Laptop battery life estimates are rarely accurate — how they vary by brand

Many laptops we have reviewed claimed to have astronomical battery life. Unfortunately, more often than not our lab checks confirmed that these laptops keep alive for only a fraction of their marketed run-times. Lenovo, for instance, claimed that the ThinkPad P72 had an extraordinary 18-hour battery life. But our real-world test discovered that the laptop tapped out after simply four hours. Boo!

Before the laptop manufacturers “@” us, we perceive that battery life can vary based mostly on numerous testing strategies and completely different configurations. This is why we enable a 2.5-hour window for these discrepancies. However, as soon as laptop manufacturers begin claiming that their merchandise surpass 25 hours of battery life — and our real-world testing reveals that the laptop lasts only some incy-wincy hours — corporations begin tip-toeing into “exaggeration” territory.

By the way in which, just one laptop has reached 16 hours on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which includes steady Web browsing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. (Check out our laptops with the best battery life checklist.)

How they check vs. how we check

MobileMark 2014 (MM14), created by BAPco, was the preferred industry-standard battery life metric used by manufacturers final yr regardless of there being a extra present benchmark (MobileMark 2018). MM14’s benchmark is not as demanding as ours — we each require gadgets to be set at 150 nits of brightness, however solely our check requires the gadget to be related to Wi-Fi.

That being stated, the foremost discrepancies in battery life we have noticed (marketed claims vs. our real-world outcomes) impelled us to do a report revealing the inflated advertising claims of many laptop manufacturers whereas additionally praising the few corporations which have been surprisingly spot-on with their battery life ads. We analyzed each laptop we reviewed in 2019 and researched which manufacturers’ battery life ads got here closest to our real-life testing — and which had been far off the mark.

Top 2 laptop manufacturers with marketed battery life that matched our real-world testing

Let’s begin with some excellent news! Not all laptop manufacturers have been spewing tall tales about their merchandise’ battery life. Apple and Microsoft are the highest two corporations that made battery life claims that had been closest to our real-world check outcomes.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Apple knocked it out the park with a powerful eight out of 9 merchandise that matched our battery life outcomes; in different phrases, 88% fell inside our permitted 2.5-hour window. In some instances, our battery life outcomes surpassed Apple’s marketed battery life claims. For instance, the 15-inch MacBook Pro — and it is updated version with a Ninth-gen processor — each claimed to outlive for 10 hours. So think about our delight when our lab outcomes found that each gadgets persevered for about 10 hours and 20 minutes.

The solely Apple product that did not dwell as much as the tech big’s battery life declare was the MacBook Air (2019) — the gadget conked out after eight hours and 51 minutes in our testing, whereas Apple marketed it might final for 12 hours. Still, this minor blemish does not take away from the truth that Apple’s battery life ads had been the closest to our outcomes — the Cupertino-based firm lands within the No. 1 spot so far as being proper on the nostril with how lengthy its laptops can survive with out life assist.

On common, Apple’s marketed battery life was askew from our real-world testing by solely 48 minutes.

(Image credit: Future)

Let’s additionally give a spherical of applause for the laptops that stunned us as a result of they exceeded their battery life claims in our lab. Three Apple merchandise — the 13-inch MacBook Pro (2019), plus the 2018 and 2019 variations of the 15-inch MacBoookay Pro — surpassed their marketed 10-hour battery life.

Dell’s XPS 13 2-in-1 additionally exceeded its battery life claim (10 hours and 50 minutes) by 7 minutes in our real-world battery life check.

As for Microsoft, one of the simplest ways to explain my evaluation of this laptop brand’s battery life ads is “almost is never enough.” Many Microsoft laptops had been shut to creating the two.5-hour window, however not shut sufficient. 

For instance, Microsoft claimed that its Surface Pro 7 might final for 10.5 hours, however our lab outcomes found that the gadget might stick round for under 7 hours and 52 minutes. This product missed our permissible 2.5-hour window by eight minutes, so we needed to flag it as a mismatch with our real-world battery check outcomes. All six of the laptops we reviewed had a number of shut calls much like this one.

Microsoft is in second place, however most positively a far second from Apple’s 48-minute common. Microsoft was off from our lab outcomes by a median of 194 minutes, which is three hours and 14 minutes.

(Image credit: Future)

Only one laptop landed in the identical ballpark as our battery check — the 15-inch Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 for Business (with Intel). The gadget was marketed as with the ability to keep powered for as much as 11.5 hours, which falls inside our 2.5-hour window since our battery life outcomes got here again with 9 hours and 32 minutes.

Interestingly, Apple and Microsoft didn’t use the MobileMark 2014 metric; each corporations used their very own inner testing benchmark to estimate battery life run-times.

Laptop manufacturers most askew from Laptop Mag’s battery check outcomes

HP’s and Lenovo’s estimates had been the furthest from our lab outcomes. On common, HP was askew by 251 minutes (four hours and 11 minutes), whereas Lenovo was off-kilter by 231 minutes (three hours and 51 minutes).

