14 (B11)’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers only 49% 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 Modern 14 (B11) 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 = 22 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.

Health impact – PWM / Blue Light

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 Modern 14 (B11)’s display is not PW-modulated, whatsoever. This makes it comfortable to use for extended periods of time.

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.

Conclusions

MSI Modern 14 (B11)’s IPS panel has a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, good contrast ratio, and a non-flickering backlight (meaning it doesn’t use PWM for brightness adjustment). Unfortunately, it covers only 49% of the sRGB color gamut, making it an inappropriate choice for color-sensitive work.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for MSI Modern 14 (B11) configurations with 14.0″ BOE NV140FHM-N4V (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS.

*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 - screen profile

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 - screen profile

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 - screen profile

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.

All

Sound

MSI Modern 14 (B11)’s speakers sound reasonably well. Also, there are deviations from clarity in the entire frequency spectrum.

Drivers

All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be downloaded from here: https://www.msi.com/Business-Productivity/support/Modern-14-B11X

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with 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. MSI is supplying this device with a 52Wh battery pack. It lasts for 8 hours and 40 minutes of Web browsing, and 8 hours and 4 minutes of video playback.

CPU options

MSI has chosen the Tiger Lake lineup for their laptop, thus, you can choose from the Core i3-1115G4, Core i5-1135G7, and the Core i7-1165G7.


MSI Modern 14 (A11Sx / A11Mx / B11Mx) CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the MSI Modern 14 (A11Sx / A11Mx / B11Mx) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which MSI Modern 14 (A11Sx / A11Mx / B11Mx) 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.


GPU options

In addition to the integrated graphics solutions, you can get this notebook with the GeForce MX450.


MSI Modern 14 (A11Sx / A11Mx / B11Mx) GPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the MSI Modern 14 (A11Sx / A11Mx / B11Mx) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which MSI Modern 14 (A11Sx / A11Mx / B11Mx) 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.


Gaming tests

cs-go-benchmarks

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 core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Intel Core i3-1115G4 (15W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
MSI Modern 14 (B11) 3.89 GHz (B+29%) @ 90°C @ 35W 3.69 GHz (B+23%) @ 92°C @ 32W 3.57 GHz (B+19%) @ 93°C @ 29W
Dell Inspiron 14 5406 2-in-1 3.49 GHz (B+16%) @ 99°C @ 27W 2.79 GHz @ 89°C @ 17W 2.61 GHz @ 86°C @ 15W
Lenovo ThinkPad E14 Gen 2 3.99 GHz (B+33%) @ 77°C @ 31W 3.99 GHz (B+33%) @ 92°C @ 31W 3.58 GHz (B+19%) @ 87°C @ 26W

As you may know, this notebook comes with the “MSI Center for Business and Productivity”, which lets you choose from a number of presets. For this test, we used the “High Performance” one, and we got very satisfactory results. Of course, this means higher temperatures and noise levels, but you can always choose a different preset if you need better comfort.

Comfort during full load

As we said, the fan here was rather noisy. Thankfully the hottest spot of the keyboard never surpassed the 40°C mark.

Verdict

From the get-go, we could have told that this laptop will provide a significant amount of performance. Even with the low-tier Core i3-1115G4, it was capable enough to go through all daily tasks without a hassle. Even more, it will be good for productivity, thanks to both the great effort from Intel and the extremely potent cooling solution. And we are also positive that, the performance figures will be excellent with the more powerful options, outperforming most of the ultrabooks on the market (equipped with similar hardware).

Additionally, you have the option for memory and storage upgrades via one SODIMM slot, and an M.2 slot, respectively. Well, this is, of course, if you are willing to break your warranty by removing the Factory Seal sticker. On the other side, the 52Wh battery here seems to deliver 8 hours and 40 minutes of Web browsing, and a touch over 8 hours of video playback, which is decent enough.

MSI Modern 14 (B11)’s IPS panel has a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, good contrast ratio, and a non-flickering backlight (meaning it doesn’t use PWM for brightness adjustment). Unfortunately, it covers only 49% of the sRGB color gamut, making it an inappropriate choice for color-sensitive work.

Thankfully, though, the I/O seems adequate-enough with a Thunderbolt 4 connector, two USB Type-A ports, a MicroSD card slot, and an HDMI connector. Good stuff from MSI, not relying solely on USB Type-C ports, as some manufacturers …aghm, Dell and Apple, aghm…

Not in the last place, the structural integrity of the machine is good, with the aluminum build providing enough support for the chassis. And while the keyboard and touchpad were fairly decent, we found the feedback from the former to be a bit mushy, and the latter to have an issue when using the clicking mechanism.

On the question of whether to buy this device or the Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 (14), the answer lies, in what do you plan to do with your laptop. If it is professional work, that requires an accurate color representation, then the aforementioned Lenovo is undoubtedly the better choice. However, the upgradability of the MSI Modern 14 (B11), its capable cooling, and the rather wide I/O will provide for a good daily driver, and if you opt for the higher tier models, or those, equipped with the GeForce MX450, you will be able to casually play games from time to time.

Pros

  • Great performance and quiet under load
  • Decent battery life
  • Up to 32GB of DDR4 memory + an M.2 NVMe slot (beware of the Factory Seal)
  • Its Full HD IPS panel has comfortable viewing angles and a good contrast ratio (BOE NV140FHM-N4V)
  • PWM-free across all brightness levels (BOE NV140FHM-N4V)
  • Decent I/O with Thunderbolt 4 and MicroSD card support

Cons

  • Covers only 49% of sRGB and has inaccurate color representation (BOE NV140FHM-N4V)
  • Quiet speakers

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/msi-modern-14-a11sx-a11mx/





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