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MSI Modern AM241P-11M review: A solid, sensible, practical all-in-one

Stuart Andrews
2 Nov 2021
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,047
inc. VAT

The dull screen means it’s far from perfect but this is a practical, good-value all-in-one PC

Pros 
Adjustable screen
Solid performance
Good connectivity and features
Cons 
Quiet speakers
Screen lacks brightness
Doesn’t offer true desktop performance
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You might think that the rise of home working in the last two years would have resulted in a new wave of all-in-one PCs. After all, what other form factor gives you a compact footprint and all-in-one convenience while still maintaining desktop ergonomics? You can have a whopping 21in to 27in screen that actually sits at eye level, along with a proper desktop keyboard and a mouse. And there’s no need to hide the system tower, because everything comes built in.

Yet while the new iMac shows that things are moving ahead for macOS, new Windows all-in-ones remain surprisingly thin on the ground. MSI’s new Modern AM241P-11M is one of a handful of new models and it ably demonstrates many of the all-in-one’s key strengths.

MSI Modern AM241P-11M review: What you need to know

This is a high-spec all-in-one PC with a built-in 24in, Full-HD display. It’s built around Intel’s 11th generation (Tiger Lake) Core i7-1165G7 processor, normally regarded as a mobile CPU, with four cores running up to eight threads at between 1.2GHz and a maximum 4.7GHz. The Core i7-1165G7 also includes Intel’s Iris Xe graphics, giving you more GPU performance than you’d previously have expected from an Intel CPU without a dedicated graphics chip. MSI supports this with 16GB of DDR4 RAM and a 512GB Western Digital 512GB NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD. All in all, a fairly powerful specification.

MSI Modern AM241P-11M: Price and competition

The all-in-one market is still dominated by Apple’s iMac. In its new M1 form it’s incredibly stylish, has a fantastic 4.5K screen and the sort of class-leading performance we’ve come to expect from the M1 processor.

The MSI Modern can’t match the iMac’s performance and style but it is cheaper at £1,047 compared with the base model iMac at £1,249 and comes with double the RAM and twice the storage. We’ve noticed that the M1 doesn’t seem to struggle much even with an 8GB RAM deficit, however.

Other alternatives come from HP, Dell, Acer and Lenovo. Acer’s C24-963 has an older spec based around a tenth-generation Core i5 but it’s also nearly half the price of the MSI. It’s a similar deal with the HP 24-df0022na, with its tenth-generation Core i3 specification. The Dell Inspiron 24 5000 is a closer comparison point and you can have a version with the same Core i7-1165G7 and 512GB hard drive but just 8GB of RAM for £949. Lenovo also has some strong business-class ThinkCentre all-in-ones, although its IdeaCentre consumer models also suffer from a dated spec, with the exception of the high-price, high-performance AIO 7 27, at £1,700.

READ NEXT: Our guide to the best PCs

MSI Modern AM241P-11M: Design and key features

At first glance, you might not even recognise the MSI AM241P-11M as an all-in-one. From the front, it looks more like your average business-grade monitor, down to its square-footed height- and tilt-adjustable stand. Yet, behind the screen, you’ll find a roughly inch-thick bulge taking up most of the lower half and containing all the core components, with a wide range of connections on the left hand side and at the rear.

These include two USB Type-C ports and another two USB 3.1 Type-A ports on the left-hand side, along with a 3.5mm audio jack. There’s a USB 2.0 port at the top of the bulge, ready for the bundled webcam, while the rear houses two further USB 2.0 ports and both an HDMI input and an HDMI output. The HDMI input might sound odd, but it’s a handy feature for an all-in-one, which might also be pressed into service as a screen for a games console or streaming stick. What’s more, the screen turns on when the stick or console is powered on and connected, without the need for the rest of the PC to be turned on.

As you might expect, there’s very little in the way of expansion potential. RAM comes pre-installed at the factory and there’s no upgrade path, even though the CPU and motherboard will support up to 64GB. It’s the same story with NVMe SSD. However, there is a slimline drive cage concealed beneath a panel on the right-hand-side where you can fit a 2.5in SATA drive so, as long as you’re not expecting top performance, you could easily add a cheap 1TB or 2TB SATA-6 SSD in there.

