There is a disturbing trend in the gadget world, and it’s that laptop, tablet and phone makers aren’t taking battery life seriously enough. Yes, having touch on a Windows 8 notebook is great, but not if the computer lasts an hour and a half less than one without that capability. And what good is a smartphone with an HD display and superfast processor if you have to plug it in around lunchtime? We run our homemade battery test, which involves continuous Web surfing at 40 percent brightness, on every device we review. And if the endurance isn’t good enough, regardless of the gadget’s other features, we simply won’t recommend it.
Here are seven of my worst battery life offenders and how much you’ll pay per hour of juice versus more efficient competitors.
Battery Life: 4:37
Cost Per Hour of Juice: $195 per hour
You know it's a bad sign when the top tech story in Google News is that you might be offering an external battery for your product. Despite its Core i5 power and the ability to run both desktop and Windows Store apps, we don't recommend the Surface Pro because its 4 hours and 37 minutes of battery life completely undermines its portability. The average ultraportable laptop lasts about an hour and a half longer. And while the iPad isn't as versatile, it lasted 12 hours and 22 minutes on our battery test. That's 2.5X the endurance. If you opted for the $799, 128GB iPad, that works out to $64 an hour of juice, compared to $195 per hour for the Surface Pro.
Editor-in-chief Mark Spoonauer directs LAPTOP’s online and print editorial content and has been covering mobile and wireless technology for over a decade. Each week Mark’s SpoonFed column provides his insights and analysis of the biggest mobile trends and news. You can also follow him on Twitter and Google+.