The whole point of a portable computer is to have your desktop replaced and fully functional anywhere you go. This requires a light and powerful device that lasts a full day’s work without having to plug it.
Most budget notebooks these days have 4-cell batteries lasting only 3 to 4 hours and with battery aging you may not get half as much in few years. 6-cell battery will last upwards of 7 hours.
In the near future we’re going to see battery life improve tremendously as Intel and other chip makers move aggressively to change their architecture to make processors consume less power. Last year’s ultrabooks for example would consume about 17 watts of power. 2013 models do the same work faster and take only 7 watts of power. New Intel Haswell processor will bring this energy consumption down even further. Intel’s new 13-inch Northcape ultrabook coming in this summer will last 13 hours on a charge. If you can’t wait another year for a much improved selection of lighter, slimmer and longer lasting portables, then see what’s out there today. Let us take a look at notebooks available today and their respective battery life.
Lenovo ThinkPad X230 for example comes with optional 9-cell battery lasting 12 hours on a charge. Base model with 6-cell battery starts at $850, but you can add an optional 9-cell battery X44++ for extra $30 and you’ll get yourself a full workday away from home.
Dell Latitude E6430 notebook comes with 6-cell battery, but Dell offers a 9-cell option for $79 taking you to 10+ hours on a charge. 14-inch
Dell Latitude E6430 laptop with Core i5 processor, 4 GB RAM and 320 GB HDD storage will cost you $940. Additional battery can be found on amazon for $17.
HP Envy 14 Spectre touchsmart ultrabook is advertised as lasting full 9 hours. HP dm1z notebooks last 8.5 hours. 13.3-inch
Toshiba Portege Z835 ultrabook will cost about $800, but the battery should last you 8 hours.
Now, keep in mind that these advertised battery lives aren’t always true. Rule of a thumb dictates at least 10 percent error margin. In other words, when ASUS advertises 10 hour battery life for their U36JC notebook, please understand it as 9 hours with a light use. If you’re into playing games, doing a lot of multitasking, or editing large photos or videos on resource intensive apps, you’ll cut the battery life specs right in half.
So, when you’re out there on a hunt for a good workhorse, think about how long your work days are, and chose the right combination of power, durability and portability.
Please READ our How to Buy a Notebook series for more tips.
READ more in our “How to buy a Notebook” series:
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