B&N clarifies NOOK battery life stats

So, the other day Barnes and Noble announced that their updated NOOK ebook reader had battery life of two month and hailed it the 'longest battery life of any eReader.' But what kind of usage is it based on? Is it realistic? How does it compare to Amazon's Kindle?

So, the other day Barnes and Noble announced that their updated NOOK ebook reader had battery life of two month and hailed it the 'longest battery life of any eReader.' But what kind of usage is it based on? Is it realistic? How does it compare to Amazon's Kindle?

Let's find out!

After my post yesterday which cast suspicion over how Amazon managed to double the battery life of the Kindle overnight (not through any technical means, but through massaging the numbers), some folks from B&N got in touch to explain why they believe the NOOK deserves the 'longest battery life of any eReader' crown.

Here's the deal.

  • B&N are still standing behind the 'up to two months on a single charge' statement. As ZDNet editor-in-chief Larry Dignan pointed out yesterday, without footnotes explaining usage and so on, these sorts of claims are speculative at best.
  • B&N claim that the Nook offers 'superior battery performance to Kindle 3' and have side-by-side test data to back this up.
  • What were these tests? Here's what I was told: -  Under the exact same conditions, continuous use of the device resulted in more than two times Kindle 3 battery life. - While reading at one page a minute, the All-New NOOK battery lasts for 150 hours where the Kindle battery, using the same page-turn rate, lasts for only 56 hours (both with Wi-Fi off). - Continuous page turn test and at one page turn per second, the All-New NOOK offers more than 25,000 continuous page turns on a single charges best-in-class battery life (note that there is no comparison here to the Kindle 3).

So, what's the takeaway here?

  • Since there's no standardized ebook battery test, and since no one wants to clearly outline their test conditions (book type, font size and so on), I'm taking all these battery life measurements with a very large, RDA busting, pinch of salt.
  • It's clear that there's little to differentiate one ebook reader from another. Despite the fact that the 'All-New NOOK' has a full touchscreen and 80% less screen flashing 'than any other eReader' it's the battery life that gets top billing.
  • While you and I see through these battery claims for what they are (marketing hype), as far as Joe Schmoe goes, that two months battery life figure might have been eye-grabbing. But since Amazon's upped the Kindle to the same level, it's a level playing field once again.
  • The battleground in centered around those who are new to the eReaders. The vast majority of people who've already bought a Kindle or a NOOK are stuck with that platform thanks to DRM (unless they want to cut loose their entire library).

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