While that rule seems simple enough, it isn’t always easy to follow. Laptop manufacturers have a tendency to overstate laptop battery life, and sometimes by no small margin. A manufacturer who claims ten hours of battery life rarely confesses that the stated battery life can only be achieved if you leave the laptop running at idle with the display a minimum brightness and WiFi off.
The only way to know what your laptop is really capable of is to benchmark it, and no program is better suited for this task than Battery Eater, one of only two free battery benchmark programs currently available and updated.
The Maximum Load (Default) Test
Once you’ve installed Battery Eater you’ll find it is very easy to use. Opening the program will display a main menu that shows your current battery status. Hopefully the battery will show that it is fully charged and AC adapter is currently plugged in – after all, testing a half charged battery won’t provide very good results!
Click the “Begin test when disconnecting AC” checkbox and then unplug your laptop whenever you’re ready.
Battery Eater will swing into action as soon as you’ve unplugged the AC adapter. The default benchmark is a simple 3D rendering of a battery that moves around your laptop’s display. This will task both your laptop’s CPU and GPU. As the Battery Eater test states, this benchmark is designed to give an indication of the minimum battery life that you can expect. If your laptop achieves three hours, for example, you’ll know that your laptop will last at least three hours no matter what kind of crazy task you throw at it.
The Reader’s Test
If you’re interested in how your laptop battery might hold up during less intense use, however, you can use the included Reader’s Test benchmark. This can be accessed by clicking on the Options button and then changing the Benchmark Mode to Reader’s Test.
Once that’s done, click on the Load Text button at the bottom of the window and select a text file. The Reader’s Test, once activated, will open the text file and automatically scroll through the file time and time again until your laptop’s battery gives out.
You can also test your laptop’s maximum battery life by using the Idle test, which is again accessed through the Options menu. The Idle test is exactly what you’d think – it just keeps tabs on your laptop battery life while the laptop remains at idle.
Testing your laptop’s battery will, of course, cause it to run out of juice. When the battery does finally kick the bucket everything on your computer will be shut down and the laptop will automatically go into hibernation.
Battery Eater is one step ahead of your laptop, however. The program automatically generates a report once your computer’s laptop battery can endure no more.. This report is filed in your Battery Eater installation folder and is labeled with the date that you ran the benchmark.
When you open the folder you will be greeted with a .beg file called discharge and a log. The Discharge file has the information you need, but you won’t be able to view it with Excel or any other program. To generate a readable version of the report you must drag and drop the .beg file onto the Battery Eater executable file (called BEPro.exe.) The report will open automatically in your default web browser.
Battery Eater can be a sobering program to use. Laptops that are supposed to be capable of more than six hours of battery life often achieve less than four hours during the default Battery Eater test. I highly suggest that you run the default benchmark, Reader’s Test benchmark and Idle benchmark.
Yes, this will likely take a while – but remember, Battery Eater makes a report automatically when the laptop battery life gives out. You can turn Battery Eater on before hitting the sack and read the results the next morning. Just remember to modify your laptop’s settings so that it does not automatically sleep or turn off the display, as either function can skew or ruin your test results!
If you know of another way to benchmark your laptop, do let us know about it in the comments.