Is my laptop's battery life normal for it's age?
October 6, 2011 6:55 PM   Subscribe

Is my laptop's battery life normal for it's age? It's used and I know next to nothing to laptops. More inside.

I've started University and my brother was kind enough to lend me is laptop since he doesn't have use for it currently.

It is, if I am reading the tag right, a HP Pavillion dv5t-1000. My brother's can't remember exactly but we can estimate it's about 4 years old. I think it still has the same battery as it came with. It is running Windows 7.

I've noticed the battery seems to take 50 seconds to go down by 1%, while being open but idle (like, I'm not touching it and like, a powerpoint window is open). I've enabled advanced battery saving options and dimmed the screen past 50% brightness.

I've done a rough calculation that I'd get less than 1h20 min of power on "just have a document open" use when running on battery. (my classes are 3 hour long)

Does that sound like a fair amount of battery life for such a laptop? I've never had anything but desktops so I have no idea what'd be a reasonable norm for this.

posted by CelebrenIthil to Technology (12 answers total)
Best answer: It's not so much how old it is, but how it'd been used battery-wise.* Might be a good idea to see how much a new battery would set you back.

Also, you can't really extrapolate from the 1st % that a battery meter tells you. Give it a run around the block, play some DVD's, game a bit, do some surfing. All three of those will drain the battery differently.

*Okay, if it's ten years old, then it matters.
posted by Sphinx at 7:03 PM on October 6, 2011

Sounds pretty good to me. My battery isn't even as old as that (not sure how old, but I've replaced the battery twice and my laptop is 6 years old), but barely lasts an hour if I set the screen on the lowest brightness setting and am only using a text editor. I don't use the battery often, for what it's worth. When I first got this battery, it lasted for over three hours on full brightness with multiple programs open.
posted by lucy.jakobs at 7:09 PM on October 6, 2011

Best answer: That seems reasonable for a 4-year old battery. Lion batteries lose capacity over time; that's just the way they are. There are many replacement batteries available and they aren't too expensive.
posted by ssg at 7:35 PM on October 6, 2011

Best answer: Even unused and in optimal conditions batteries will lose 10-15% of their capacity per year. 4 years means it is down to half or so at best. Heat and lots of discharge/recharge makes it worse. The battery sounds like it is spent and needs replacement, no particular bad battery issues in this case.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 7:41 PM on October 6, 2011

4 years is old for a battery. My Powerbook battery was down to 30min by then.
posted by rhizome at 8:04 PM on October 6, 2011

Best answer: We use a lot of laptops at work (and they're often used on battery, so lots of discharge/charge cycles) and 2-3 years is about what we get out of a battery before the life starts degrading significantly. Ours are all Dell Latitude machines, if that matters. I would expect a 4 year-old battery to have, at best, 30 minutes or so of life with reasonable use.
posted by dg at 8:10 PM on October 6, 2011

Best answer: this is when you scout out plugs in all of your classes, if possible.

but an hour of life from a 4-year old battery is pretty good. Not only has the battery aged, but a lot of batteries from the time could only get 2-3 hours new.
posted by jb at 8:58 PM on October 6, 2011

Best answer: Nthing that your battery life sounds about right. Replacement batteries are cheap is one for $27 (I just plugged in the model)
posted by fieldtrip at 9:00 PM on October 6, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks all! My brother hadn't been using the laptop much in the last year or so (hence lending it to me) but it probably has 3 years of active use under the hood. :)

It's nice to know it's normal and that it might be ripe for replacement.
Thanks for the link fieldtrip: sadly I am in Canada so it's likely I can't access those nice online deals tough.

I wonder: is replacing the battery of a laptop a very sensitive procedure (like "omg back up your data" sensitive) or it can be done without much fuss?

Hopefully, there should be a recycling center or something on my Uni's campus for the old battery...
posted by CelebrenIthil at 9:05 PM on October 6, 2011

Best answer: For most non-Macbook batteries it's just a matter of sliding two little things on the bottom of the laptop and popping the battery out, and sliding the new one in.
posted by JauntyFedora at 9:44 PM on October 6, 2011

Don't be afraid to look on ebay for a replacement battery. Find a dealer with good feedback and you'll be set. I've done this for our old Compaq (owned by HP) and Dell laptops.

As for recycling, Target and Best Buy stores offer free recycling...just drop it in the bin near the front door (at least in the US).
posted by puritycontrol at 10:09 PM on October 6, 2011

Best answer: Replacing the battery in a laptop is not at all sensitive - just make sure you shut it down first, to be sure. Takes only a few seconds, usually.
posted by dg at 12:06 AM on October 7, 2011

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