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How to test your laptop battery for performance and life
When you’ve bought a shiny new ultraportable or you still use a five-year-old desktop, you should regularly check performance and battery life. This lets you keep an eye out for major issues as your PC ages and slows. It also gives you ready knowledge to compare it to similar hardware or hardware you’re thinking of buying.
Battery Tests
Your laptop battery life varies greatly depending on what you do with it. For example, playing 3D games at maximum brightness will drain most new laptop batteries in 45 to 90 minutes. By contrast, you can often watch movies or do light text editing for an entire workday before the battery dies.
Laptops beside themselves
Gaming: To test battery life, my advice is to fully charge your laptop and then let the game run on loop. Many games, such as GTA V or Gears of War 4, include a benchmark mode; once set, it repeats the game demo until your battery runs dry. If the game doesn’t include such a mode, just leave the game running at a busy section. In the screen above, I started No Man’s Sky and let it sit at a section with lots of moving animals and grass waving in a virtual breeze. Perfect for simulating a high load on your laptop! (I’ve posted below a list of popular games a benchmark mode.)
Movies: Well, this one is rather easy. Just start a movie or any video and set your player to loop until your battery runs dry.
Work: To measure battery life for working productively with your PC, you’ll need to use productivity testing software (such as PCMark, discussed below). Most have a “Battery Test” mode, which repeats tasks until the battery runs dry.
For correctly measuring battery life, a simple stopwatch is generally enough, as you don’t need to measure it down to the millisecond. To get a sense of how I test battery life in the lab, have a look at our AVG performance test center.) All of the reported battery tests were repeated multiple times to improve the accuracy of the results.