Top 5 Tips for Better Laptop Battery Life

This week we’re making it easier than ever to get into a new laptop, so we thought we’d take a look at the one thing that all laptop owners can agree they’d like more of: battery life!

On Monday we looked at Ultrabooks; powered by Intel Core processors, they’re optimized to get the most out of batteries for all-day computing. Even Ultrabooks can benefit from adjusting your computing habits slightly to optimize their life, so here are 5 things that you can do to make your computing day last longer on the go.

  1. Tell your computer to be more power-smart by adjusting your energy settings. You’ll find these under the Control Panel on Windows or under System Preferences on a Mac. Set your display to sleep after a few minutes when not in use. Shut down hard drives when they’re inactive, and set your computer to sleep when it hasn’t been used for five minutes or more.

  2. Shut off stuff you’re not using! If you’re not connected to a Bluetooth device, turn your Bluetooth radio off. Your computer may have a hardware switch for this, it may use a hotkey, or you can sometimes find a Bluetooth icon in your system tray for control. For Mac users, simply select the Bluetooth icon in your top bar and choose Turn Bluetooth Off. Do the same for Wi-Fi when it’s not in use.

  3. Add more RAM. Your hard drive consumes battery, even if you’re on a power-sipping SSD. By adding more RAM, you reduce the number of times your computer has to go back to the hard drive for frequently used information, cutting your power consumption significantly.

  4. Keep it chill: your laptop’s fans kick in when it’s too hot, and they eat up power like there’s no tomorrow. Try a laptop stand or active laptop cooler (powered by a separate power source, preferably) to keep your laptop at a more reasonable temperature. This will also help extend the life of the machine! Also: keep vents clean and clear of dirt and dust.

  5. Charge up when you can. If you’ve used an older laptop in the past you may still be worried about the “memory effect”–something that doesn’t affect modern Lithium Ion and Lithium Polymer-based batteries. These batteries feature smart micro-controllers that trickle-charge batteries, keeping them topped up (so it’s not a problem to leave them plugged in), and won’t create a battery memory. Charge your laptop up when you can, even if it’s only for ten or twenty minutes, to get some power back for the rest of the day.

With these five tips in mind, you’ll find your laptop can marathon most working days, helping you get more done at work, at school, or on-the-go!

By Adam

April 04, 2012