Laptop batteries rarely last as long as advertised, says new report

Apple laptops are the only ones that meet or exceed their advertised battery life estimates.
Apple laptops are the only ones that meet or exceed their advertised battery life estimates.
Testing done by UK website Which? reveals a large discrepancy between official laptop battery life claims and real-world results. Only one manufacturer is free from over-hyping itself—in fact, Apple performs better than advertised.

If there's one universal truth about laptops, it's that actual battery life rarely matches the manufacturers' official claims. UK website Which? has decided to test a number of laptops to see exactly which brands last less than what they advertise.

The quick answer: almost every laptop fails to meet its official battery life estimate, some by up to 50 percent.

The site provides examples from several well-known laptop models, among them the Lenovo Yoga 15, Dell Inspiron 15 5000, and Acer E15. The three laptops advertise approximately 5 hours, 7 hours, and 6 hours, respectively, of battery life per single charge. Which? has put these and other laptops through several tests, which include browsing the web and streaming video, to get real-world estimates for each device.

The resulting numbers prove to be disheartening. The Yoga 15 makes it only 2 hours and 7 minutes before needing to be recharged. The Inspiron model fares just as bad, just missing the 4 hour mark, and Acer's laptop similarly reaches just shy of 3 hours. Neither of the three test subjects is able to offer anywhere near the amount of promised battery life.

The only exception to these disappointing results turns out to be Apple. One of its laptops, the MacBook Pro 13, claims a battery life of 10 hours; during testing it actually achieves 12 hours. Overall, the Apple laptops exceed their official battery estimates by an average of 45 minutes.

To get an explanation of why the non-Apple devices are so far off from their official estimates, Which? has contacted their manufacturers. Dell has responded by saying that "it's difficult to give a specific battery life expectation ... because every individual uses their device differently." HP, meanwhile, says that different specifications, such as screen resolution, will impact results—a claim that's hard to accept given that each laptop model usually comes with one specific resolution.

Laptop batteries that last shorter than advertised don't come as much of a surprise. With this battery (no pun intended) of tests, at least you'll have a better idea of how much runtime each device actually provides.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2017 03 > Laptop batteries rarely last as long as advertised, says new report
John Garcia, 2017-03-31 (Update: 2017-04- 1)
John Garcia
John Garcia - News Editor
Notebooks, tablets, smartphones, handheld consoles—if it's a computer you can carry with you, then it's in my wheelhouse. I started my journey in tech journalism as a writer for a mobile games website. But the allure of covering hardware soon won me over, so now I'm here at Notebookcheck, sharing my passion with similarly passionate individuals.