If you have a laptop, you’ve probably noticed that your laptop’s battery doesn’t seem to last as long as the manufacturer says it will. Maybe you just figured you were a power user, or maybe you thought it was just your imagination. It isn’t.
A company called “Which?” that runs a popular website offering expert advice on numerous topics, including technology, recently completed a year-long survey into laptops made by a variety of manufacturers. Their findings support what users have been saying all along.
With one notable exception, laptop manufacturers overstate the expected battery life of their equipment, sometimes by as much as 50 percent! Here are some of the key findings, broken out by manufacturer:
• Acer Equipment – According to the manufacturer, their batteries should last an average of seven hours and 53 minutes. In independent tests, the actual battery life was found to be five hours and 59 minutes.
• Asus Equipment – Manufacturer’s claim: 10 hours and 12 minutes. Independent test results: six hours and 53 minutes
• Dell Equipment – Manufacturer’s claim: nine hours and 15 minutes. Independent test results: five hours and 12 minutes.
• HP Equipment – Manufacturer’s claim: nine hours and 48 minutes. Independent test result: five hours and 2 minutes.
• Lenovo Equipment – Manufacturer’s claim: six hours and 41 minutes. Independent test result: four hours and 34 minutes.
• Toshiba Equipment – Manufacturer’s claim: seven hours and 58 minutes. Independent test result: four hours and 45 minutes
• Microsoft Surface Pro 4 – Manufacturer’s claim: Up to 9 hours of video playback. Independent test result: between 5 and 6 hours of battery life on each charge.
The one bright spot in the report? Apple equipment actually lasted longer in independent tests than the company claimed (ten hour claim vs. ten hours, 15 minutes in independent testing).
Unfortunately, this means that unless you’re using an Apple laptop, the manufacturer’s data on expected battery life is essentially worthless and should not be factored into your decision-making process.
Which? researchers reached out to the manufacturers of the equipment they tested for an explanation and were told that the company must have used a different testing paradigm to measure expected battery life.
That’s possible, but it doesn’t fare well in the real world, where users have been complaining for years about this very issue.