The PS42 is the kind of thin, light, and reserved PC you'd never expect from MSI

MSI has spent a decade building their reputation as a maker of premium and hardcore gaming products. After all, basically everything they make, from motherboards to laptops to monitors, is adorned with aggressive styles, black plastics, and flashy RGB lighting. But not the new PS42. It's the kind of reserved and understated design we'd expect from somebody like Acer or Dell, not MSI.

But there's a big market of PCs built for every day use that MSI has left untapped. Sure, a GT75 Titan will handle web browsing and email and killing time on Facebook just as well as a lesser PC, but that's also no the kind of laptop you can drag to a coffee shop or work without getting a few quizzical looks. That's a problem the PS42 is aiming to solve for MSI: it's still a capable gaming PC, but it's one you can carry into public.

Specs-wise you can expect Intel's 8th Gen Core i7 processors, an NVIDIA MX150 GPU, and up to 16GB of RAM. So it's basically a mid-range gaming laptop, but wrapped in a sleek silver brushed aluminum case instead of a bunch of black plastic and LED lights. It's also quite portable, with a 15.9 mm thickness and a weight of just over 2-and-a-half pounds — plus 10 hours of battery life to get you through the day.

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CategoryMSI PS42
Display14-inch IPS-level anti-glare FHD (1920x1080)
CPUup to 8th Gen Intel Core i7
RAMup to 16GB
Ports2x USB-A 3.12x USB-C 3.1HDMIAudio jackSD card slot
PowerUp to 10 hours battery life
Dimensions0.63 inches (15.9mm) thick
Weight2.62 lbs (1.19 kg)

The PS42 is the first salvo for MSI in opening up a new market of PCs with a more reserved style. Don't expect that ASUS is going to give up on their core gaming products. In fact, I would expect more of the features from those to trickle down into these laptops for normal people — expect bigger sizes and enhanced graphics power to come to future members of the MSI "Prestige" series.

This is a surprising turn for MSI, but it's one informed by their own customer base. After a decade in business, some of their oldest customers have matured out of crazy gaming laptops and want something that still has lots of oomph but a more refined and adult design. That's who the PS42 and the new Prestige line are for, and based on the quality of previous MSI laptops I think they're probably on to something.

Derek Kessler

Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.