Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Power HP Apple Hardware Technology

Study Shows Laptop Batteries Often Don't Last As Long As They Say (digitaltrends.com) 87

A new study conducted by Which? magazine has found that "the battery life claimed by laptop manufacturers rarely lives up to reality. "Although Apple's battery life claims were the closest to reality, in the case of some other manufacturers, their laptops lasted hours less than the stated time," reports Digital Trends. From the report: In its testing, Which looked at the battery life claims of 67 different laptop models from manufacturers as diverse as Asus, Apple, Acer, HP, Dell, Lenovo, and Toshiba -- some of the world's most popular laptop makers. It found that while Apple's average claim of 10 hours was proven correct -- and was even slightly better in some cases -- Dell's claims were overstated by more than four hours, and HP, close to five. The times listed in the header image are the average claimed battery life for all of the laptops Which? has tested over the past year versus the times it recorded in its internal testing. That involved charging the laptops to full, then running them down to nothing three times, using online web browsing via Wi-Fi or watching local videos to do so. Out of all laptops tested, the only manufacturer to understate battery claims was Apple. In one case, it claimed that its MacBook Pro 13 could achieve 10 hours of usage, while tests suggested it could go for as long as 12 hours. At the other end of the spectrum though, there were some really egregious overstatements. The Lenovo Yoga 510 has a claimed battery life of five hours -- it only lasted two hours and seven minutes. The HP Pavilion 14-al115na is supposed to be able to run for nine hours, but was only capable of four hours and 25 minutes. The Acer E15 claimed six hours but ran for just under three hours.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Study Shows Laptop Batteries Often Don't Last As Long As They Say

Comments Filter:
  • Where's my shocked face...
  • Methodology (Score:4, Informative)

    by MSG ( 12810 ) on Friday March 31, 2017 @08:53PM (#54155655)

    Which? doesn't say much about their methodology in their article, and their reviews of individual laptops are members-only. Does anyone know if their methods are sound? Are screens set to a specific brightness for these tests? How is that measured, etc?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      How is that measured?

      In metric, of course.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Probably doesn't matter.
      The battery life given is almost always dependent on having wifi off, and doing nothing much more processor intensive than reading.

      I know my promised 9 hours is more like 8, but becomes 6 from just having a .pdf reader open

      It becomes 4 instead if I use my SNES emulator - and this is on a brand new model.

      I barely get 3 hours watching movies.

      at minimum brightness, with the sound and wifi-off, doing absolutely nothing and with just black as the background, yeah, sure, I'll get 9 hours.

    • So what you're saying is you want to know Which? methodology they used, Which? brightness setting, and so on. You can't tell by looking at reviews of individual laptops, Which? are members-only, Which? is really annoying.
  • In other news, water is wet, the sky is blue, and women have secrets.

    • Dammit dude, came here to say NSS!

      I've had rechargeable batteries for 20-25 years, laptops for 10-15 years, and phones for about 20 years. The battery is always the first to go, typically at half to 2/3 of what was promised.

      It sux when you replace a phone/laptop not because it's too slow, but because the battery life went to hell. I quit buying rechargeable batteries some 10 years ago, seems each manufacturer has it's own charging system that is incompatible with everyone else's, and when you take th
      • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

        Only reviewers tend to perform reviews of laptops when they are new, not after several years of use.

    • by BaronM ( 122102 )

      Yeah, except that my MacBook Pro more or less hits specs, also. I say more or less, but it's a 2012, so the battery isn't new. During a typical day for me (Outlook, Word, Excel, Safari), it still lasts a full workday. No compiling, VM usage, or other intense usage, so not everyone's use case, but not absurd, either. Apple estimates are not promises, but seem to me more accurate than others.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dgatwood ( 11270 )

        The problem is that they're accurate, but only for the sorts of things you could do just as easily on an iPad—light word processing and web browsing. As soon as you get into things that laptops really shine at—photo editing, video editing, compiling, etc., the battery life drops to maybe a third the rated power. I mean Xcode, oy, but even without adding that giant pile of CPU piggishness, Lightroom, Finale (music composition)... everything I do in a typical day other than web browsing falls i

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          Best make their laptops really thin, Apple use very small batteries. They use small power supplies too - they can't supply enough power to run the laptop, it has to rely on the battery to provide extra juice when under high load.

          Anyway, to get good battery life they optimised their software to be more like phone apps. Of course it only works for some apps, ones that do heavy processing can't do much about that.

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Friday March 31, 2017 @08:59PM (#54155687) Homepage

    The laptop companies put the things into maximum conservation mode before they test. Are they testing "out of box", or after you go to the power settings and change them.

