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MSI Alpha 15: High power consumption and short battery life plague MSI's latest mid-range gaming laptop

MSI Alpha 15: High power consumption and short battery life plague MSI's latest mid-range gaming laptop (Image source: MSI)
MSI Alpha 15: High power consumption and short battery life plague MSI's latest mid-range gaming laptop (Image source: MSI)
The all-AMD affair of the Ryzen 7 3750H and Radeon RX 5500M certainly provides a powerful base on which to play the latest triple-A games, but the MSI Alpha 15 falls short of expectations in other areas. The device not only runs loudly but it also has incredibly short battery life. If you can survive 36 dB(A) fans when idling and around 4 hours battery life between charges, then the MSI Alpha 15 is a good option for those after a mid-range gaming laptop.

The Alpha 15 is MSI's latest mid-range gaming laptop, and one that the company has distinguished from the rest of the pack. The Alpha 15 is an all-AMD machine, something that remains a rarity among modern gaming laptops. MSI equipped our review unit, the A3DDK-034, with a Ryzen 7 3750H and Radeon RX 5500M, a combination that can easily handle all modern games. The Alpha 15 is a 1080p machine, but it can play the latest triple-A titles at medium to high settings.

The 15.6-inch device currently retails for around €1,300, but MSI sells cheaper variants from about €1,000 if your budget does not stretch that far. Either way, the Alpha 15 is competing in a crowded market, with there being many other comparably priced gaming laptops from which to choose.

While the Alpha 15 impressed us in some areas, it fell short in others. On the one hand, MSI equips the device with a reasonably bright and surprisingly colour accurate display, which also has a matte finish, a 144 Hz refresh rate and support for AMD FreeSync. Its Radeon RX 5500M sits between the GeForce GTX 1650 and GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q too, a respectable showing from AMD's mid-range GPU.

On the other hand, the Alpha 15 does not get as much from its Ryzen 7 3750H as it should. The HP Pavilion Gaming 15, for instance, can extract about 6% better performance from the same APU than the Alpha 15 can. Despite this, the latter runs unbearably loudly. We measured the two fans nearly hitting 60 dB(A) during our stress test and 51 dB(A) when gaming, for example. Worse still, the fans fluctuate between 36 dB(A) and 46 dB(A) at idle. You can enable "Silent" mode from within MSI Dragon Center to combat this, but this mode does not prevent the fans from turning on during innocuous tasks. 

Finally, the Alpha 15 has dreadful battery life. Our review unit needed recharging after around four hours of web-browsing or watching a movie, which is poor even by gaming laptop standards. In short, the Alpha 15 has a small battery and comparatively high power consumption, a combination that is a recipe for disastrous runtimes.

Overall, the Alpha 15 is a decent mid-range gaming laptop. Multiple flaws prevent it from achieving top marks, though. Please see our Alpha 15 A3DDK review for our full thoughts on the device.

(Image source: Notebookcheck)

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 02 > MSI Alpha 15: High power consumption and short battery life plague MSI's latest mid-range gaming laptop
Alex Alderson, 2020-02-10 (Update: 2020-02-10)
Alex Alderson
Alex Alderson - News Editor - @aldersonaj
Prior to writing and translating for Notebookcheck, I worked for various companies including Apple and Neowin. I have a BA in International History and Politics from the University of Leeds, which I have since converted to a Law Degree. Happy to chat on Twitter or Notebookchat.