DELL INSPIRON 15 3521 GENERIC BATTERY (SKstyle / SIKER) UNBOXING, REVIEW, TEST

The battery life of my Dell Inspiron laptop was never great to begin with.  If I was lucky I could manage to squeeze three hours of use out of it before it would die completely.  After a year of use the battery had degraded so that it only held around 75% of its original capacity.  The use time on one charge at that point was down to, at most, 2 to 2.5 hours.  As a college student who is always on the move this was unacceptable, I did not have the time nor patience to charge the laptop up multiple times throughout the day.

I finally had enough and decided to begin my search for a new battery.  Wanting to take advantage of my last few free weeks of Prime I hit up Amazon.  The original OEM battery pack was available for purchase but I really wanted something that was going to last longer than the stock one ever did.  Most of the off-brand batteries were cheap and listed as a higher capacity (65WH) than the old one.  Though, as I was reading their reviews all of the complaints about them were similar; “It does not fit”, “The battery just falls out”, and “The listed capacity is a lie” were the three most common.  Eventually I ran across one with mostly positive reviews and that was listed at a reasonable price ($21), I ordered it and now as I type this I am testing it out.

My Inspiron 15 along with the new battery.
My Inspiron 15 along with the new battery.

Unboxing it, I was satisfied with the sellers packing job but the packaging by Amazon was poor at best (giant box with a small number of air packs inside).  The second thing I noticed  was that the brand label on the box and the brand on the Amazon page differed.  The box had “Siker laptop battery” printed on it while the webpage stated that the battery was made by “SKstyle”,  the battery itself was not labeled so I had no idea what I should have called it.

The construction of the battery pack was solid and it was noticeably heavier than the OEM battery.  As far as their layouts were concerned both packs were nearly identical, the generic one had an extrusion along with rubber on the bottom which the latter did not have.  My main concern with the battery was that it would not fit into the laptop very well.  I was surprised when the pack slid into the battery compartment with little to no effort.  From here I switched on my computer and it turned on without any problems, the battery was setting at 70% charge out of the box so I plugged it in and it and charged it to 100%.  According to the Xubuntu power manager the max capacity of the battery was 48.8WH.  I ran the battery through a power cycle and the reading remained the same.  This rating is semi-close to the advertised rating and higher than the original pack’s capacity but I felt slightly cheated as there is a pretty big difference between 50WH and 65WH.  I know the power manager is not the most accurate way to gauge battery capacity but after my testing I think it came pretty close to the right rating.

OEM battery on the right, generic on the left
OEM battery on the right, generic on the left
Xubuntu Power manager battery rating
New battery rating according to the Xubuntu power manager

To compare the two batteries I ran them both completely dry by setting the Inspiron’s screen brightness to 100% while at the same time running Prime 95, I recorded the total run time for each battery.  The stock battery lasted for 1 hour and 43 minutes while the new battery kept the laptop running for 2 hours and 32 minutes.  The results from this test confirm that this is definitely not a 65WH battery,  it is more along the line of the ratings provided by the power manager, 50WH sounds about right.

Now does that does not necessarily mean that this is a horrible battery pack.  The capacity is still above that of the OEM battery when it was new,  the pack itself is solid, and it fits in the laptops battery compartment leaving no noticeable gaps.  I feel that the seller needs to change the product description to account for the lower capacity, the way it is advertised now really is a lie.

It is possible that I could have received a faulty battery but I do not think that is the case here.  These generic Chinese battery manufactures are notorious for over rating their batteries.  I am pretty sure that is what is going on with this product.

I cannot comment on longevity at this point since the battery has only been in my possession for a few days.  I will update you in a month on how the battery is fairing (if I remember).  Overall, for $20 I think this battery is a decent replacement and is definitely something I would purchase again!

 

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