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ASUS ZenBook UX31E Battery

All four new ThinkPad T Series laptops -- the T460s, T460, T460p and T560 -- will be available starting in February.In my recent series of articles, I showed you how to configure Power & Sleep Settings and use Windows 10's new Battery Saver feature to configure, monitor, and conserve your mobile device's battery power. Throughout the course of writing these articles I've heard from lots of readers who are experiencing shorter battery life and believe that Windows 10 is the culprit. Of course, many factors can come into play and drain a battery at different rates at different times, so generally speaking it is hard to say exactly what the cause could be.

However, you still need to keep in mind that batteries don't last forever and over time will hold less and less charge until they eventually wear out. To assist you in keeping tabs on the battery itself, Windows 10 (and Windows 8) provides you with a tool for creating a detailed report about the battery in your system. Actually, the report is created by using a special parameter with the PowerCfg command. Let's take a closer look.

Launching the PowerCfg command and running the Battery Report is easy once you know how. To begin, you'll need to open an Administrator Command Prompt, which you can do by right-clicking on the Start button and selecting the Command Prompt (Admin) command. Then, type the command:Now, just type battery-report.html on the command line. When the Battery Report page loads in your browser, you'll have to scroll down to view the entire report. As you'll see, it contains six sections plus the header. To make it easier to look at the report in this article, I have divided my screen shot of the report into separate images corresponding to each section.

The top of the report, shown in Figure B, provides some general information about the computer, including the name assigned to the system, the brand and model of the device, the BIOS version and date, and the operating system build number. It also displays an item called Platform Role, which as you can see is identified as Mobile for this laptop. The next item in this section is Connected Standby. As you can see, this particular laptop is listed as Not Supported. The final item shows the date and time that the report was run.

In the case of my example system, the Chemistry is listed as Lilo, which indicates that this is a Lithium battery. The next item is Design Capacity. It represents the amount of a charge that the battery was designed to hold. The value is represented as mWh, which stands for milliwatt hours. (Laptop batteries have a voltage rating (V) and milli-Amp hours (mAH) rating, and they're multiplied together to come up with the milliwatt hours capacity.)

Following Design Capacity is the Full Charge Capacity, which represents the amount of charge that the battery will actually hold. In the case of my example system, the full charge capacity is actually less than the design capacity. This drop in capacity is directly related to the age of the battery. This battery is two years old, and we'll find more detail when we get to the Battery Capacity History section in a moment.

The last item in this section is called Cycle Count. This value indicates the number of times the battery has used up 100% of its charge. For example, a cycle could be measured each time the battery has run all the way down and then been recharged. A cycle could also be the result of discharging to 50%, charging to full, then discharging to 50% again. Batteries can go through a limited number of cycles before they are considered consumed. The maximum cycle count value will vary depending on a number of factors, but the battery manufacturer will list a maximum count value in the battery's specifications.

You may have noticed that the cycle count on my example system is not being reported. Unfortunately, I've found this to be the case on many systems I've investigated.In the Recent Usage section, shown in Figure D, you'll find a table that lists the power states—Active or Suspended—that the system has gone through over the last three days. It indicates the time the system started, whether the power source was the battery or AC, and the remaining capacity of the battery at the time the entry was made. The capacity remaining shows the percentage as well as the mWh.

The Battery Usage section features a chart and a table that indicates the date and time for each instance when the battery was drained over the last three days. As you can see in Figure E, after one hour and 16 minutes of use on November 30, the battery on this laptop was drained 55% and that equated to 13,142 mWh being used.

In the Usage History section, shown in Figure F, you'll find a table that displays the history of system usage on both AC and battery power. The first column shows a usage period—typically seven days—and this may or may not be consecutive set of days, depending on how often you use your system. The table also lists how many hours and minutes within the specified time period the system ran on the battery and how long it ran on AC power.

The Battery Capacity History section, shown in Figure G, displays the charge capacity history of the system's battery. This table lists both the full charge capacity and the design capacity, along with a usage period, thus providing you with a way to track the health of your battery over time.For example, you can see that when I first started using this laptop in September 2013 with Windows 8, the full charge capacity was close to the design capacity—about a 3,000 mWh difference. This is pretty typical.

My example Battery Report also shows that with regular use the first year, the full charge capacity steadily dropped during each measurement period. The difference ended up being a drop of 8,176 mWh.After the second year, the full charge capacity continued to drop. The difference ended up being a drop of 3,670 mWh, as shown in Figure H. So over a two-year period, the full charge capacity dropped 11,846 mWh. Over the last several months the full charge capacity has leveled out.As they say, your mileage may vary—but chances are good that you'll see that your battery is no longer charging to its original full capacity.

Battery Life Estimates
At the end of the report is the Battery Life Estimates section. It includes a table that indicates how long you can expect the battery to last at full charge capacity and at design capacity. These estimates are based on the observed drains. This too will provide you with a good indication of the health of your battery.As you can see in Figure I, when I first started using this system, I could get about three and half hours of use on a full battery charge; today, I get only about two hours.Have you run the Battery Report on your Windows 10 system? Have you discovered a drop in the full charge capacity? What's your laptop's battery life estimate? Share your experiences in the discussion thread below.

