Vista is a battery life-waster on notebook PCs?

Notebook manufacturers are claiming that the Vista Aero interface is draining the battery life of portable notebook computers thanks to using the CPU and GPU to deliver the translucent and transparent Aero experience.

A report at CNET says that some of Microsoft’s notebook partners are unhappy that the Aero interface is reportedly shortening the battery life of laptop/notebook portable computers.

As a Vista user myself, running Aero and using two batteries – the main battery and one in the docking bay, I get approximately 5 hours of battery life from both batteries, with, from memory, nearly six hours of life when previously using Windows XP, although I am now thoroughly used to getting 5 hours of life from Vista, and then using a third docking-bay battery for an addition two and a half hours of battery life if needed because I’m on the road or otherwise away from a power point.

This being the case, it would seem anecdotally true that Vista delivers less battery life than XP despite advancements in Vista to more intelligently use less power and use a combined sleep and hibernation mode to conserve power.

The consensus is that if you switch off the Aero graphics settings on your Vista equipped notebook, you will get the same kind of battery life you got under Windows XP – but you naturally miss out on the Aero graphical goodies.

Some manufacturers have resorted to implementing their own power saving schemes, automatically switching off Aero when ‘maximum power’ savings are selected, while Microsoft is promising to do more to enhance battery life through future Vista updates and patches.

Of course, future enhancements to battery technologies will remove this problem, but until then, users will have to decide between slightly less battery life if they wish to preserve Aero graphical niceties, the no-Aero graphics solution, or simply resort to carrying a second or third spare battery with them if they truly need non-stop power for hours.


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