There’s been an interesting flurry of news lately regarding the way battery life is measured. Almost any consumer that has purchased a notebook or netbook lately has likely realized that the battery life (measured in hours) that was advertised to them has been at least slightly exaggerated. That circumstance is the topic of a number of blog posts on the official AMD blog which fanned the flame of this whole thing in the first place:
- There has to be a Better Way
- Objects in the Toolbar May Be Further Away Than They Seem
- Objects in the Toolbar May Be Closer than They Seem
- MobileMark 2007, 60 nits, One Nit-Picker and You
- MobileMark 2007, the Apps, and your Notebook
I agree with the general philosophy behind these articles and trying to get away from “benchmarketing” and more towards realistic, practical numbers that are relevant to consumers. The analogy that’s been getting thrown around quite frequently is comparing battery life numbers as a car’s gas mileage being tested in neutral on a downhill track. The industry standard is currently to use BAPCo MobileMark 2007 to put a computer through a variety of tasks, but much of the time the laptop is left idle, WiFi is turned off, and the screen is very dim. MobileMark 2007, at its cheapest, costs $749. For a full perspective, you can read the full white paper that BAPCo has put out on its MobileMark 2007.
Educated consumers are probably aware that this battery life estimate is a bit on the high side, but the bigger issue is trying to protect the uneducated consumers that solely rely on the misleading, advertised rates. AMD would like to create a system that comes up with an active and resting time frame for a battery life, essentially a minimum and maximum life, respectively. Hopefully they will follow through with this issue and make a formal proposal to the consortium, which no consumer would have a hope to do.
You can read some of the related news articles that have taken this story and run with it:
In an attempt to also be useful with this article, you can find some very in-depth information on common batteries from Apple Inc. and Panasonic.
You can also find a lot of relevant battery information, including best practices to get the longest life span out of your batteries over at Battery University.