There are many things that can contribute to the amount of time a battery lasts, the most notable being screen brightness (least screen brightness = more time, brighter screen = less time), sound usage (having sound constantly through the speakers will cause less battery life than little sound — since sound usage varies often, this attribute changes a lot), and performance. The last one is based on the number of programs you may be running, which will cause the computer to use more of its resources and, if applicable, may use its built-in fan more often, which leads to more battery usage and less time. Since all of these attributes vary often, an accurate estimate is usually varied.
If you would like to know how much time you will have to use your computer before your battery runs out, I suggest just using it as you would normally, and counting how much time you get out of it, rather then rely solely on the battery estimate.
This might help, but I'm not sure that it will work for you. http://en.allexperts.com/q/Laptops-1504/Screen-Brightness.htm
If it doesn't, tell me and I'll keep looking for programs that will do it manually. I know Flux (/forums/freeware-software/f-lux/) works with saturation, but I don't think it controls brightness.
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