The non-touch version of the Dell XPS 13 lasted for a very strong 11 hours and 54 minutes on the Laptop Battery Test, which involves continuous surfing over Wi-Fi at 100 nits of brightness. However, when you use the laptop, its endurance will vary, based on the screen brightness, the workload and your configuration (the 4K screen gets much lower battery life). Here are some tips to increase your XPS 13's battery life.In December 2015, Dell released a BIOS update the improved the XPS 13's battery life by almost 25 percent. Our review unit went from 9 hours and 37 minutes to 11 hours and 54 minutes. Go here to find out if you require a BIOS update and to learn how to install it.

The display on the XPS 13 can get quite bright, registering 318 nits on our light meter. The display is one of the largest power drains on any computer, and keeping it at 100 percent brightness is a sure way to burn through your battery.While the computer lasted an impressive 11:54 at 100 nits, you might want to dim it further if you're in a pinch. We tried dimming it to 10 percent (20 nits), which was dark but still legible, and the laptop ran for ran 38 minutes longer, a total of 12:32.The XPS 13's battery settings offer an option to lower your TDP, which stands for Thermal Design Power. This is the highest amount of heat that your CPU will produce when running, and the CPU tends to produce more heat at high performance level. If you lower your TDP, your CPU won't perform as strongly, but it may save some battery life.

When we ran the Laptop Mag Battery Test at 100 nits of brightness (our standard for the test) but with Low TDP settings, the XPS 13 lasted 12:38, 44 minutes longer than our original test. We ran Geekbench 3 on low TDP settings to see if performance would take a hit, but didn't see any noticeable difference. If you're running intensive programs, you may see some stuttering when utilizing this function.A HTML5 exploit has left web users vulnerable to online tracking according to a new scientific report.

'The leaking battery: A privacy analysis of the HTML5 Battery Status API’ from French and Belgian security researchers claimed that web users can be tracked by websites through their smartphone and laptop battery updates.The HTML5 Battery Status API gives websites access to in-depth information including battery level, the length of time it charged for and its discharging time, which is almost entirely unique to each user. This enables devices to be monitored for short windows.

The research read: “HTML5 Battery Status API enables websites to access the battery state of a mobile device or a laptop. Using the API, websites can check the battery level of a device and use this information to switch between energy-saving or high-performance modes. All the information exposed by the Battery Status API is available without users’ permission or awareness.“We hope to draw attention to this privacy issue by demonstrating the ways to abuse the API for fingerprinting and tracking”Even web users masking their IP addresses using services such as TOR were monitored using the exploit. As a solution, researchers argued that by rounding readings to the nearest full number, the homogenised data left devices under lessened risk of identification.Battery technology may not have changed much in the last couple decades, but common knowledge is even worse.Many people believe the limitations of nickel-based batteries that were prevalent in the early '90s still apply to the more modern lithium ion and lithium polymer technologies we use today.

The Yoga 900S tips the scales right around 1 kg (2.2 pounds) and measures only a half of an inch (12.8mm) thick when closed. Those measurements make the Yoga 900S barely heavier than a MacBook and just a bit thinner. Although we could easily complain about the Yoga failing to best the weight of the MacBook, those measurements are all the more impressive when you consider that the Yoga 900S includes a touchscreen, two full-size USB ports and a 360-degree hinge … all while Apple is content to offer none of those things with the MacBook.

Lenovo engineers weren’t content to simply deliver a premium 2-in-1 that’s thinner than a MacBook. The Lenovo Yoga 900S offers the same USB-C port you’ll find on a MacBook but the Yoga also includes two full-sized USB 3.0 ports (one of which doubles are the AC power jack).The right side of the notebook also contains a standard headphone/microphone/headset combo jack and the main power button. You won’t find a dedicated video out port here and we’re somewhat disappointed that Lenovo didn’t include a USB-C to HDMI adapter in the box. That being said, Apple never includes free adapters either.

If we had to choose a single feature of the Yoga 900S that makes it a significantly superior 2-in-1 compared to the previous generation premium Yoga hybrids that single feature is the smaller screen. The main reason to purchase a 2-in-1 instead of a more powerful notebook is that you want a laptop that can double as a tablet. The simple truth is that 13.3-inch screens are too large for most people to use comfortably as tablets. The 12.5-inch FHD screen in the Lenovo Yoga 900S hits that “Goldilocks” zone; not too large, not too small, but just right.

The display resolution is a typical 1920 x 1080 pixels and the IPS touchscreen panel delivers good contrast, excellent color accuracy and wide viewing angles … which is even more important when you’re using the Yoga as a tablet and viewing the screen at odd angles.Our only minor complaint about the display is the maximum brightness setting. The panel brightness is noticeably limited compared to the 13.3-inch display in the old Yoga 3 Pro. The screen is bright enough for you to see it indoors under bright lights but isn’t strong enough to overpower direct sunlight.

If the screen is one of the best features of the Yoga 900S then the speakers are one of the worst. The stereo speakers are located on the bottom of the notebook chassis and fall woefully short of the power needed to overcome this less-than-ideal location. The audio coming out of the Yoga 900S sounds weak and muffled if the notebook is resting on your lap or any cloth-covered surface. You can improve the sound quality of the downward-firing speakers if you flip the Yoga into tablet mode or “tent” mode whenever you’re streaming a movie or TV show. Still, your best option for getting high-quality sound from this 2-in-1 is to plug in a good set of headphones or external speakers.