Battery Life and Charge Time

On most notebooks this section is one of the most important, but on a machine like this, portability takes a back seat to performance. There is still the expectation that you can have some battery life, but with the understanding that all of the components inside which make the Phobos 8716 so fast come at a cost of power consumption.

That is certainly the case if the machine is being stressed. With a CPU featuring a 91-Watt TDP, and a GPU which has an undisclosed (but under 180-Watt) TDP, the battery capacity of 82 Wh can be exhausted pretty quickly. But if you do need to use the notebook off the mains, having the ability to watch a movie, or surf the net a bit would be nice.

To test battery life, we have two main tests. Our older 2013 light battery life test loads four web pages every minute, and the test continues this until the laptop stops. The newer 2016 battery life test leverages the same test we use on mobile, which is much more stressful. There is no perfect way to measure battery life, since everyone’s use case is different, but by providing consistent testing with the displays set to 200 nits, we can at least get a good comparison across devices on a common usage scenario.

One note about this laptop is that despite being set to not change the display brightness, when the battery hits 7%, the brightness drops to zero, meaning this laptop will score a few extra minutes than it should.

2013 Light

Battery Life 2013 - Light

On our older battery life test, the P870DM2 / Phobos 8716 does surprisingly well. It achieves a result of just under three hours, which is terrible compared to an Ultrabook, but compared to the previous Clevo DTR, there is a pretty significant jump. Since the battery size is the same between the P750ZM, albeit the older model does have a UHD display which would certainly impact the result. Still, it’s a reasonable result.

2016 Web

Battery Life 2016 - Web

With the new web test, which is much more stressful to the CPU, the Phobos 8716 actually scores a few minutes higher than on the older test. The average power consumption doesn’t change much despite the increased workload. That isn’t a big surprise when you have high power components, since their baseline power usage will already be a lot higher than something meant for long battery life like a Cherry Trail Atom, where every milliwatt matters.

Normalized

To give an actual value to efficiency, the battery size is factored out of the battery life to provide a minutes / Wh result.

Battery Life 2013 - Light Normalized

Battery Life 2016 - Web - Normalized

Unsurprisingly, with desktop components stuffed inside, the Clevo P870 DM2 is one of the least efficient notebooks tested, with only the Clevo P750ZM being worse. Better is better, but the target use case for this machine is not an all day battery powered notebook, so it’s not as big of an issue as it would be on smaller laptops.

Additional Battery Life Testing

OK, so we’ve already determined that the Clevo P870DM2 is not the world’s best notebook in terms of battery life, but there are a couple of other scenarios which warranted testing. Since it’s a gaming notebook, just how long can you play while gaming? To test this, Tomb Raider was fired up, and it was configured to use the Battery Booster settings with NVIDIA’s GeForce Experience (GFE) software.

Battery Life Rise of the Tomb Raider

The settings in GFE capped the frame rate to 60 frames per second, exactly. Minimum was 60.0 frames per second, average was 60.0 frames per second, and maximum was 60.0 frames per second. The result was being able to play Tomb Raider for just over an hour. With a bit more tweaking, and adjusting the GFE a bit, maybe a few more minutes could be eked out, but the runtime of one hour gaming is pretty decent. Plus, you get the added benefit of the fans barely spooling up since the notebook isn’t even working hard.

The other potential reason to need battery life is when watching a movie. Perhaps you are on a road trip and you have your 12 lb laptop in your lap. Can you get through one movie? Two? Let’s find out.

Battery Life Movie Playback

The result playing a movie is not that much better than surfing the web. On Ultrabooks, this task is offloaded to fixed function hardware, and it can increase the battery life significantly, but the idle power usage of the Clevo P870DM2 is just too high for this to make much of a difference.

To put this time into perspective, we’ve come up with a new movie battery life rating which we have deemed the Tesseract. Each Tesseract equals 143 minutes, or the length of The Avengers movie.

Tesseract

You can easily get through one run of The Avengers, but only through 40% of a second run, so unless you love cliff hangers, you may want to find somewhere to plug in.

