How accurate is the Windows laptop battery meter indicator really!?

Many of us while using our laptops are actually confused about the remaining charge shows by our laptop battery meter, which is available in the notification area of taskbar. It shows battery power for 3 hrs remaining, but drains within  2 hrs. of use.

How accurate is Windows laptop battery meter

The accuracy of what the battery meter reports and what percentage of a full charge remains and how long you can use your laptop before you must plug it in, depends on several factors.

Most of these factors are categorized into the following two categories:

How and what are you  using on your laptop: Many activities drain the battery faster than others. For example, watching a DVD consumes more power than reading and writing e mail. Alternating between activities that have significantly different power requirements changes the rate at which your laptop uses battery power.

The brightness level of your LCD screen, number of external devices attached such as flash drives, mouse, external hard drives, data cards etc. and using Wi-Fi drain battery faster. So, this can vary the estimate of how much battery charge remains.

Power plans also matters a lot in calculating remaining charge in the battery. Check both the screenshots below:

In one screenshot my power plan is set on High Performance so the battery meter indicated the time remaining 3hrs 24mins at 97% charge remaining.

But as soon as I changed my power plan to Balanced, the battery meter indicated the time remaining 3hrs 38mins at 96% charge remaining. so, your using style matters a lot to a battery meter to calculate the accurate charge remaining.

Battery hardware and sensor circuitry: Newer, “smart” batteries are equipped with circuitry that calculates the measurements of charge remaining and reports the information to the battery meter. Older batteries use less sophisticated circuitry and might be less accurate. New batteries also have an small light indicator on it which can show the remaining charge of battery even if laptop is closed.

Important consideration: Most laptops use lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. Like most batteries, lithium-ion batteries gradually lose their capacity to store energy as they age, whether or not you charge them. Over time, this change in storage capacity significantly affects the accuracy of the battery meter. If you frequently drain a lithium-ion battery, and then recharge it, it can quickly lose its ability to hold a charge, which affects the accuracy of the battery meter.

The practice of completely draining the battery, and then fully charging it, is advice that applied to nickel cadmium (NiCd) batteries and, to a lesser extent, nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries. Lithium-ion batteries last longer if you charge them often, a little at a time, to maintain a minimum charge of about 40 percent capacity.

If your laptop battery can no longer hold a charge, you’ll starting getting a message by battery meter to consider replacing the battery.

Always purchase a new battery from your PC manufacture’s website or retail chain stores or service center recommended by them. Using a duplicate or low quality battery may cause damage to your system and health.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Nitin Agarwal is an MVP alumni and a Pro Blogger. He was awarded as Most Valuable Professional for 3 times by Microsoft in Windows Expert - Consumer category. He is immensely inspired by Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and APJ Abdul Kalam.

One Comment

  1. Tim Edwards

    Got I question for you…probably a dumb one. On my Macbook I see a picture of a battery with a time remaining next to it, I can also change it to percentage…..on my windows 7 laptop I just see a picture of a battery and have to hover the mouse over it to see those details…how do I make it show them all the time like on my macbook?

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