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AdminSecret's Laptop Buying Guide

AdminSecret's Laptop Buying Guide

Eric Dahl / InsideTech for AdminSecret

October 03, 2008

4. Battery Life Figures ALWAYS Lie

Notebook batteries (and the power requirements of the chips they run) have come a long way. Last month, HP was even able to build a behemoth of a machine that they claim has a 24-hour battery life. But while batteries have made great strides, vendors haven’t come terribly far in the truthfulness of their battery life claims.

Wade into any claimed batter life statistic, and you’re likely to find disclaimers that those figures were during “typical usage,” i.e. with lots of the machine’s power-hungry components turned off.

Three main things drain a laptop’s battery: Wi-Fi, optical drives, and graphics chips. Use one or two of those, and your battery life is likely to fall well below the manufacturer’s claim. These days, you’ll probably make it through the DVD you brought on the flight and have some time left to work on your presentation, but you probably won’t get much more than that. Don’t expect more, and you won’t be disappointed.

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