Too many all-in-ones sacrifice screen adjustability. You’re often stuck at a specific height with just a little tilt to work with. The AM241P-11M, however, allows you to adjust the screen height between 80mm and 220mm (from the desk to the bottom of the screen) and tilt up to 4° forwards or 20° backwards, making it much easier to get a comfortable working environment.

MSI Modern AM241P-11M: Peripherals

MSI bundles in a wireless keyboard and mouse, connecting through a 2.4GHz dongle which you’ll need to slot into one of the available USB 2.0 ports. The keyboard is, well, fine. It’s a chiclet-style effort with a shallow travel but the layout’s practical, there’s not too much bounce in the base and I reached my normal typing speed pretty quickly.

Shame about the mouse, however. It’s a small, ambidextrous model and feels lightweight and flimsy. Replace it with something better if you buy it.

MSI Modern AM241P-11M: Display and speakers

While MSI produces some excellent PC and gaming monitors, the screen here isn’t quite up there with its finest efforts. It’s absolutely fine for document editing, browsing, email and casual streaming, and colour depth and accuracy are pretty good. It covers 97% of the sRGB gamut, which isn’t to be sniffed at, and 81.2% of DCI P3, with an average Delta E colour accuracy score of 1.63 (the lower the better). The 1080p resolution is bog standard but perfectly acceptable at a 24in screen size.

The problem is brightness. In the User mode where I got the best results for colour accuracy, I could only get the brightness up to 192cd/m2, with a contrast ratio of a mere 834:1. In the Designer mode we hit 200cd/m2 but this resulted in some awful crushing of any white and light grey tones.

The speakers aren’t brilliant for an all-in-one, either. There’s surprisingly quiet and there’s not much weight or body. Again, they’re fine for work and browsing but I wouldn’t want to rely on them if I was watching a movie or playing games.

There’s no built-in webcam, but MSI bundles in a separate 1080p webcam that clamps on to the top of the screen. As it tilts (albeit slightly) and swivels, this gives you a little more scope to get a decent image, and the full HD image quality is extremely good, giving you crisp, well-lit video perfect for online meetings and video chats. With this in mind, the integrated microphone is also quite effective.

MSI Modern AM241P-11M: Performance

With the Core i7 CPU and 16GB of RAM, there’s very little outside of professional graphics and high-end 4K video editing that the AM241P-11M won’t handle with ease. The laptop-grade components mean that you’re not getting the equivalent of desktop Core i7 performance – you’re looking at fewer cores and fewer threads than a desktop Core i5, let alone the mighty Core i7-11700, but the overall score of 185 in our 4K media benchmarks is perfectly credible, as is the multi-core score of 5000 in Geekbench 5. It’s no competition for the M1 iMac, however, with its score of 7667.

It's also possible to get a little light gaming done, as long as you either dip the resolution to 720p or turn detail settings down to low. In fact, our favoured oldie-but-goldie, Metro Redux, hit frame rates of 36fps at 1080p in low settings or 66.6fps at 720p at high. Its successor, Metro Exodus, was playable at 33fps at 1080p/low and 43fps at 720p/low. If you stick to older action games or less demanding RPG and strategy titles, you should find them playable, even if you have to turn the odd setting down.

READ NEXT: The best 1080p, 1440p, 4K and ultrawide monitors to buy

MSI Modern AM241P-11M: Verdict

The Modern AM241P-11M isn’t anyone’s idea of the perfect all-in-one. The design plays it safe, the screen is relatively good but dim, while the laptop-grade components mean that you’re not quite getting real desktop levels of performance.

What saves it, though, is that it’s all very usable, practical and, crucially, good value. You get enough speed for most users and applications, plus ample RAM and storage, at a reasonable price. Throw in the adjustable screen, the excellent connectivity and the HDMI input, and you’ve got everything you need for home working, study and occasional entertainment. Sure, there’s not much in the way of razzle-dazzle, but it’s a thoroughly sensible all-in-one.

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