It’s difficult to trust computer makers on certain aspects of their product. Sure, you can believe them when they state the number of gigabytes in the drive, or what type of processor is in there, but when it comes to claims of performance and usability, they can be a bit biased. And while I’m sure everyone has their own way of testing something like battery life, shouldn’t we give it the same sort of rigorous scrutiny as everything else? It’s left to the tech sites to actually benchmark battery life (among other claims), but it seems like a few guidelines would make it a lot easier on the average consumer.
We’ll keep it simple, since the last thing a site like Newegg or Dell needs is another interminable column of numbers no one understands. So here’s what we need:
Charge capacity, expressed in mAh. This makes it easy to choose between two similar models which may only differ in an “extended battery.” It also allows people to measure the effectiveness of battery packs and things.
Rundown time from 100%, at minimum and maximum power draw. One measure gives the absolute longest time the battery can last (dim screen, no HDD access, only idle OS processes), one gives the absolute shortest (screen at brightest, constant serious HDD access, CPU at 100%, fans at max). Neither of these are “real life” numbers, but “average usage” is just as useless so we may as well establish real bounds. A consumer can be sure, then, that the battery will actually last “between 4 and 6 hours” because those are actual measurements, not an estimate. Actual power draw in watts could be included, but that might be too much.
Charge time from 0% to 100% at minimum and maximum power draw. Once again it gives a real range, something you can count on. Time to charge while asleep or shut down could be added, but again it might be too much, we want to provide an at-a-glance snapshot, not a complete rundown.
Battery life cycle estimate. This one is pretty difficult, but battery techs have existed long enough that a rough, qualified estimate can be given, say “Most batteries retain 80% of their charge capacity at one year, and 60% at 18 months.” Make a guarantee, too.
That’s all that I think is necessary. It would read like this among the device’s other stats:
min/max rundown: 3:20/4:30
min/max charge time: 2:30/4:45
Battery is guaranteed to retain 90% of its charge capacity for 8 months.
Or something like that. Now wouldn’t that be helpful to have right next to processor, video card, and so on?