Notebook benchmarking: Time to reevaluate the standards?

Pat Moorhead, VP of of Advanced Marketing at AMD, and avid blogger has posted a rather insightful entry that asks that very question. In his latest post he reveals the results of some recent testing and comparisons that question the benchmark standards used to measure battery performance and the factors that affect it, focusing primarily on display brightness levels.

Pat measures the brightness levels of several devices around his home and office and compares them to the standards based on the industry testing tool, MobileMark ® 2007 (MMO7). His results were very interesting and further pushed the question of whether or not the industry measurement and ratings systems are in need of review.

Furthering his data, Pat asked us to post a poll to our community, which we did on the front page, without providing any background other than asking the question "What brightness level do you run your notebook?" Pat also Twittered the same question which resulted in explained answers to go along with the results.

The overall data presents compelling evidence that the "industry standards" for measuring battery life expectancy, and more specifically the effects of display brightness settings on battery life, need to be reevaluated and adjusted for more real world usage scenarios. It's a good read, and hopefully those who are in charge of touting battery life claims when marketing their devices will take note and pass the word along. We want reality, not fictional expectations!

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That's always the problem with measurements on any product. They love to tout some unrealistic scenario to get the numbers 2 or 3x real world results. I think the biggest advance they should mandate is detailing exactly how they got the numbers they got...

For a cell phone they should be saying what their display was set at, radios they had on or off, signal strength... The whole kitten caboodle. Otherwise it won't make much of a difference.

Interestingly enough, I give Apple credit for disclosure on the Iphone. They list talk time, standby time, video, music, and web. They also add important details like "wifi scanning", etc. Question is, why cant industry even do two metrics for a $799 laptop? I see talk-time and standby for $20 cellphone.