I’m a great fan of Nir Sofer’s plethora of utilities, all available through NirSoft.net (grab NirLauncher to get everything at once). His BatteryInfoView utility provides much the same information you can get from Windows 10 using PowerCfg /batteryreport at the command line. But it does so in a nice little GUI interface, and doesn’t require finding and opening an HTML file to view the results. I also like it that the tool shows battery health, and all kinds of charge/discharge info in real time. And that, dear readers, is why I say that BatteryInfoView provides battery life insight. In the process of learning and exploring this nifty utility, I ran it on my 2013 vintage Lenovo X220 Tablet PC today. It gives a good sense of what “old battery” info looks like, coming from a 7-plus year-old laptop still on its original battery.
The “Battery Health” statistic is most informative.
[Click image for full-sized view.]
How BatteryInfoView Provides Battery Life Insight
The Battery Health value for the old X220 Tablet shows at 67.1 percent in the preceding screen cap. The value is calculated from the ratio of the full charged capacity (how much energy the battery can currently hold, max) to the designed capacity (how much it could hold fresh off the factory floor, as a stored design parameter). This value is heading for the low side, and translates away from the rated battery life. Because 03:18 calculated for the current battery life, that means the original battery life must have been 04:55.
Conventional wisdom is that it’s time to replace the battery when the typical battery life falls below what you’re willing to tolerate by way of actual runtime. I’ve never replaced this battery because I use the machine untethered only seldom, and 3-plus hours of battery life is perfectly OK with me for this PC. Others who wanted to use this machine untethered for longer might choose not just to replace this battery, but also might choose to buy a higher-rated (9 cell) battery which extends the battery life by 62 percent (94 mWh versus this one’s 57.72 Wh). A “slice battery” for this unit is also available, which adds to the existing 6-cell battery whose values are shown above (it adds 110 percent to the existing battery life, for a total of just over 10 hours).
How BatteryInfoView Data From a New Laptop Compares
Just for grins, I also ran the utility on my nearly-new Lenovo X1 Extreme laptop, which arrived here about 90 days ago. It shows a battery health value of 94.9% for a battery with an 80.4 Wh designed capacity, for a current full charged capacity of 76.28 Wh. This translates into a battery life of just over 5.5 hours. Again, this is fine for me because I don’t use the machine untethered all that much. I did likewise for the equally new Lenovo X380 Yoga. It shows a battery health value of 100.9% (!) for a battery with a 51.0 mWh designed capacity, for a current full charged capacity of 51.44 mWh. This means a battery life of 5.7 hours.
Because the X380 is a more compact unit that I’d be likely to use on my lap, I’d be happy to look into an extender battery for this unit. That would probably mean some kind of USB-C attached battery pack, which Lenovo and other laptop makers call a “power bank” (it currently offers a 34 Wh and a 48 Wh model). Wirecutter suggests the ZMI USB PD Backup Battery & Hub as the best such item currently available (It’s about $10 cheaper than the higher-priced Lenovo item, and offers 86 percent more power!) I’m thinking about picking one up.
Author: Ed Tittel
Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.