Laptop Batteries Don't Last as Long as Manufacturers Claim, Study Finds

Fagjun | Published 2017-04-03 23:47

According to the consumer organization Which?, many manufacturers exaggerate their claims on how long laptop batteries last.

When you're looking for a new laptop to buy, there are a lot of things you need to consider. Screen size, RAM, hard drive capacity, and battery life are all common factors that people take into account when buying a laptop. Of course, you trust the specs that the manufacturers provide and make your decisions with that information in mind.

However, what if one of those specs is actually false or an exaggeration? What if manufacturers' claims on the longevity of laptop batteries are off the mark by several hours?

Testing Laptop Batteries

Apple's MacBook Pro meets manufacturer specs on battery life.

Which? Tested the battery life of a total of 67 laptops at least three times each over the course of a year. The group tested eight laptops by Acer, three by Apple, six by Toshiba, eight by Asus, 10 by Dell, 12 by HP, and 20 by Lenovo. The findings show that these manufacturers, aside from Apple, have overstated the capacity of their laptop batteries.

Manufacturer

Model

Battery Life

Manufacturer's Claim

Which? Test Result

Acer

E15

Six hours

Two hours, 56 minutes

Apple

MacBook Pro

10 hours

12 hours

Dell

Inspiron 15 5,000

Seven hours

Three hours, 58 minutes

HP

Pavilion 14-al115na

Nine hours

Four hours, 25 minutes

Lenovo

Yoga 510

Five hours

Two hours, seven minutes

Of all the models in the test, only the Apple MacBook Pro lived up to its manufacturer's claims. In fact, it even exceeded the 10 hours that Apple indicated.

Controlled vs Uncontrolled Conditions

One reason for this disparity may be because manufacturers' tests and the usage of laptops on real life differ greatly. Manufacturers often test laptop batteries in conditions that maximize the performance of the laptop. They don't really test the batteries and the laptop itself in uncontrolled settings.

Of course, consumers don't exactly use laptops in controlled settings. We surf the Internet, adjust screen brightness, play games, play music, and watch videos on our laptops. We may run applications and software that can take a toll on battery life. Thus, the results from these two very different settings will vary.

This isn't to say that laptop manufacturers set out to deliberately deceive consumers. However, consumers use laptops differently and have different preferences. Laptop batteries on the same model might last longer for some users than for others. It may therefore be difficult for these manufacturers to take all these preferences and usages into account.

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