    Anyone that is technically literate knows that power savings mode are essential to conserve battery power.

    Now, if the laptops were not achieving their claimed rates after power setting was set to maximize conservation, that's a different story.

    • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Friday March 31, 2017 @09:50PM (#54155869)

      Anyone that is technically literate knows that power savings mode are essential to conserve battery power.

      Not with a Mac. That's the whole point, you don't have to mess with settings to get good performance. All of the defaults around power management give you good performance without having to enter some kind of bullshit "power savings mode" to get good battery life...

      It's more like, you just have to be aware of what you are running and how that impacts battery life. Obviously if you are compiling a lot battery life is going to take more of a hit.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        There was a developers presentation about using their high performance library where they explain their power saving strategy.
        They basically said, we rather have the CPU and GPU running at full power for a short time and have it then idle longer, then running the CPU and GPU at a slower speed.

        One tactic for this is their DSP/Image like libraries which are fully multicore and use the GPU to the fullest when it can.

        Another tactic is to synchronise timers in applications. If they can wake up all applications r

      • Thanks for emphasizing this point. Apple is awesome in this regard. The iPhone also, until the last minute, shows exactly the same lightness and performance.
      • Most modern defaults are just fine for power saving. The problem is there's no defaults for how to report battery life in the media.

    • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

      They are probably testing with default settings, which is exactly what they should do... These laptops are advertised in the mass market at consumers who typically won't know how to adjust settings to prolong battery life and will just use the laptop in its default state.

      Claimed battery life should reflect typical use cases (and they should disclose what those use cases are), and should be based on the default settings the laptop ships with. Apple seem to manage this, why can't anyone else?

  • Lenovo x series have phenomenal battery life, my x240 gets over the advertised 13 hours depending on how I use it.

  • One obvious difference between Apple and the others is the operating system. Could MacOS better manage the battery than Windows? It would not be surprising that MacOS enjoy a better integration with hardware
    • Re:Operating System (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Saturday April 01, 2017 @12:55AM (#54156503) Homepage Journal

      One obvious difference between Apple and the others is the operating system. Could MacOS better manage the battery than Windows? It would not be surprising that MacOS enjoy a better integration with hardware

      I think it would be more accurate to say that Apple has aggressively throttled a lot of common power pigs (e.g. plug-ins) and tends to discourage apps from running their own updaters and other crap in the background that keep the CPU from idling. If you could actually halt all those background tasks in Windows, I'd imagine it would handle power management about as well as OS X does, give or take. The problem is that everybody's Windows laptop is so loaded up with Antivirus crapware and other background tasks that the CPU never comes close to reaching an idle state....

      • The problem is that everybody's Windows laptop is so loaded up with Antivirus crapware and other background tasks that the CPU never comes close to reaching an idle state....

        My desktop is kind of old so it is not too hard to find a laptop with more oomph, and yet it spends most of its time idle. I hooked up a volt/amp meter in between my PC and the wall so I could watch the power consumption in realtime, and I can actually see when it is throttling and when it is doing something secretly in the background because it uses 0.86A at idle, and over 1A when it's only pretending to be idle. (It maxes out around 3.2A, on the rare occasion that I can get a game to peg the CPU and GPU a

  • What a thing! Corporations not being truthful about the capabilities of their products! I am shocked, shocked I tell you!

    Jeez people, this is news? Corporations = deceit. Advertising = deceit. I can't believe this is news to people here...

    • by rew ( 6140 )

      Do you think that there is an HP marketing-engineering meeting where the engineers say: we measured the battery lifetime as 3 hours under best-case conditions.... And that at the end of the meeting "ok, we've agreed to market this machine as having 8 hours of battery life"?

      No!

      What happens is the engineers come into the meeting saying they got 3 hours under real-life conditions. The marketing guys say that the competition got 4 or 5 hours, can't they tweak something. So the engineers tweak something and mana

      • I think it's simpler than that. I've not seen an organization where marketing people actually talk to engineers, let alone listen to them, so likely the marketing people have said "people need to work eight hour days, let's just market this thing as having an eight hour battery life" and the engineers were never even consulted about it.
  • Why am I not so surprised!
  • My Dell XPS13 is advertised as 7h.. i get.. 7h. wifi on, screen on, light stuff no gaming etc.
    It's all about testing methodology and the crap you install or not. OSX is better at forcing crap to be off/sleeping than Windows (Windows makes no specific effort in that direction)

    • My Dell XPS13 is advertised as 7h.. i get.. 7h. wifi on, screen on, light stuff no gaming etc.
      It's all about testing methodology and the crap you install or not. OSX is better at forcing crap to be off/sleeping than Windows (Windows makes no specific effort in that direction)

      Both my Dell XPS 13 and my Surface Pro 4 gets the advertised battery life during normal usage. The one tweak that I had to do to my Surface Pro is to change the power settings for when the screen is off to also turn off bluetooth and WiFi. By default these are left on when the screen is off and it drains the battery. Now the battery stays up when the screen is off, similar to the way the iPad works.

