How Much Battery Power Is Enough For A Netbook?

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Losing Power?The netbook market is getting a bit crowded, but consumer passion for mini-notebooks isn’t going to end anytime soon. Though many have similar specs and sizes, one potentially major difference is the battery each unit ships with.

The original Eee PC came with a battery that had a three hour life, give or take, and newer models have improved upon that time. But other netbook manufacturers seem reluctant to ship devices with extended batteries, sometimes saddling users with 3-cell systems that only last about two hours at best. The reasoning behind this? The reigning theory around here is that it has to do with price, but I’ve heard that manufacturers seem to think that people don’t use tiny netbooks for more than a few hours at a time, so what does it matter, anyway?

Being a netbook junkie myself, I say: wrong! One of the reasons I want a tiny, portable notebook is so I can use it anywhere. And that "Where" usually includes places where I can’t plug in. Am I alone?

How much battery power is enough for a netbook? 2 hours? 3? Or do you feel, as I do, that the standard should be closer to 5 or even 8?

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3 comments
  • laptop girl Says:

    I totally agree! It's absurd that these small laptops whose main benefit is their portability don't automatically offer a decent amount of battery life. I have an ASUS and was very disappointed at how quickly its battery gave out. I'm thinking about investing in one of the other brands now that can do better. Thanks for posting!

  • niels Says:

    You can never be too rich, too thin or have too much battery life. Shipping netbooks with 3-cell batteries is a joke. Netbooks' biggest advantage is their portability and their - it's what makes you accept all the compromises they represent, but if you lose that advantage in portability because you always have to lug around a powerbrick and stress about finding a plug every hour and a half then the netbook idea is a lot less flattering IMHO.

    All day battery life should be an attainable goal for this class of devices. It would be fantastic to have a device that you could unplug in the morning when you leave and plug back in at night when your day's over.

  • Glenn Says:

    On a crowded airplane, a netbook is one of the best choices for watching some recorded movies or podcasts. Sure I can do this on my iPod, but a slightly larger screen is always good, and most netbook's 8.9 or 10" screens are about the size of those typical portable DVD players you see at Good Guys. And a coast to coast flight is 5-6 hours depending which direction you're going. 8 hours would be even better, allowing you to use the device in the airport on the way without recharging, but if it compromised portability or weight I'd stick with the 5-6 hour range.

    Hopefully with future generations of netbooks running Silverthorne or Lincroft and Poulsbo we can see some really great battery life. As long as the devices can handle internet browsing and DVD class video playback, I really don't need them to get any faster. Manufacturers should instead focus on stripping down the OS to improve the boot time rather than cranking up the CPU speed. I'd rather see them switch to SLC flash drives than crank the CPU speed up.

    Honestly, right now I think that the Dell Mini 9's 4 cell battery is the best compromise in terms of size and weight vs. battery life. I don't see why those 6 cell batteries that hang out the back or bottom of the unit are such a great idea...

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