The folks at Which? claim that a new study they conducted shows that most manufacturers overstate the battery life of their laptops by huge margins (by hours instead of minutes).
I don’t believe that to be accurate, and I’ll explain why.
Which? says they tested a slew of laptop models by several major manufacturers by using them to continually access the Internet over Wi-Fi or watching videos until the battery goes from fully charged to completely empty.
The conclusion they drew from the results of those tests is that most manufacturers are overstating their laptops’ battery lives by as much as 50%. In other words, they are basically saying the manufacturers are fibbing to their customers.
I believe that conclusion is flawed because the study was apparently conducted under the assumption that most laptop owners use their machines in one of those two ways. Well, most users don’t.
Sure, these days many people keep their laptops connected to Wi-Fi the entire time they are running and others use them exclusively to watch videos, but plenty of other folks use their laptops for a wide variety of other tasks such as editing photos or playing solitaire.
By limiting their tests to just two primary tasks, Switch? ignored the multitude of other ways that people use their laptops each and every day.
I’m not saying the study was without merit, but it’s very unfair in my opinion to effectively claim that laptop manufacturers are lying about the estimated battery lives of their laptops.
That’s sort of like testing a Ford Focus and a Chevy Cruze by racing them against a Ferrari and then claiming that some automobile manufacturers overstate the quality of their cars because those two models failed miserably in that particular race.
I would have just passed the conclusion drawn from this study off as flawed without even mentioning it on my blog, but several major tech websites have discussed it at length with most of them casting blame on the computer manufacturers. I think that’s unfair to the extreme.
Bottom line: In my opinion this study was perfectly legitimate as a means of testing actual laptop battery life vs. estimated battery life. It’s the biased conclusion that concerns me.
While it’s certainly possible that some manufacturers do make honest mistakes (or even fudge a bit) about the estimated battery life for some laptop models, I don’t believe for a second that it’s either commonplace or as egregious as this study claims it to be.
Routinely overstating battery life by a few minutes is within the realm of possibility. By hours, not so much.
Do you agree or disagree? Feel free to express your own opinion in the comments section below.
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