Battery life has got to be one of the most affective aspects of a mobile computer’s performance. Often, it’s not how well a notebook performs unplugged, it’s how long it’ll actually stay lit through that trans-continental flight that really matters.
There are endless myths about what can keep your mobile unit going longer, one of which I find ironically manifest in the PC notebook: the hardware Wifi switch. So I was quite interested by a very scientific analysis that Tablet PC Review published this morning.
In “Tablet PC Battery Life: How Wireless Affects Power Consumption,” they found that wireless components really don’t suck as much power as many people believe (or even as much as would warrant a hardware switch). Instead, they basically confirmed a set of rules that I live by to conserve power on a portable unit:
- Dim the lights! Your LCD screen is a power pig. Reducing its brightness to as minimal a level as possible results in massive power savings.
- Turf the disc. Leaving an unused DVD or CD in an optical drive can kill a battery fast.
- Drive slowly. Underclocking your CPU will buy tons of time and have a very minimal impact on your workflow.
If you have a notebook computer and need it to stay alive for as long as possible without its power cord, adopt these three simple rules. You can tinker with Wifi and Bluetooth all you want, but these services offer only meager power savings in comparison to the three I’ve listed above.