Laptop Batteries Lack a Performance Benchmark

All laptop batteries come with a guarantee of up to 6-hours battery life, 5-hour battery life, but this is hardly the case when using a laptop. In less than the stipulate working hours, the battery would be empty and you will be running around looking for a source of AC power, it almost feels like being duped. But who is to blame? The cleverly worded sentence “up to 5 hours” is a marketing gimmick, in essence it means anything below 5 hours even 10 minutes. This brings to light the lack of a standard benchmark for testing laptop battery performance as set for cell phones, cameras and iPods.

On the cell phones, a standard test carried to test battery usage in a real-life scenario, this  informs the tagline used to market them. The test captures the best/worst scenario while in use e.g 4-hours talk time and 300 idle-time; this helps the consumer gauge the performance level of a cell phone battery appropriately. However, for laptops, a vague description of “up to” is used which may mean many things. Cameras give the best standard measure of battery performance test; a camera will be tested with full focus, taking pictures every 10 seconds and with or without flash. The resulting description is an accurate depiction of how long a battery would last in actual usage. (more…)

More Work, Less Laptop Battery Life

There is a myth that goes, it is better to use the laptop battery until it discharges completely before recharging it. This plan actually strains the battery and may cause damages to the cells; the recommended level of holding power is 20 to 30 percent of the full charge. Working constantly from a laptop in charging mode hardens the lithium plates and prevent charge flow. The rate of working from a laptop is directly proportional to deterioration rate of the battery. Most laptop battery that work for more than 12 hours a day don’t last more than five years, this is due to the constant charging and recharging of the Lithium plates in the Lithium-ion batteries.

One sign of an overworked laptop is overheating of the system fan. Running numerous programs in the background keeps the CPU working and drains the battery. External devices connected to the laptop such as external hard drives, CD ROMs, printers and internet dongles also draw power from the laptop’s battery and deplete the reserve power. Continuously using the laptop also consume power through the LCD screen that has to be illuminated by tiny bulbs allover the screen. Activities such as watching movies, listening to music, typing documents and photo editing keep the monitor on and lead to move power usage, a detrimental factor to the life of the battery.

While on operation mode, laptops’ hard drives are busy storing and retrieving information. The action of reading and writing data on the hard drive consume more power not to add to the fact that rotating spindle in the hard drives consumes even more power. One way to cut the power consumption due to retrieval of fragmented files in a laptop is by regularly defragmenting the hard drive to create coherent file storage for faster access. A file is normally stored on different portions of the drive and it takes time and takes time to collate the parts, having a coherent files reduces the access time and by extension power use.

Replacing a laptop battery may be a costly affair, it is therefore important to make good use of the laptop batteries, a new laptop battery retails between $50 and $60. Over time, batteries lose their ability to hold charge, but this phenomenon can be accelerated by overuse of the laptop. Resource intensive jobs such as rendering videos and 3D animations should be done on desktop computer that do not have batteries. Rendering normally takes hours and will require a laptop to be connected to an AC supply longer than recommended or run on battery that leads to overuse.

Always set a notification when the battery level drops to 20 percent of the full capacity. Monitoring the battery performance is crucial in getting the best our of your laptop battery. Count yourself lucky if you are running on a windows platform, there is a functionality that alerts you when there is a problem with the battery or when you need to replace it. In the event of this notification, seize working from the laptop or reduce the workload to prevent complete further stress on the battery.


Buying a New Laptop Battery

Buying a new laptop battery can be very expensive more so if you do not know what you are doing. In fact, most people may opt to buy a new machine rather than the battery since it’s usually about half the price of a new laptop computer. That said, a few tips are outlined below that will not only get you a laptop battery that is cheap and quality, you’ll avoid the heart ache of being swindled by fraudsters. Compatibility is a very important aspect taken into account when buying a laptop battery. You do not want to buy a battery that will not work on your machine. Usually, the best way of ensuring that the battery you buy is compatible with your laptop is to take note of the make of your computer and then check out batteries that are compatible with it on the manufacturer’s website.

Another aspect important to consider is the raw materials that the battery is made of. Generally, laptop batteries are made from lithium ion, lithium poly, nickel metal hydride or nickel cadmium. Going for those made of lithium ion or lithium poly is usually wise. Though batteries made from nickel tend to be cheaper, they are usually heavy, do not degrade naturally, have a short life span and are usually not that energy efficient.

Service life is another aspect you need to consider greatly. You do not want to keep buying a new battery every so often. Asking how long the battery is expected to last before you buy is generally a wise move. In line to this, you also want to buy something that has a power capacity of more than a few hours.  It can sometime be annoying charging the laptop computer every so often.  Be careful where you buy a laptop battery. Generally, buying from the manufacturer is usually a safer bet. Though you will pay more if you decide to buy from the manufactures, you are likely to get a better quality product place the chances of being duped are greatly reduced.   A little research can also lead you to a cheaper retailer who is offering quality. If you decide to go down this road, it’s generally better to research the seller before you transact any business with them. The BBB website is a good place to commence your research. If you are running on a shoestring budget, you might want to consider buying a refurbished battery. Though most of them work okay, you do not know how much of a life span they really have left. So, if you can help it, going for a new product is buy far the best option.

In a quick recap, first you need to know the exact type of battery you are looking for and if it is compatible with your machine.  The service life and capacity of the battery are also important points to take into account. Others such as where you buy, raw material used in the manufacture of the laptop battery and whether to buy a new or refurbished computer are vital factors that must be considered. So there you have it, next time you need a laptop battery these point should guide you.