A recent study shows that having your laptop's wireless card on all the time will only lead to a net effect of 2% battery drain. Yes, you read that right, only 2 percent. Then why in the world did I begin the practice of immediately downloading all emails (through Outlook) and and all my favorite websites just so I could turn off wireless? I in fact learned this practice from someone from our IT department who swore that wireless is the culprit in every laptop's battery drain.
Well, that was before I began using the external battery source from battery geek. The Powerpack BG19-24 130 as shown below is supposed to give any laptop an additional 5-7 hours on top of what you already get from your standard battery. In my case before with the LE1600 fitted with a secondary custom battery pack, I could easily get a combined runtime of 8-10 hours. You can call me spoiled but with the LE1600's 5 hour battery life (actual use) and the battery geek's 5 hours, I could go about all my daily computer chores while staying online all of the time.
While doing my research about the Macbook Pro 2.33, I learned that its relatively short battery life (around 3 hours) is something that I would have to live with. And so on the same day I ordered the MBP, I also ordered the battery geek cable adapter designed specifically for the MBP. You can see from the picture above the magnetic end connector of the adapter which is exactly the same specs as that of any MBP magsafe power adapter.
Yesterday, I put the MBP and the battery geek to the test. While working with pictures in Adobe Lightroom, running in XP under Parallels, I had wireless turned on all the time while intermittently checking my blog feeds and email. I managed to squeeze 5 and half hours from the battery geek and another 2 hours and 40 minutes from the MBP battery. Approximately 8 hours away from an electrical socket, for me, is definitely more than good enough. I am now confident that even in the longest of meetings, I will have enough power before I will have to plug in.
If you consider buying one of these external power sources, you should be aware of the following:
- Be prepared to carry an extra 3 lbs in your daypack
- In use, you could either place the batterygeek right beside your laptop or have the power cord sticking out of your daypack should you decide to keep the battery hidden. This is still a lot less displeasing to the eye than having your power cable plugged-in.
- using the external battery does not cause extra heat. Using the CoreDuo Temp software, my temperature is steady between 115-120 degrees F.
- Everytime you use the batterygeek, you will need to charge it for at least 4 hours with its accompanying power adapter.
Going back to the subject of what causes battery drain, it seems that your processor load, frequency of hard drive access, and LCD brightness are the real culprits. You can read about the in depth look in this article from Tabletpcreview.