Monday, July 11, 2011

Laptop Battery Life - Myths And Realities

Laptop battery life is a topic that results in more support calls than any other topic, manufacturers world wide jump would for joy if they could put to rest the myth and expectations around the laptop battery life of their machines. But it is my opinion that this resolve needs to begin with the manufacturers themselves.

When these guys produce a new spec laptop they will always be competing with their opposition, so having a laptop that performs well on paper will help them sell against another competitor’s machine.

It's just human nature to want more bang for your buck, we are a greedy animal that craves more!!! So when we go on our search to find the mystical laptop that blitzes all the rest we look at product specs in the media, papers and our beloved internet. What we find are the manufacturers tested specifications that we all assume are black and white.

Not so.. some of the specs listed are not black and white. There is generally fine print for a lot of the specs you see advertised. Here are some examples.

An advertised 40GB HDD is indeed a badged, stamped and stickered 40GB but you will only get 37 or 38GB that you can use.
Optical drives are also subject to limitations, how often do you see a laptop advertised with a Super Multi drive which makes you excited at the thought of it being SUPER, you then get your SUPER drive only to find it ain’t so SUPER.

You then see the fine print under the basic specs like this "CD-ROM (24x), CD-R (24x), CD-RW (4x), DVD-ROM (8x), DVD-R (8x), DVD-RW (4x),DVD+R (8x), DVD+RW (4x), DVD-RAM (3x)". Its not super at all, its normal.

You will almost never get the extended laptop battery life advertised from the spec sheet, you may come close if you set the machine up and use it as it was used during spec testing which may be 4 - 6.5hrs battery life if the machine is left idle with all power configurations and settings set to low.

Well laptop batteries are the same, your laptop battery life is subject to use, conditions and configurations. Battery life is advertised in hours of use.. what sort of use?? If I watch a several DVD’s in a row will I still get the advertised 4 or 6 hours extended battery life?
The answer is most likely no, in fact to get 1 movie in before your laptop starts beeping at you to plug it in is good. This may lead you to believe that there is a problem with the battery or the machine, you call the helpdesk and they then inform you of the limitations.

It's important to note that a laptops battery life is directly affected by what function you perform. As you use different devices in the machine the power consumption changes, some devices use more or less power than others. As a conclusion to all this your laptop battery will last as long as it can subject to what you are doing with your machine.

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