      Which goes to point out that you get what you pay for. The Dell XPS is a higher end laptop. Most Windows

      • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

        Do people really expect that a HP laptop bought for $400 is going to last the advertised number of hours?

        Yes, because not doing so is false advertising.
        We can reasonably expect a $400 laptop to be inferior to a $1500 laptop, but that doesn't necessarily mean battery life - the $1500 laptop might be a hugely over powered gaming laptop with terrible battery life.

        One problem i have with most (non apple) laptops however is you usually have no guarantee of components... A given model could have several different chipsets for various things like the wireless or ethernet card and while these cards will nominally supp

  • by Proudrooster ( 580120 ) on Friday March 31, 2017 @10:26PM (#54156019) Homepage

    If you pair down the Windows O/S, turn down the screen brightness, and surf text only websites, you might get the advertised battery life, but in the case of Windows 10, there is so much bloat behind the scenes indexing, updating, and doing whatever else makes the fan come on, it is a wonder that the battery lasts 2 hours. I can't believe the crap that randomly runs in windows 10.

    My MacBook Pro 13" is the only machine that I dare leave the house with without the charger. It will actually get through a day of normal use without needing a recharge.

    Windows 10 has been a huge step back in battery life. It just continually points out the tight hardware and O/S integration is key to good power management. I wonder if price pressure on hardware vendors lead to this point. I guess I can always get a surface with tight O/S and hardware integration, but I quick google search [google.com] shows even this is unpredictable.

    • by Mal-2 ( 675116 )

      I'd agree Windows has something to do with it, whether by not turning off parts it could be resting, or by running shit in the background. My laptop is actually a hacked Acer C720 (Chromebook) running Windows 10. It got at least 6 hours of runtime in Chrome OS if I let it dim the screen, and it got upwards of four with Gallium OS (an Xubuntu-based distro) without allowing the screen to go dim the instant the adapter stops feeding it, and with a Minecraft server running 24/7. Under the same conditions (inclu

    • Several Windows laptops (e.g. Dell XPS) get better normalized battery life than the Macbooks. That is, with the same screen brightness and doing the same task (usually reloading web pages), they get more minutes per Watt-hour of battery capacity than the Macbooks. So part of the problem isn't Windows per se. It's just that many vendors are lazy and don't bother optimizing drivers and tweaking Windows to maximize battery life.
    • there is so much bloat behind the scenes indexing, updating, and doing whatever else makes the fan come on, it is a wonder that the battery lasts 2 hours

      If your battery lasts only 2 hours because of activity while idle then maybe you should actually reinstall your OS.
      If you are not hitting the best power states and lowest CPU speeds when idle then maybe you should actually reinstall your OS.
      If your computer indexes your file system more than once, or is updating more than a few second per day (a task that only happens when you actually use your computer so that the OS powers down your wifi while sleeping) then maybe you should actually reinstall your OS.

      If

    • Think you meant "pare".
  • ... that users actually expect laptop batteries to last as long as "they" say. For me, the battery life projections are more of a perfect-world estimate than one which is reflected in real-world usage.
  • They must have gotten some dud acer e15 for such a short battery life. I've currently been browsing the web over wifi on one for about 3 hours (no videos) and the battery indicator says 10 hours left. There isn't that much but that's a lot better than the 3 hours total they got.
  • Never seen such a huge group of Whoosh-ies.

  • I have a 10" tablet. I can use that thing for hours and hours every day for a week without having to charge it. It's not a laptop, but it does have a nice bright 10" IPS screen (which is way better than that TN joke on my laptop). Both my laptops last about two hours or just enough to view a full movie on battery if I'm on a train or something like that. All the laptops seem to have real battery life of 2 (most common) to 4 hours (rare). I've read this Macbook thing has 10 hours, perhaps that's true and if
  • In other news... cars don't actually get the same MPG in real world driving as their manufacturer's claim. Sources say "the [fuel efficiency] claimed by [car] manufacturers rarely lives up to reality."

Profanity is the one language all programmers know best.

Working...