Battery Life and Charge Testing
Because so much of the value and cost of the MSI GS30 Shadow comes with the notebook itself, we always needed to check one of the key deciding factors for a laptop like this: battery life. We've already noted that the performance of the Core i7-4870HQ is outstanding but what effect does that have on overall power efficiency?
The MSI GS30, despite the 47 Whr battery included within, is only able to hit 3.16 hours in our rather strenuous Wi-Fi- browsing test. The Dell XPS 13, a truly impressive thin and light Ultrabook, nearly hit 8 hours in this same test, at the same 180 lux brightness level. The GS30 is even lower than the Haswell Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro and the more up to date Yoga 3 Pro based on Core M.
Clearly, the added performance of Core i7-4870HQ and Iris Pro graphics comes at the cost of extended battery life. Based on this calculated power consumption the GS30 was using just about 15 watts of power during our battery test, more than double that of the Broadwell-based Dell XPS 13.
So if battery life doesn't impress, does the device at least charge quickly? MSI ships the GS30 with a 65 watt charger and the results are very similar in our charge time testing compared to the other two notebooks we have recently tested. While sitting idle (screen a lowest brightness), it will take you 54 minutes to get 50% battery capacity and 115 minutes to reach the coveted 95% capacity. Unfortunately that 95% capacity will only net you 3 hours of battery life while on the Dell XPS 13 that 95% mark results in more than 7.5 hours of use.
If you are browsing while charging up the GS30, rates increase only slightly, moving from 115 minutes to 129 minutes to get 95% of your battery filled.
I think it is fair to say that the battery life of the MSI GS30 notebook, in a vacuum, is disappointing. The company's decision to use the Core i7-4870HQ will certainly be useful when docked and playing games but is a hindrance when it comes to the mobility portion of the product.