Why you can trust us

Engadget has been testing and reviewing consumer tech since 2004. Our stories may include affiliate links; if you buy something through a link, we may earn a commission. Read more about how we evaluate products.

MSI Stealth 14 Studio review: A redesign done right

Thanks to improvements like a revamped chassis, improved battery life and better performance, MSI's flagship thin-and-light might be the most improved gaming laptop of 2023.

Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

MSI's Stealth laptops have long been one of my favorite gaming notebook lines thanks to their blend of performance and portability. But last year's model was a disappointment. After a few years of sticking with the same design, its chassis felt tired and refreshed specs didn't address the system's underlying issues. But for 2023, MSI has given the Stealth a complete makeover including a brand new design, an optional 240Hz display, more powerful components and not one but two sizes to choose from. Heck, there are so many additions MSI even changed the name of the entire series: The Stealth Studio. After using one for the past few weeks, I feel like we might be looking at the most improved gaming laptop of the year.


I've been testing the 14-inch version, but there's also a larger 16-inch model, with both sizes sporting a slick magnesium aluminum exterior that's available in two colors: pure white and star blue. Admittedly, the white model isn't very stealthy, but I don't care because it looks fantastic and it’s super light. It weighs just 3.75 pounds, which is almost a full half pound less than rivals like the Alienware x14 R2.

The Stealth 14 Studio has basically everything I look for in a great all-rounder.

  • Striking design
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Solid performance
  • Bright 240Hz display
  • Up-firing stereo speakers
  • Runs hot
  • No SD card slot
  • Lower-res 720p webcam
$1,900 at Microcenter
Explore More Buying Options

Despite its small size you still get solid connectivity, including three USB ports (one Type-A and two Type-C) and a full-size HDMI jack. But more importantly, there are a ton of tiny features throughout the system that show MSI's attention to detail. On the vents in back, the grille spells out the name of the system, kind of like you might get on a sports car. And in front, MSI has partnered with SteelSeries to deliver gorgeous RGB lighting on its keyboard. MSI also added some small, up-firing stereo speakers in front, which provide a nice upgrade in audio quality from the previous model. You even get a physical shutter for the webcam. Sure, it's just a little plastic flap, but I'm glad it's there.

My two small gripes are that the webcam is only 720p – come on MSI, it’s 2023 – and that the chin below the screen looks a bit ungainly. Even if you ignore how big it is, I wish MSI had gone with a hinge that cut down on the gap between the display and deck, because it can be kind of a distraction to see the rear lights shining through while working or gaming.

One of the nifty touches on the Stealth 14 Studio's design is rear RGB lighting that spells out the name of the system.
Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget


By default, the Stealth 14 Studio comes with a 1920 x 1200 165Hz IPS display, which is a good place to start. However, our review unit has MSI's upgraded 2560 x 1600 240Hz screen and it's a real treat. In testing, I measured peak brightness just shy of 450 nits which is almost double what we got from last year's machine. That makes it great for playing all sorts of games, and thanks to a color gamut that covers 100 percent of the DCI-P3 spectrum, it can pull double duty as a photo or video editing workstation too.


Similar to previous models, MSI has partnered with SteelSeries to provide an easy way to customize the RGB backlighting on the Stealth 14 Studio.
Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Packing an Intel Core i7-13700H chip, NVIDIA RTX 4060, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, the Stealth 14 Studio has more than enough performance for pretty much any task. In games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Returnal at 1080p and max settings, the Stealth Studio hit 67 and 78 fps respectively, which is actually a touch higher than what I got from a Razer Blade 18 with the same GPU and an i9 chip.

That's pretty impressive when you consider that the MSI's smaller chassis means it has way less room inside to manage thermals. Even on synthetic tests like PCMark 10, the Stealth Studio edged out the Blade 18 with a score of 8,126 versus 7,236, despite the Razer costing over $1,000 more than the MSI. This just goes to show that bigger and more expensive isn’t always better.

Another nice quality-of-life tweak on the Stealth 14 Studio is a simple built-in webcam shutter.
Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Lately, I've been playing a lot of Diablo 4 which really shows off the capabilities of the Stealth 14 Studio. You can turn down the graphics to take advantage of the screen's speedy refresh rate or enable all the game's bells and whistles while still staying well above 60 fps.

The two small downsides to the Stealth 14 Studio's performance are that it runs kind of hot and it tops out with an RTX 4070, which is understandable given its size. I tried to game with it on my lap while watching TV, and trust me when I say that it gets real toasty. So unless you have a lapboard, you're better off sitting at a desk or table.

Battery Life

In addition to one USB-C, one USB-A and a headphone jack on the right side of the system, the Stealth 14 Studio also features a full-size HDMI jack and another USB-C port.
Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Coming from last year’s model that conked out after a little more than four hours, MSI has delivered some notable gains here too. On our video rundown test, the Stealth 14 Studio lasted five hours and 19 minutes, which is up 25 percent over last year's system. But what's even better is that it also beat out larger rivals (with bigger batteries) including both the Blade 16 (5:01) and ASUS' ROG Zephyrus M16 (4:38).


The Stealth 14 Studio is an almost complete about-face for MSI's thin-and-light gaming line. It's got a striking new design, updated internals and a handful of welcome quality-of-life upgrades – all in a chassis that's easy to carry around; I've already made multiple cross-country trips with it and it hasn't let me down yet. In fact, the Stealth 14 Studio has basically everything I look for in a great all-rounder – well, except for maybe an OLED screen or an SD card slot (though you do get one on the larger 16-inch model).

All things considered, the Stealth 14 Studio's hot vents and lack of support for an RTX 4080 GPU are relatively minor downsides.
Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

But if those aren’t deal breakers for you, MSI has delivered a system offering a stunning build and solid performance for gaming or anything else you might need. And with our upgraded model currently going for $1,900 (or around $1,700 for the base model), you're getting more storage and a faster CPU and GPU than a base Alienware x14 R2 for only $150 more. So, after a down year, MSI has restored the Stealth – ahem the Stealth Studio – back to its former glory as a system that can do a bit of everything while looking great too.