AMD Outs Lying Laptop Makers About Battery Life

How many times have you perused a notebook review here or elsewhere on the net, taken an educated look at the manufacturers' claimed battery life specifications and thought to yourself, "yeah right"?  Let's be real now, shall we?  Most times our Tech Editors here at HotHardware find that a many notebooks fall well short of specified expected battery life.  And only a select few of the major players are smart enough to use careful wording like "up to 6 hours" of battery life or just specify battery capacity in mAh (milliamp hour) numbers. 

Smart HotHardware readers know that in reality, battery life often falls well short of what manufacturers will either specify directly or list as best case performance.  Think on the order of about 50% less than what a machine is listed for and you'll be in the right ballpark.  Honestly it's pretty much unacceptable.  Hard drive manufacturers went through a bit of a shake-down a few years back, with respect to truth in advertising and how many bits are in a byte.  Now, it's painfully apparent that most notebook manufacturers need that same sanity check.

HotHardware Battery Eater Pro Test- Battery Life In Minutes
  • Lenovo claims 4.5 hrs for IdeaPad G530
  • Toshiba claims up to 3.68 hrs for A305
  • Asus claims 4800mAh battery for N10Jc
  • Lenovo claims 5200mAh battery for IdeaPad Y530

Recently AMD became a bit vocal with respect to how notebook manufacturers are getting away with some of their outlandish claims of battery life performance.  The answer?  Benchmarks...  It's a slippery slope to be sure but notebook manufacturers and chip makers are all a part of BAPCo, the company behind the popular MobileMark 2007 benchmark - a tool that is often used for this specific metric in the industry.  In short, folks within AMD are so fed up with the industry turning down screen brightness, flipping off WiFi and ramping down processor core speed before measuring battery life for "day long computing" claims, that they're calling out members of the BAPCo consortium and asking for a new way of measuring battery life. 

Our bud, Patrick Moorehead at AMD, notes that "There's only three endings to this story.  Either the industry regulates itself, or the FTC steps in and regulates us, or we get hit with a class-action lawsuit.  I suggest the industry go with the first option."

Asus Eee PC 1000H Netbook - Day Long Computing?  Try 4.5 hours, on average...

Good show, Pat.  We couldn't agree more.  AMD suggests manufacturers develop a new method for measuring battery life expectancy, with two modes of operation, one "active time" and another for "resting time," which, as Newsweek notes is similar to how cellphone manufacturers make claims for talk time and standbye time.  This seems like a reasonable approach to us as well but when will something be done about it and how much longer will the outright lies continue?  If anyone knows a blood-thirsty lawyer or two, perhaps we could hasten this change for the common good of the consumer.