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Why Do Gaming Laptop Batteries Suck?

Find out why gaming laptop batteries suck and what you can do to make it a little easier on yourself.

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Why Do Gaming Laptop Batteries Suck?

If you spend any time at all browsing our buying guides, you will find that we go on and on about how great some gaming laptops are but are always critical of the battery life. But why is that? Why are gaming laptop batteries so bad these days and why are we hard on them? I thought we should take a few minutes to explain it to all of you so you understand.

It is my hope that after you read this, you will see why we harp on the batteries of gaming laptops while at the same time you see why gaming laptop batteries just don’t hold up all that well compared to other laptop batteries. In the end, my goal is to continue helping you in your quest to choose the perfect laptop, whether you decide to buy a gaming laptop or now. If this article even helps one of you, then I have accomplished something.

So, enough of me going on and on about nothing, let’s take a closer look at why laptop batteries suck compared to the batteries you find on other laptops.

All Batteries Are the Same

First, before we go any farther, let me just say this. All laptop batteries are basically the same. They use the same technology whether you have a low power laptop or a ultra high powered laptop that will game. Sure, they come in different sizes and are rated differently, but the underlying technology is the same across the board.

Unfortunately for gaming laptop owners that means that the same tech is powering your high end machine that is powering that low end Chrome book. The end results between these two just isn’t the same.

Batteries Haven’t Changed

I’m sure some of you will argue this point with me so I will be fair. The technology has changed over the years and the batteries are much better than they used to be. Still, though, the underlying tech for these batteries has remained the same for many years now. While it is more efficient and even more powerful, there are limits out there, as many gaming laptop owners will attest to I’m sure.

Because this technology is beginning to show its age, people that use gaming laptops or even high end laptops often have poor battery results on their machines. There is no doubt that something needs to be done to evolve the technology soon if we want to get more battery life out of our laptops. I’m not the one to ask how we go about it, after all, I’m just a humble blogger, but I do think that something needs to change and evolve and I’m sure you will all agree with me on that point.

Only So Much Space

The size of the battery does matter. The larger the battery, the longer the battery life. It is simply because they can add more cells to it to do the work. However, on a laptop, there is a limited amount of space. Laptop size and design hasn’t changed much in years now and that design only leaves so much room for a battery.

The end result is that a gaming laptop, even if it is bigger than another laptop, doesn’t leave much more, if any, room for a larger battery. Add to that the increased power requirements and I think you can see where I’m going with this.

Now I’m not saying we need to change the way laptops are designed. I think we all agree it works and works very well. Still, something has to give somewhere. Could we alter the internal components just a little to make room for larger batteries? I’m sure we could. Of course then that adds to the weight and none of us like lugging around a heavy laptop. So there are many factors that you have to take into consideration in the end.

More Power Means Less Battery

If there is one thing that gaming laptops have over other laptops is their power. They are far more powerful in the terms of what they can do than a standard business class laptop, for instance. Those high end processors and fancy video cards do require a little more juice to run, however. In fact, they can take a lot more juice to run compared to the business class and basic laptops on the market today.

But when you take this added power and combine it with a battery that isn’t much more powerful and is almost identical to one that is powering a low end laptop, you have a recipe for very short battery lifespans between charges. Gamers obviously want to be able to use their machines on the go, but with the poor battery life, it isn’t really possible outside of very short spans between plug ins.

More Efficient Hardware Is Not Enough

Hardware has come a long way, both in terms of what it can do and how much power it uses. Hardware today is much more efficient than older, slower hardware out there. But it still isn’t enough. Sure that is great on a low end laptop. That is why you see laptops today rated with battery lives at 8 hours or more. But do you see that on a gaming laptop? Certainly not.

Gaming laptops use much more powerful hardware. While this hardware is a lot more efficient than it used to be, it still pulls a good deal of juice when it ramped up and driving some of the best games you will find on the market today, especially in the $1000 range or higher where gaming laptops starting packing some more serious firepower. This increases the power requirements and results in a system with a battery life of 2 to 3 hours at most. And that is if you are very lucky. In some cases, I have heard of systems that lasted less than 2 hours before needing a charge. That doesn’t mean much for portability.

So What Can You Do?

So what can you the consumer do about it? Other than keep complaining, there are some practices you can do to increase the battery life of your gaming laptop, although you will still be stuck when you are running your favorite game on battery power.

  1. Turn off anything you don’t need. Before you do anything else, close down any apps that you don’t need. The more apps running, the more power your system will require to keep things running fast. So close those unused apps for the best performance and power requirements.
  2. Adjust your sleep settings. When you aren’t using your system, make sure it goes to sleep quicker than you may normally set it to. The reason you do this is to power down what isn’t essential when you aren’t using it. Sure it means a longer time before you can start using it when you open it up, but your battery will be glad you did it.
  3. Crank down your screen brightness. The brightness of your screen is one of the biggest drains on your battery. I’m sure you all love to look at your screen at full brightness. I know I do. But it will do a number on your battery. Turn it down and you will be able to get more time out of your battery before you have to charge it.
  4. Use other systems for traveling if possible. If you don’t plan on gaming on the road, try taking a different machine. One that doesn’t include the high end hardware needed for gaming. This will make it easier for you to travel and you won’t have to rely on power outlet every hour or so either.

These are just quick tips to help you increase the battery life on your machine. What else have you tried to get more out of your laptop?

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many reasons why the batteries in gaming laptops just don’t hold up. If there is one thing that is most certainly clear, battery technology really needs to evolve. If we keep going the way we are going, our laptop batteries just won’t be able to hold up. Sure, there have been great strides in the efficiency of hardware and that has improved battery life for all types of laptops, but if something isn’t done differently high end machines and gaming laptops will continue to suffer a poor fate of bad battery life.

In the end, it is just something that we all have to live with right now. It is just part of owning a high end laptop. If you travel a lot, you may not want to make your gaming laptop your main traveler, but if you want to game, you have to take it with you. If that is the case, for now all you can do is make sure it has a full charge and only use it when you have to if you don’t have access to a power outlet in order to restore some of the much needed juice to run it.

What do you think about laptop batteries today and especially gaming laptops? I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter as well. Sound off about it in the comments below and let me and all laptop makers know what you really think about the battery life on their laptops. Who knows, maybe they will even listen.

By Matt Garrett

Matt is an IT professional with over fifteen years experience supporting network infrastructure and computers. An avid gamer, Matt enjoys his time playing and writing about his experiences both in the IT world and in the gaming communities. You can find more of his writing on our sister ShopNinja sites where he enjoys talking about anything and everything tech.

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