MSI Modern 14 (B4Mx) review, specs, and price. A couple of months ago we paid a visit to the MSI Modern 14. It was paired with the Comet Lake processors and it showed generally slow performance. There were some questionable decisions made with it, so we are really expecting to see an improvement with the Modern 14 (B4Mx).
Actually, the new model introduces a huge difference in the design, which also aims to improve the thermals of the hardware. Again, we are going to see a thin profile, but now, MSI is implementing a lifted back of the base, which will surely provide a lot more air for its fan.
MSI Modern 14 (B4Mx): Design and construction
One of the key features of the Modern 14 (B4Mx) is its aluminum build. It certainly gives the notebook a premium feel, although its price tag is actually pretty easily-digestible. It weighs 1.30 kg and has a profile of 16.9 mm– slightly heavier and taller than the previous Modern 14. It is still incredibly portable and we are also happy with the strength of the chassis, but you shouldn’t expect its clean surface to remain clean for long … unless you wash your hands every 2 minutes.
As we mentioned, MSI uses a hinge mechanism similar to ASUS’ ErgoLift. This uses the lid as leverage, thus lifting the backside of the base, providing more comfort during typing, and a lot more room for cool air to enter the chassis. An interesting surprise is that the lid can be opened with a single hand, and the camera is placed at its orthodox position– above the display. No more nose pictures for the Modern 14 users.
By the way, the lifted base actually helps with the ergonomics. The keyboard has a single color backlight, 1.5 mm of key travel (according to MSI), and relatively clicky feedback. Now, MSI is using its traditional location of the function key, and interestingly, it shares some space with the right Control button. Weird decision. Thankfully, the Arrow keys have the same size as the character keys, but the area around them feels a bit crowded.
Interestingly, the touchpad of the laptop has a similar issue to the last MSI we’ve reviewed– the GF65 Thin 10Sx. It has a noticeable dead zone, where the touchpad gives millimeter-ish of travel without being registered as a click. Its area is a bit small, but it can be forgiven, because of the great gliding and tracking properties.
MSI Modern 14 (B4Mx): Ports
On the left side of the notebook, you will find the charging plug, as well as an HDMI connector, a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, and a MicroSD card reader. This leaves the right side with two USB Type-A 2.0 ports from the middle ages, as well as an audio jack.
MSI Modern 14 (B4Mx): Display quality
MSI Modern 14 (B4Mx) 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).
The maximum measured brightness is 337 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 318 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 7%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 6830K (average)– slightly colder 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 52% Brightness (White level = 140 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– 1100:1.
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 in 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.
MSI Modern 14 (B4Mx): 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 = 17 ms.
MSI Modern 14 (B4Mx): 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 (B4Mx)’s display is not PW-modulated, whatsoever. This makes it comfortable for use for extended periods of time.
MSI Modern 14 (B4Mx): 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.
MSI Modern 14 (B4Mx): Conclusions
MSI Modern 14 (B4Mx)’s display has an IPS panel with a Full HD resolution, good contrast ratio, comfortable viewing angles, and nonflickering backlight. As Content Creator-marketed device, it won’t be of any help, because of its narrow (51%) sRGB coverage and inaccurate color representation.
MSI Modern 14 (B4Mx): 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. This notebook has a 52Wh battery and it was able to last for 9 hours and 27 minutes of Web browsing and 7 hours and 47 minutes of video playback.
MSI Modern 14 (B4Mx): CPU options
The AMD version of this model comes equipped with AMD’s Ryzen 4000U processors. In particular, we found that the current versions on the market are equipped with the Ryzen 5 4500U and the Ryzen 7 4700U.
MSI Modern 14 (B4Mx): MSI Modern 14 (B10Mx/ B4Mx) CPU variants
Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the MSI Modern 14 (B10Mx/ B4Mx) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which MSI Modern 14 (B10Mx/ B4Mx) 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.
MSI Modern 14 (B10Mx / B4Mx): Specs
- CPU :Intel Core i7-10510U, Intel Core i5-10210U, AMD Ryzen 5 4500U, AMD Ryzen 7 4700U
- GPU: Intel UHD Graphics, AMD Radeon RX Vega 7, AMD Radeon RX Vega, (Ryzen 4000)
- Display: 14.0”, Full HD (1920 x 1080), IPS
- HDD/SSD: up to 1000GB SSD
- M.2 Slot: 1x 2280 PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4
- RAM: up to 16GB
- 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″)
- Weight: 1.30 kg (2.9 lbs)
- Body material: Aluminum
Ports and connectivity
- 2x USB Type-A: 2.0
- 1x USB Type-C: 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)
- HDMI: 1.4
- Card reader: microSD (SD/SDHC/SDXC)
- Wi-Fi: 802.11ax
- Bluetooth: 5.0
- Audio jack: 3.5 Combo Jack
- Web camera: HD
- Backlit keyboard
- Speakers: 2x 2W, Nahimic 3
MSI Modern 14 (B4Mx): Price
- MSI Modern 14; AMD Ryzen 5 4500U AMD Radeon RX Vega 7 256GB SSD 8GB RAM: $649.00
- MSI Modern 14; Intel Core i7-10510U Intel UHD Graphics 512GB SSD 16GB RAM: $949.00