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HLO Day 12: Banking On Battery Life

batterypowerDay 12 of Hand Luggage Only saw me back in Sydney for the CEBIT IT conference/geekfest. But while that’s less of a challenge in geographic or airport terms, it did give me a chance to test one hitherto-neglected feature of my recent notebook purchase: the battery life.

One of the things I love about my Eee PC is that I can routinely get four hours use out of it. The HP 2133 was nowhere as impressive; if it got over 90 minutes, it was doing well. So I wasn’t sure what to expect out of the Portégé R600, a machine with way more power (and hence possibly more demands) than either of its junior predecessors. I rarely pay attention to manufacturer battery claims, since their relationship to real usage, especially in a connected scenario, is tenuous at best.

So far on this trip, I’ve not had to use the computer for much more than an hour without plugging in. My unplanned trip to Ballarat represented something of a testing opportunity, but the lack of 3G signal and a talkative bloke next to me on the return cut down on my use quite substantially.

Today, however, I had plenty of disconnected use. There was a 40 minute opening ceremony at CEBIT to transcribe, and then a similar-length presentation from iiNet. Then there was 20 minutes working while waiting for a train, and 40 minutes working on it. And in between there were several hours in sleep mode while I strode the show floor and the streets of Sydney.

The upshot? After two and a half hours continuously connected via 3G and running multiple programs, I still had on-third of my battery left. In practice, that means I should get away with working most of the journey back from Perth in a few weeks, especially as I won’t be networked and will probably wait until after the meal.

Throughout May 2009, Lifehacker Australia editor Angus Kidman will be travelling throughout Australia with just one carry-on bag for the Hand Luggage Only project.