Battery life is not any less important feature for a notebook than its performance. That is why we decided to specifically dwell on this characteristic under different types of workload. We tested the battery life with the help of Mobilemark2005 testing suite.
The first scenario emulated the regular user work in typical office applications. Just as during our performance tests, the hypothetical user ran the following applications on the notebook: Microsoft Word 2002, Microsoft Excel 2002, Microsoft PowerPoint 2002, Microsoft Outlook 2002, Netscape Communicator 6.01, WinZip Computing WinZip 8.0, McAfee VirusScan 5.13, Adobe Photoshop 6.0.1 and Macromedia Flash 5. The script used in this case emulated the routine work of a car dealership employee.
As we see, the mobile computer with an older single-core Pentium M processor can guarantee longer battery life. However, the time difference between Centrino and Centrino Duo platforms is only 5%, which is not that bad. Taking into account the performance increase provided by the new platform, the 5% difference seems really insignificant.
The second scenario that we used during our battery life test session emulated the usage model when the notebook is used for video playback. In particular, this test shows how long the notebook battery will last during DVD-movie playback via the InterVideo WinDVD 6.0 player.
In this case both mobile systems demonstrated practically the same results: their batteries lasted about the same. However, regular DVD playback doesn’t really take advantage of the Intel Core Duo specifics, so one of the two cores is mostly in Deep Sleep state all the time.
The third experiment we conducted measured the battery life during text reading. The text was displayed in NetScape Navigator 6.01.
In this case the previous generation Centrino notebook managed to stay on 17 minutes longer. So, book lovers will hardly benefit from the new technologies, according to this test.
The last fourth scenario was aimed at measuring the battery life when the user is browsing internet. The usage model in this case is very simple: the internet surfing is performed in Microsoft Internet Explorer. The notebooks are connected to the internet via the built-in wireless network controllers.
The new Centrino Duo platform performed quite average here. The battery of ASUS U5A notebook with the Pentium M processor lasts about 20% longer, and this is quite a difference I should say.
I would like to say a few words about the lowering of the Centrino Duo battery life one any USB 2.0 devices are connected. According to some news sites, platforms like that may eat up the power resources inappropriately, thus provoking faster battery discharge. The problem allegedly reveals itself if there are any external USB 2.0 devices connected to the notebook. The sources claimed that in this case the battery life night become up to one hour shorter than the time claimed by the manufacturer.
Of course, we couldn’t help checking this out. Luckily, we didn’t find anything like that. The retail ASUS W5F notebook based on Centrino Duo platform that took part in our test session didn’t lose that much of its precious battery life when we connected external USB 2.0 flash drives to it. With all the usage models we tested, the battery life variations stayed within 10% delta margin, which can result from the use of external USB 2.0 devices like flash drives.