Based in Sydney, Australia, Foundry is a blog by Rebecca Thao. Her posts explore modern architecture through photos and quotes by influential architects, engineers, and artists.

The lies of Battery Life

When shopping for a new laptop, phone or tablet, the thing people wonder about the most is often times the battery life of the device. Most manufacturers have been misleading you on battery life for too long.

I noticed a few years ago at Best Buy that Asus had a netbook that would do 12 hours of battery life, according to ASUS. Then, I looked at the tech spec sheet. It was according to Best Buys benchmark that the netbook would go about 8 hours. Finally, when it was actually tested with the real world benchmarks, it would be about 6 hours.

In another example, Toshiba claimed about 7 hours on one of their mid-high end notebook. When a top journalist did their benchmarks, at idle with low backlight on the LCD and Power savings mode, it would be less than 6. There was absolutely no way to make the computer use less battery life, and it still was very far off.

The worst example I have seen by battery lies was from the Motorola Droid Maxx, released this year. It claimed “2 days of battery life with mixed usage.” Mixed usage doesn’t mean anything, and 2 days in this case doesn’t mean 48 hours. The battery life on the phone is really good, but for the price of the phone, $300 at launch, it could not compete with other flagship Android Phones. The Moto X also by Motorola claimed 24 hours of mixed use, but that was also misleading as it was par for the course compared to the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4.

The only company that I know of that has told the truth consistently is Apple. When they say that you can expect up to 9 or 10 hours of video playback or wireless use, they are almost always correct. Sometimes they fall about 30 minutes short of their claim, but just as often the end user will get better battery life than advertised.

This really is a slippery slope of misleading the customers by bending the truth and using terms like “Mixed use.” The market is really competitive and to some people 2 hours of battery life on a cell phone will tip the scales in their favor, regardless of that actually being the truth. Unfortunately, because of that reason alone, this will most likely be the case going forward.

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