Home Hardware Laptop battery life claims over the top: study

Laptop battery life claims over the top: study

Apple apart, laptop manufacturers make overblown claims about battery life, with the reality being a fair bit removed from the claims.

A study of 67 laptops by the British consumer body Which? found that most of the brands were overstating the battery life that could be obtained.

The laptop brands that Which? tested were Acer (8), Apple (3), Asus (8), Dell (10), HP (12), Lenovo (20), Toshiba (6).

The tests were standard, with one involving watching films until the battery ran out, and the second involving continuous browsing on Wi-Fi until the device died.

In both tests, the battery was first fully charged. And each laptop was tested at least thrice.

battery life

Graphic courtesy Which?

The results of some tests:

Lenovo Yoga 510

Claimed battery life: 5 hours.

Tests: 2 hours 7 minutes.

Apple MacBook Pro 13

Claimed battery life: 10 hours.

Tests: 12 hours.

HP Pavilion 14-al115na

Claimed battery life: 9 hours.

Tests: 4 hours 25 minutes.

Dell Inspiron 15 5000

Claimed battery life 7 hours

Tests: 3 hours 58 minutes.

Acer E15

Claimed battery life: 6 hours.

Tests: 2 hours 56 minutes.

Which? asked the manufacturers about these discrepancies between claims and reality and some responded.

Dell said: "It's difficult to give a specific battery life expectation that will directly correlate to all customer usage behaviours because every individual uses their PC differently – it's similar to how different people driving the same car will get different gas mileage depending on how they drive."

HP's response was that its battery tests "used real life scripts and runs on real applications like Microsoft Office" and that the exact specifications, such as screen resolution, would affect results for each model.


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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.