Today's mini laptops have got some serious stamina. We tested the latest netbooks to see which had the sturdiest battery life.
Just a few months ago, you were lucky to squeeze much more than a couple hours out of netbooks such as the Acer Aspire One and the Lenovo IdeaPad S10. But tiny little netbooks are growing more robust, at least as far as their batteries are concerned. Here's a look at some recent models that can keep you plugging along for nearly a full workday.
This recent netbook from Asus - the company that started the current netbook trend - is earning kudos from many reviewers. Among its attractions is a standard six-cell battery that, in our tests, kept the netbook running for 7 hours, 9 minutes.
You can micromanage how the netbook uses power, too, a feature most travellers will appreciate. For example, hitting the Function key and spacebar together (or a programmable quick-launch button) brings up the netbook's power management control, which allows you to toggle between four different settings: Power Saving, Auto Power-Saving, High Performance, and Super Performance.
In informal tests using the Super Performance setting, the netbook battery ran for nearly 6 hours, at least half of which involved internet surfing with Wi-Fi on and the screen's brightness at its highest level. Given those conditions, the Asus battery's longevity is impressive. At 1.5kg, however, this Asus model is a little heavier than the average netbook.
Samsung was a latecomer to the netbook and laptop market, and the company seems determined to make up for lost time. One of its latest netbooks, the N110, did a stellar job in our battery tests, lasting 8 hours and 23 minutes on a charge. Even better, the N110 comes with a six-cell battery that doesn't add bulk, as some six-cell batteries are wont to do. (The netbook weighs 1.3kg.)
With its standard six-cell battery, the Aspire One AOD150 lasted 6 hours and 38 minutes in our tests. Some models hit shops with a beefier battery that lasted an even more impressive 8 hours, 34 minutes.
In our tests, the HP Mini 2140 lasted 6 hours, 50 minutes with a six-cell battery. When configuring a system online, upgrading from a three-cell battery is only about £16 - an excellent value, as you'll likely go twice as long on the six-cell. However, the six-cell is fairly bulky and awkwardly protrudes.
HP claims you can recharge the netbook's battery up to 90 percent in 90 minutes, faster than the 4 to 5 hours that other batteries can take to become fully resuscitated. I also like the 2140's keyboard more than those on most netbooks. The keys are a bit wider, so typing is a little faster.
Netbook battery life is bound to get even better as the product category continues to evolve. But if you need a netbook now, and you travel frequently without access to a power port, any of the four models I've profiled here should get you where you're going.