Which?, a well-known consumer product testing magazine based in the United Kingdom, recently tested several new models of laptops for their battery life while using Windows 8. The premise was to see if Windows 8 does provide for better battery performance with the latest laptops. To put things in perspective, they added a Chromebook and an OS X in the mix, for better comparison of results.
Rationale for Testing Windows 8 Laptops
The laptops were tested for battery life while browsing on the Internet, and for watching a video stored in the computer. Eighteen Windows 8 notebooks were tested, along with a Samsung Series 3 Chromebook running the new Chrome OS, and an Apple MacBook Pro with 13-inch Retina Display.
Besides the type of battery used, there are several other reasons in the difference in battery life between computers and operating systems. Testing notebooks with their native operating systems (Windows 8 against Windows 7) would show whether or not the improvements in the newer operating system had any bearing on the battery life. Comparing operating systems, Windows 8 was supposed to have less processes running in the background, and should result in better battery life for the notebook. Additionally, with more processes running, the CPU would be running warmer, and the fan would kick in and use up more power. Other parts that use up power would be the WiFi, screen, and an active Bluetooth. Hard disks are also hotter and consume more energy than solid state drives.
Windows 8 Battery Life Best Performance
For web browsing, the best performing Windows 8 laptop was the Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M5-518T. It has a 15.6” screen and weighs 2.1kg. It had a battery life of almost six hours. In comparison, the Apple MacBook Pro 13” Retina Display, lasted half an hour longer. Watching videos on the Acer’s drive, the battery life was four hours and 37 minutes. This was about an hour shorter than the MacBook Pro’s battery life.
The Samsung Series 3 Chromebook does not have any onboard drive and the battery runs for three hours and 44 minutes. This is about the average battery life of the Windows 8 laptops tested. On average, the Windows 8 machines browsed 24 minutes longer than their movie playback. However, there were some notebooks that ran longer while playing a movie, than just browsing.
Windows 8 Compared to Windows 7 Battery Life
The new Windows 8 was supposed to improve on the Windows 7 performance, including battery life and overall user experience. The results showed that using Windows 8 could extend battery life. But even with all the help of Windows 8, there are still some notebooks that can only manage two hours of Internet browsing.
In a similar test, Which? tested 57 Windows 7 laptops in 2012. The average battery life for the 2012 models was four hours and 32 minutes. Among that batch, the Acer Aspire Timeline X5830T showed the longest battery life with almost seven hours on one battery charge. In the same test for Windows 7 battery life, the worst was the Dell Inspiron 17R which ran for just one hour and 45 minutes while browsing. In the latest test for Windows 8 machines, the worst was the Advent Monza T200 with 15.6” screen, which was just a bit longer than two hours battery life.
Photo Credit: Toronto Microsoft Store