LaptopsMobilityTablets

Nearly All Laptop Battery Life Claims Are ‘Overstated’ Which? Warns

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Nearly all laptop makers are overstating the battery life of their devices, warns Which

Do not trust trust battery capacity claims from laptop makers, consumer group Which? has warned, with nearly all manufacturers overstating the battery life of their devices.

It discovered that some laptop brands have less than half the battery life promised by their manufacturers.

The exception seems to be Apple’s Macbook Pro, which stands in marked contrast to the findings last Christmas of an influential magazine in the United States after it failed to recommend the new MacBook Pro over big variations in its battery life.apple-macbookpro-3

Battery Woes

Which? on the other hand found that the battery life claimed by other laptop manufacturers rarely lived up to reality.

It apparently compared the stated manufacturer claims against its own laptop tests over the past year, and compared 67 models.

“Overall we found that manufacturers are missing their claims not by minutes, but by hours,” warned the consumer group. “The most optimistic laptop manufacturers are overstating their battery life by 50 percent or more, leaving you searching for the power cable twice as often as you’d expect.”

However it stated that its tests found that Apple MacBooks could meet or even exceed the claimed battery life.

Which? said that it tests the battery life while actively browsing the web via Wi-Fi, until the battery life was fully drained (at least three times).

“We don’t simply trust battery capacity claims: we actually drain the whole battery from start to finish, several times over, during various tasks,” it said. “One test involves watching films until the battery finally shuts down, another continually browsing websites over Wi-Fi. We believe that that these tests are representative of the real world use that a laptop would get.”

Acer, Lenovo, Dell and HP laptops all fell short (sometimes by a wide margin) during the testing.

The consumer group approached each firm and asked for them to comment.

“It’s difficult to give a specific battery life expectation that will directly correlate to all customer usage behaviours because every individual uses their PC differently – it’s similar to how different people driving the same car will get different gas mileage depending on how they drive.” Dell reportedly said.

HP meanwhile reportedly said that is battery tests ‘uses real life scripts and runs on real applications like Microsoft office.‘, and that the exact specifications, such as screen resolution, will impact the results for each model.

Dell, HP and Toshiba confirmed that they also use an independent benchmarking program called MobileMark to help them calculate their battery claims

“It’s vital to look past manufacturer claims and dig a little deeper to find out what kind of battery life you can really expect from your laptop,” said the consumer group.

Apple Battery

The Which? testing did however give the Apple MacBook Pro 13 credit for exceeding its claimed battery life.

Last Christmas however Consumer Reports Review for the first time ever failed to recommend the MacBook after it found that big variations in battery life “from one trial to another.”

The new Apple MacBook Pro was introduced last October, and the 13 inch and 15 inch devices featured USB-C ports, an OLED Retina screen-equipped Touch Bar, Touch ID and hefty Brexit influenced price points.

A couple of weeks later however Apple released a fix for its MacBook Pro laptops after it discovered battery issues from a bug lurking in the native macOS Safari browser.

Quiz: How well do you know Apple?