Laptop battery life estimates are rarely accurate how they vary by brand

Laptop Battery Life

For HP, solely two of the 9 reviewed laptops matched our battery-life check outcomes — the HP Chromebook 14 (marketed at 10 hours and 15 minutes, examined at 9 hours and 18 minutes) and the HP 14 DF0023CL (marketed at 8 hours and 14 minutes, examined at 6 hours and 12 minutes).

The remaining seven merchandise had been flagged, however there was one battery life declare that’s so outlandish, we’ve to level it out. HP gave the 13-inch HP Spectre x360 an absurd 22.5 hours of estimated battery life, whereas our real-world check outcomes confirmed that the laptop might final for 12 hours and seven minutes. That’s nonetheless actually, actually good; it’s simply far in need of the marketed declare.

As for Lenovo, out of 18 laptops we reviewed, solely six (33%) fell inside our permitted 2.5-hour window as a match with our real-world check outcomes whereas the opposite 12 had been flagged. The ThinkPad P72 took the throne as having the wildest battery life declare. It was advertised as having 18 hours of battery life, however conked out after simply four hours and 19 minutes!

Speaking of the ThinkPad P72, right here are the highest three laptops with essentially the most, er, far out battery life claims of all our analyzed merchandise: the Lenovo ThinkPad P72, the Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 and the Acer TravelMate P6 P614. The three fell in need of their marketed battery life by 821 minutes (13 hours and 41 minutes), 818 minutes (13 hours and 38 minutes) and 746 minutes (12 hours and 26 minutes), respectively.

Lenovo and HP used the MobileMark2014 benchmark for nearly all the merchandise we reviewed final yr.

How we tested 

We analyzed all of the laptops we reviewed in 2019, omitting laptops that didn’t promote battery life. We additionally excluded laptop manufacturers that didn’t have at the least six opinions. For instance, though we reviewed the Pixelbook and Pixelbook Go final yr, that pattern dimension is just too small to incorporate in our findings, so we eliminated Google from our checklist.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Some manufacturers ran a number of battery life checks on the identical laptop. We chosen Netflix streaming on this case, which requires net consumption, as it’s closest to our Wi-Fi-based testing. 

Some corporations additionally run checks for various configurations of the identical laptop, and on this case, I’d select the battery life consequence that finest aligns with our assessment unit’s specs.

Using the identical Dell XPS 15 instance, Laptop Mag reviewed the configuration with the UHD show, so we made positive to pick Dell’s battery life outcomes for its UHD configuration.

I then discovered the distinction between the laptops’ marketed battery life and our real-world check outcomes. After this, for every brand, I calculated the common time that the marketed battery life was off from our Laptop Mag battery check outcomes.

Finally, after I compiled an inventory — from lowest time to highest — Apple (48 minutes) positioned on the high, adopted by Microsoft (194 minutes) after which Asus (212 minutes),

Bottom line

This report is not meant to name out corporations for misleading advertising ways. Instead, this evaluation is looking for laptop manufacturers to ditch the out of date MobileMark 2014 testing method.

BAPCo up to date its MM14 battery life metric with MobileMark2018 by growing its display screen brightness requirement to 200 nits, however the check nonetheless does not demand that laptops be related to the web. Among the laptops I’ve analyzed, not one gadget producer used MobileMark 2018 — or extra demanding battery life benchmarks — to estimate run-times. The query is, why?

PC makers could also be choosing MobileMark 2014 as an alternative of selecting a metric that mirrors real-world rigors as a result of it is higher for advertising — utilizing a low-pressure check can assist producers fluff up their battery life claims to win over shoppers. 

But for among the laptops we reviewed, fluffing was pointless. The Asus ExpertBook B9450 boasted as much as 24 hours of battery life, however our check outcomes confirmed the laptop lasted 16 hours and 42 minutes, making it the longest-lasting laptop we have ever examined –– no embellishment wanted. 

I discovered it fascinating that the businesses that had been closest to our real-world check outcomes — Apple and Microsoft — did not use the MobileMark methodology in any respect.

According to the corporate’s 16-inch MacBook Pro web page, Apple checks its merchandise’ battery life by placing the laptops via wi-fi net looking whereas browsing 25 common web sites, in addition to enjoying some Apple TV.

Microsoft additionally used its personal in-house battery check by utilizing a metric that mixes Wi-Fi connectivity, workplace productiveness and net looking via eight common web sites.

Perhaps it is time for different corporations to comply with swimsuit in ditching MobileMark for a extra demanding metric. Yes, I do know laptop makers wish to promote laptops, which is why their battery life claims will be so “out there.” But I’m fairly positive corporations don’t desire their Amazon assessment part plagued by dissatisfied clients saying,

Sure, you’ll appeal to a wave of patrons with the exaggerated battery life claims at first, however the mania will taper off as disappointed suggestions in regards to the laptop’s anticlimactic battery life casts a darkish cloud on the offending brand’s status.

Laptop battery life estimates are rarely accurate how they vary by brand

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