Maybe one day laptops and other electronics devices will run on an endless supply of hopes and dreams. In the meantime, good old fashioned electricity is still required, and that means balancing performance with battery life. To help with that, Intel says it has come with a display technology that could extend the battery life of some laptops to a whopping 28 hours, a bold claim to be sure. But is it actually feasible?
That depends on how well Intel's new 'Low Power Display' technology actually works, and how it's implemented by hardware makers. As Intel briefly explained at Computex, one of the keys to this tech is using one-watt panels made by Sharp and Innolux. This along can cut LCD power consumption in half, according to Intel.
"Through continued innovation with the industry, we expect to deliver an additional four to eight hours of local video playback—that means battery life could be up to 28 hours on some devices," Intel explains.
Naturally there is some fine print to go along with that 28-hour claim, though it's not filled with gotchas. Intel points out in its tiny text that the extended battery life is based on an internal analysis of a modified production system running an Intel 8th generation Core i7-8550U processor (as found in laptops like the Dell XPS 13 9370) with 8GB of RAM, an Intel 600p solid state drive, and Intel UHD 620 graphics, in Windows 10.
"Potential 28-hour battery life projection based on several power savings techniques. Test workload is local video playback at 150 nits screen brightness and audio in headphones," Intel's fine print reads.
That seems reasonable to us, and is similar to how we test battery life in laptops with our home-brewed video playback loop. In other words, the battery life claim stands and is not based on some wildly unique scenario.
Unfortunately Intel did not go into fine grain details on how the technology works, though the company did mention that it's rooted in adjusting the brightness level and refresh rate in ways that favor extended battery life. We're not sure exactly what it entails, but it could consist in part of not refreshing the display as often when there is a static image on the screen.
Whatever the case might be, anything that makes laptops last longer is a good thing, if performance doesn't suffer greatly as a result. What's also interesting is that this could close the gap in battery life between Intel-based laptops and the recent crop of ARM-based machines running on Windows 10.