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What's so great about Haswell? Battery life, that's what.

Intel's fourth-generation Core processors use less power than ever

By now, you've probably read all about Intel's fourth-generation Core processors. These 'Haswell' chips do exactly what next-gen processors are supposed to: they perform better and use less power. But that doesn't sound particularly exciting until you realise just how much less power.

Apple claims all-day-long battery life for the new MacBook Air (around 9 hours), while Sony says its new Duo 13 - a Windows 8 hybrid tablet/laptop - lasts an amazing 15 hours.

See also: Schenker XMG A523 Haswell laptop review

It's all down to the addition of a new power state, which Intel calls Active Idle. However, unlike in years gone by, we can't imagine that anyone is in the least bit interested by this nugget of information.

Time was when people cared about how fast their processor ran; they might even base their choice of new PC around it. These days, nobody (cover your eyes, geeks) cares about clock speeds or even model numbers - they care about what the gadget in their hands allows them to do.

The technology might be in the processor, but the benefit is longer battery life. It's a laptop that will last not just an entire working day, but one that has the performance to do the work you need to get done.

Intel's masterstroke, then, is its marketing. Everyone knows the Intel Inside logo, and the jingle that accompanies it on TV ads. When they go shopping for a new laptop, they look for one with the logo and are probably wary of those with AMD stickers, despite the lower prices.

With no battery life to worry about, the benefits of choosing a Haswell-equipped PC are less obvious. However, the faster built-in graphics might mean you can get away with buying a cheaper computer and still be able to play the latest games. It's still early days, but rest assured we'll bring you many more reviews of Haswell-equipped PCs and laptops over the coming weeks and months.

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