Display Wireless, Audio, Thermals, Noise, and Software
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  • ZeDestructor - Saturday, October 29, 2016 - link

    You should give it a go in current versions of VMware.. I hear decent things about it... Reply
  • chezfromage - Thursday, October 27, 2016 - link

    As it turns out, I fit into this machine's target market (I'm paralyzed from a spinal cord injury, so I need a laptop, but I also do programming and rendering, so I need an overpowered monstrosity), and I just got the Sager version of this laptop (NP9873) a few weeks ago. First of all, I chose some higher-end specs than the reviewed device: 4K display; dual 1080s; a 512 GB 950 Pro primary SSD (plus another SSD and two HDDs); and the Intel 8260 wireless option. It has the same 6700k. The machine truly is a monster - with the dual 1080s, everything I've thrown at it so far runs 60+ fps set to 4K and ultra settings, albeit sometimes dropping down to FXAA on extremely demanding games (huge difference vs. MSAA on XCOM 2, for example). That low-ish number for Civ 6 as cited in the article has been fixed with an NVidia driver update, btw.

    Regarding stuff mentioned in the article and other comments, yes, the included control center and overclocking software is Clevo-developed and is the same on my Sager. It works well and lets you tweak values on the fly... Not that you really want to that much. Adjusting the core multipliers even just to 4.4ghz makes the fans kick in at full blast, which is insanely loud. Also, yes, the dual power adapter requirement is inconvenient but mildly hilarious; don't pretend this machine is particularly portable, although it's much easier than carting around a desktop with the same specs, which I think is the point.

    Elsewhere, yup, the keyboard's a bummer, but the touchpad is surprisingly good! I can't physically perform most gestures (SCI hand paralysis), but one- and finger functions work flawlessly, and while the L/R buttons aren't the best, at least they're there.

    Anyway, that's my experience with the dual-GPU option, if anyone was wondering. Any questions? Did I forget anything?

    Edit: The 512GB 950 Pro is indeed way faster than the 256GB model - even with AES encryption via Veracrypt, it still benches at 2600r/1600w.
    Reply
  • kmmatney - Thursday, October 27, 2016 - link

    I've been using a 17" laptop for the last 10 years, and am a big fan of the DTR, but this is ridiculous. This should be a new category called GRR (Gaming Rig Replacement). I've had no trouble toting my laptops around, but mine are more in the 7-8 pound range. The Dell Alienware systems are good mix of gaming and portability IMO, but even a $500 Dell Inspiron can be a DTR these days, Reply
  • tagi123 - Friday, October 28, 2016 - link

    It sure is ugly - as are all these 1080 laptops.. Reply
  • s.yu - Tuesday, November 1, 2016 - link

    I would love a review of the Blade Pro from Anandtech. Reply
  • Laststop311 - Thursday, November 3, 2016 - link

    Such a narrow niche for a product like this. I mean really. speccing this thing out nice you are going to hit 3500-4000. You can simply get an awesome performing 20-25 poundish mid atx desktop and spend 2500 dollars and have a much easier time upgrading it and cleaning it and throw the remaining 1500 into a very very nice ultrabook with 10+ battery hours and all the performance ud ever need for on the go lap use. At least I think the majority of people would rather spend their money that way. Reply
  • Laststop311 - Thursday, November 3, 2016 - link

    I can't be a hater tho I actually did use to own an alienware m18xr2 fully specced out with the gtx 880m sli. But this was when i went to a lot of LAN gaming parties and I still had to lug around my 22" high refresh gaming monitor and mechanical keyboard and mouse along with it.

    That's when I realized why am I bothering trying to be portable with a DTR. Nowadays you can build mini-itx systems that weigh only a bit more than this system with internal power supplies and much easier maintenance for much less money. Infact the ncase m1 mini-itx case only weighs 6 pounds before you add components. a Mini itx mobo can be had for 1.25 pounds an m2 ssd + 2.5" ssd barely adds any weight. a decent air cooler and fan in under a pound. You could easily build a mini-itx ncase m1 build for LESS weight than this laptop not counting the monitor keyboard and mouse you would have to lug around but if you were going somewhere that already had monitors you could actually carry less weight building a full fledged mini itx pc that will be way easier to clean and upgrade and way cheaper.
    Reply
  • Laststop311 - Thursday, November 3, 2016 - link

    oh did i mention the cooling will be quieter and better on the itx system as well Reply
  • speculatrix - Sunday, November 6, 2016 - link

    It seem to have HUGE fans.
    It occurs to me that they should make the fans blow downwards, and then you can ride it like a hoverboard.
    Reply
  • bennyg - Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - link

    It's the Dodge Ram of laptops. Impractical. Thirsty. Expensive. Hideous. But ohmahgerd the powah. The catch 22 is that while it's built for overclocking it has so much power compared to normal laptops it is completely unnecessary! Maybe in 3 years time when it's superceded that will become useful. Unlike a Ram, which would have fallen to pieces by then. The amazing thing is that with desktop class components it still gets 2 hours life away from the wall plug! Reply

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