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We need some new Non BS measurements for laptop battery life

ultimatebob

Lifer
Jul 1, 2001
23,650
1,528
126
I would love to see Anandtech (or some other laptop reviewer) come up with a real-life based laptop battery torture test for measuring worst case battery life.

Most laptop reviews include a weak laptop battery test that has them using something lightweight application like web browser or Microsoft Office for 8 hours, and then proudly parrot the manufacturers claim that the laptop has "all day" battery life.

Of course, if you try to play a game or even try to stream a movie from Netflix from one of these laptops unplugged, you would be lucky to get 3 hours of battery life.

That's why I propose adding the "Ultimatebob's no BS Battery Torture Test" to the review:

1) Charge the laptop up to 100%
2) Fire up a web browser, bring up Netflix and attempt to stream every episode of Black Mirror in full screen mode at 80% screen brightness and 80% volume. You know, like someone trying to binge-watch a series during the weekend would actually do.
3) The test doesn't end until the laptop puts itself into hibernation mode due to critical battery.

My hunch is that most new laptops would last less than 4 hours.

If that battery torture test isn't enough, I'd recommend an alternate test where you try to play Civilization VI at recommended quality settings unplugged with the same screen brightness and volume constraints. Between the CPU usage, GPU usage, and screen runtime I would expect most new laptops to run less than 3 hours.

Is that really a fair represention of actual daily laptop usage? Probably not, but I'd rather know the worst case scenario upfront instead of the best case scenario that the manufacturers offer in their estimates.
 
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Commodus

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 2004
8,230
5,326
136
The tricky bit is automating things in a way that produces consistent results. You couldn't just ask someone to play a game non-stop, for example, as even slight variances in gameplay could skew the results.

Part of the issue is that many Windows laptop makers are simply dishonest about benchmarks. They'll quote figures that only hold up so long as you aren't doing anything even remotely stressful — not even web browsing. Like those companies that tout 18 hours of battery life, but only if you don't touch the system at all.

I mentioned Windows because Apple seems to be more honest about battery life. If it says 18 hours, it means 18 hours doing something (even if it's just watching Apple TV+ video on loop) and still tends to do well in real life. I know some people with M1 MacBooks who can last an extended workday without having to hold back on app use.
 

damian101

Senior member
Aug 11, 2020
265
98
61
Screen brightness and loudness of the speakers would need to be set as close as possible to a standardized level, not "80%", otherwise you'd skew the results and encourage laptop manufacturers to put dim displays and quiet speakers in their laptops.

I also think calling this a "torture test" is misleading, that term is pretty much never used for real-time applications. And you want real-time applications for battery life comparison tests, otherwise you'd skew the results in favor of laptops with weak CPUs.
Which is probably also the reason why the chosen real-time workloads are normally so light, to adapt to the laptops with the weakest hardware.
 

damian101

Senior member
Aug 11, 2020
265
98
61
I think one battery life test isn't enough. Different systems can perform very differently under idle, low, medium and heavy CPU load. To actually give useful information to all types of users you'd need to measure battery life under different real-time workloads with different intensity. Laptops that fail to perform those real-time tasks correctly (by dropping frames for example, or not finishing a workload before the next one is supposed to start) would need to be excluded from that specific test.
Battery results for GPU workloads on integrated and dedicated GPU would also be quite interesting.
 

EXCellR8

Diamond Member
Sep 1, 2010
3,887
788
136
Yea there are way too many variables and considerations in determining a battery's "here's the final number" rating.

A torture test isn't a good method because one could argue that a battery's life could be longer if you didn't go out of your way to drain it.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
50,897
6,312
126
I think that they should have at least
1) Web browsing workload
2) Movie watching workload
3) Gaming (if applicable) workload
 

Commodus

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 2004
8,230
5,326
136
I think that they should have at least
1) Web browsing workload
2) Movie watching workload
3) Gaming (if applicable) workload
Agreed. Not to bring up Apple too often, but I do appreciate that it did those first two (like you suggested, the third isn't really applicable) for M1 Macs. You know how different content types will affect battery life.
 

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