The latest iteration of LG’s ultra-thin Gram 14 laptop, announced earlier today at CES, came with a bold claim attached: between 21 and 24 hours of battery life on a single charge. It turns out, however, the claim is too good to be true.
As CNET pointed out earlier today, LG relied on a decade-old benchmark tool called MobileMark 2007 to claim that its 14-inch laptop can last for up to 23.6 hours. MobileMark 2007 has since been replaced by a more recent version, in 2014, that more accurately pegs the Gram 14’s battery performance at about 17 hours on a single charge. That information was hidden away in a South Korean press release posted online earlier today, a Google translation of which can be found here. LG did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Even still, MobileMark has attracted a great deal of controversy. As far back as 2009, analysts called out the software for being “wildly optimistic,” measuring battery life “much like you might measure gas mileage if you started the car, put it in neutral, and coasted down a long hill.” The test, at least back in 2009, apparently let manufacturers choose screen brightness, keep Wi-Fi turned off, and exclude music and video applications from a generalized “productivity” score, which was often then touted as a holistic measurement of a device’s longevity. It goes without saying that we also use computers in vastly different ways than we did 10 years ago, making a 2007 claim disingenuous to say the least.
Of course, 17 hours is nothing short of excellent. If true, it would put the Gram 14 and its 13-inch and 15-inch counterparts at the highest end of notebook battery performance. And the specs outlined in the translated press release indicate the new model does in fact have a 60Wh battery, a 73 percent jump over the 2015 Gram model. It does so while still retaining its light, 2.1-pound frame.
So it’s inexplicable why LG chose to use 2007 benchmark scores based a controversial battery test when it could just as easily have still led the pack here at CES with a more modest and realistic performance claim. Perhaps the company was attached to its “all-day” product plug, which would indeed be a lot more attractive if it were in fact true. But a day here on Earth does not contain only 17 hours, as much as CES marketing magic would like to will it so.