Take Charge Of Your Battery

June 23rd, 2010 in .Blogs
Mrs Mario
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I must confess to having never paid much attention to the battery offerings of the laptops I’ve inherited over the years, until they’ve turned into power draining monsters. I think there are few things in this world as frustrating as technology that powers down after less than an hour of use.

Especially since they usually choose to do so in the middle of a work crisis or emergency. Aargh.

It was after my last such experience with an old laptop (that very nearly became a Frisbee) that I decided to do a little more digging into how to avoid that vile battery drama, things to conserve battery life, and, most importantly, how to choose technology that suits my battery hungry needs.

There are some simple things that will help reduce the demands on a battery, such as lowering the brightness of the screen, or removing attached peripherals. Keeping the brightness down will help conserve battery life to a certain extent but, and here’s the kicker, it will depend on the size of your screen. A big screen will be more of a power eater than a small one.

This may feel like bad news for those of you who enjoy a larger screen, however, there are other options to conserve power and you can get notebooks that use special features to help with extending the life of your battery.

If you are using extras like wireless dongles or webcams, then they are likely to be a major cause of power drain. It’s all good and well if you can plug yourself into the provided sockets on trains, but not so great if you’ve got no access to power while travelling via other means.

So cut back on these by using the built-in touchpad instead of an external mouse (or keyboard where appropriate) and turning off wi-fi until you really need it.

Other things you can control include discs in your drive – take them out unless you’re using them – and the power options in your operating system. Windows offer this option with a couple of easy clicks using the Power Options in the Control Panel, and fans of open source have exactly the same options albeit with a little more fiddling.  It’s well worth setting these up as a matter of course because even when you’re connected to the power grid, the less your machine demands, the better it is for your budget and the planet.

That said, there are now more and more machines that are offering incredible battery life as a standard. The ASUS range of Eee PCs deliver an entire day of computing on a full battery and ASUS have had awards thrust at them for their brilliance in technology that limits the demands of your machine on the battery.It was the Eee PC Seashell 1015PE that got the Best Choice in the Green ICT category at Computex 2010 because of its remarkable energy efficiency (as well as the eco friendly materials and packaging) which came in the form of the Super Hybrid Engine technology. This clever, clever invention intelligently adjusts power delivery to suit the applications that you’re running.

You’ll discover it in a wide range of ASUS products so you’re not limited to just getting a netbook, for example. You can still enjoy powerful, large screen computing, (such as with the  UL80JT that has a 12 hour battery life and plenty of high-end features). The Super Hybrid Engine can maximise battery life by up to 53 percent and has the potential to reduce yearly CO2 emissions by 12.3kgs per notebook. That’s an impressive set of figures.

If you’re really interested in a product that saves on the environment and power, then take a look at the Bamboo series from Asus. These are a huge step forward in minimising the impact that technology can have on the environment without your having to power them by pedalling furiously on a bicycle.

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