Ads watchdog slaps down Sony smartphone battery life claim
Maker didn't mention 'lab conditions'
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has told Sony Ericsson never again to claim that a smartphone's battery will run for more than 18 days on a single charge without making it clear in what conditions that battery life can be achieved.
The ruling follows a complaint from a punter who spotted the statement, "standby time (up to) 446 hours", on SE's X8 website and didn't believe it was possible.
The watchdog challenged the phone maker to justify its claim. SE said the oft-used caveat "battery performance may vary depending on network conditions and configuration, and phone usage" was sufficient to cover it should users experience considerably less battery life than that.
SE also provided the ASA with test data that showed the X8's battery will indeed last for 446 hours but only in "a controlled laboratory environment", the organisation said.
"Without qualification explaining that the maximum level was theoretical, we considered that consumers would infer from the ad that the battery was capable of lasting this long during normal consumer use… whereas we understood that the battery life during normal use could be considerably lower," the ASA ruled.
Alas, the ASA can only rule on specific complaints. Yet Sony Ericsson's battery life caveat is one used by every phone maker, though the wording may differ slightly. We hope SE's competitors will learn from this ruling and present truly realistic battery life timings in future. ®
> We hope SE's competitors will learn from this ruling and present truly realistic battery life timings in future.
I doubt it. Move likely they will add the footnote "with minimal load and adequate and stable signal" in 3 point text.
Battery life span on standby is largely irrelevant, for a smart phone they should quote various "use times" like talk, internet and application. Afterall who gets a smart phone just for it to sit in your pocket.
Sony caught doing something bad?
Really surprised but this?
How many times have we been conned, talk time, standby etc. I have owned 22 mobile phones, Nokia, HTC, Phillips, Seimens, Motorola, Sony, Samsung, NEC etc and they have all never lived up to expectations. Yet they all still claim what they cannot deliver. (Note that I have never owned and will never own an iPhone)
The claims are about as honest as claimed broadband speeds of 'up to'!
We know the claims crap, they know we know the claims crap and now we are being told officially the claims are crap.
So what's new?
There needs to be a standard measure for phone battery life. There is one for digital camera usage, generally you expect to get more pictures out of your battery than the standard measurement suggests but the important thing is that it's standard so it's possible to compare two different makes/models of camera.
As far as I can tell, the "standard" way to list smartphone battery life is to turn it on, possibly in flight mode, and then leave it to see how long the battery lasts.
I have smartphones on my desk that I use for testing. I'm amazed by how long they last when you don't use them. I can get over a week out of a battery that is gone in less than 24 hours of normal use.