Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Netbooks and Nine Cells and Chargers, Oh My!

Netbooks grow more popular all the time, and many of my friends in the writing community have jumped to this small, light, convenient alternative to a bulkier laptop. I had the first EEE by Asus, with the tiny keyboard and 512mb of RAM. I loved it, but upgraded to my Lenovo S10, which has 1GB and 180mhz, and runs XP faster than my tricked out HP laptop.

Recently I purchased a 9 cell battery for $65 on ebay. The big complaint from many nay-sayers has been battery life, and it's a legitimate one. I, personally, use my netbook in places that generally have a plug available, but it's nice to sit on the harbor and type away while the seagulls screech. With my new 9 cell I have significantly increased the portability and power.

The 9 cell DOES stick out a bit in the back, but it's almost like having a foot. Not noticeably. It's worth mentioning that buying on ebay usually means buying from sellers who do constant shipping. Make sure you specify the color or check the listing carefully so you don't end up with a mis-match.

The battery came with claims of "12 hours of life." This was an exaggeration. Working with all guns blazing-- word processor, two or three large programs like Dreamweaver and/or Paint Shop Pro, Wifi, using Digsby, I get somewhere around 7 hours of battery life. I'm just writing, with everything else shut off, I get 10 hours. It would be very rare for me to write or do anything light non-stop for that long, so keep in mind... estimated battery life is not accurate, even at minimum use. But also keep in mind how long you actually stay on, and what you're doing with your netbook.

The new 9 cell took nearly 12 hours to charge the first time and now takes about 6-8 hours when it's close to dead. My 3 cell (which came standard) takes about an hour or less. I carry both with me. Combine the minimum 7 hours of the 9 cell with the average 3 1/2 to 4 with the original 3 cell-- both during heavy use-- and I'm carting 10 hours or more with me-- no plug.

For me, this is about as good as it's going to get. Even on a marathon writing day-- which would be light use, and therefore get me closer to 14 hours-- I'm not going to do that much before a charge would be necessary. Even on days when I am away from the house from morning til night, I can go plugless and fancy-free.


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