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DRM and battery life: no real effect after all?

Ryan Block, @ryan

Last month we wrote about a CNET study that quietly laid claim to PlaysForSure DRM cutting player battery life by as much as 25%, and FairPlay draining iPod batteries by up to 8%. DAPreview put it to the test, though, by comparing playback time on 25 albums in 160KBps non-DRMed and DRMed WMA in sequence on a fully charged SanDisk Sansa e260 with volume at 50%, screen brightness at low, and the backlight left on. And wouldn't you know it, the DRMed files played all of 25 minutes less, or 2.8% less than the 14:55 pulled from the non-DRMed music. However, since the test was only run on a single device, this only means you can conclude that the Sansa e260 handles DRM well; with so many chipset designs for player internals, you couldn't expect all devices to produce the same positive results. But hey, it's encouraging, if nothing else -- especially if you're a Sansa e260 user.

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