The Finer Points Of Evaluating Battery Life

Our increasingly mobile lifestyles force us to rely heavily on our device’s batteries. We’re constantly seeking to get a little extra juice out of our laptops, phones, and tablets. Tablets, in particular, have become a prominent platform for both the home and office, and we rely on them to feature better battery life than many of our other devices. While some tablets boast 12+ hours of battery life, it’s important to understand that these devices are much more than just a battery — the rest of the device’s hardware specifications may have even more to do with battery life than the actual battery does.

For example, it’s a common misconception that so-called “power-efficient” processors may drain batteries slower, therefore giving you a device that can put in a full day of work. In many cases the opposite is true. Full-powered processors that perform computations quickly and efficiently can actually have less impact on a device’s battery by completing tasks and returning the device to a resting state faster.

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Battery life is also dependent on many factors beyond processing speed. While primarily a concern for laptops and 2-in-1 devices, connected peripherals like external hard drives and speakers may leach battery life from your device, lowering the probability that you’ll make it through the day without a charge. Other factors that determine your device’s battery life include your operating system, number of running programs, and whether or not you’re running an animated wallpaper.

Operating System & Battery Life

Some operating systems are optimized to work in conjunction with your device’s processor to optimize battery life. Google and Microsoft coordinate with chip makers in order to ensure tablet processors are designed with a specific mobile operating system in mind. Additionally, your operating system may have power-saving features that allow you to control display brightness and other settings to decrease power consumption.

Wallpapers & Background Processes

Some of the biggest battery killers hide behind the scenes. While animated wallpapers can be a fun way to personalize your device, enabling them on your tablet can drain your battery faster than you want. The animations represent a persistent task that your processor has to run, which lowers power efficiency.

In addition to your wallpaper, the number of apps running in the background can significantly affect your battery life. To keep them in check, consider quitting any applications not in immediate use in order to give your processor and battery a rest.

These are only a few factors that determine your device’s battery life. To learn more, read the blog Breaking Down Battery Life. You can also get a  comprehensive look at how your device distributes power, by checking out this white paper on evaluating battery life.