Battery for Notebook Buying Guide
Besides portability, there's a lot more to your notebook. Take battery back up, for instance, which is actually the mainstay of how long would you be able to work without having to require an electric source for charging. Particularly for people who would be traveling frequently, the option of charging their notebook might not always be available. Otherwise, there might also be a select few who just want to move around while they do their work, and not get into the business of cords and wires at all. The following information will let you decide whether or not you need an extended battery, and if you do, what are the things you need to consider.
What is your usage? In case you already have a notebook that is a part of your work schedule or personal requirements, I'm sure you would have a fair idea of what you are looking for. For instance, you might always have it plugged to your desk at home or office, or moving around while you work. You might be using it just for a couple of hours, or could be constantly plugged in for eight to ten hours. However, in case you still haven't purchased a notebook, it's necessary for you to keep these points in mind. As I mentioned in the beginning of the guide, a notebook is a lot more than portability. Also, just because the notebook has the most advanced features, doesn't mean that its battery is also going to give you the kind of backup you desire. On the flip-side, just because the battery backup is good, doesn't mean it would give you the kind of performance you desire. So, you need to search for a combination of both these factors to ensure that you get the best value for money deal.
Backup duration: The number of hours a battery is going to run depends on three factors – its own capacity, your usage habits, and the configuration of the notebook. In case you are only into surfing the internet, making presentations and light documents, and playing the occasional movie or two, your battery will run considerably longer compared to if you frequently run animation software, listen to music and watch movies for hours. Further, if you will take breaks during operating the notebook, the battery will run longer, since the sleep mode will consume a lesser quantity of battery.
Next, if you have the latest range of processors, they would certainly consume more power than their predecessors, unless there is special provision in the microchip to consume less battery. The criteria here is the Thermal Design Power (TDP) rating, which determines how much battery would be used. In case of a higher wattage rating, the battery consumption will be more. Similarly, integrated graphics chips use less power than dedicated graphic processors. The screen, if it's an LED one, will use lesser power compared to a non-LED screen. Even in terms of hard drives, if you use a solid state drive (SSD), with a power consumption of 1.5W, it would run longer than a regular drive of 2.5W power consumption.
Also, the listed battery time rarely matches up to the real deal. What the mentioned time refers to is the time your battery will run in optimum conditions, which are certainly unachievable even 20% of the
time you use your notebook.
Specifications: There might be a situation wherein you will have multiple choices in terms of batteries for a notebook. You must be aware of three terms in order to make the right decision – amp hours, watt hours and number of cells. Taking an example, let's say you have the following options for selecting a battery
Standard six-cell battery rated at 2.2 amp hours and 47 watt hours
12-cell extended battery rated at 2.2 amp hours and 94 watt hours
High-capacity six-cell battery rated at 2.55 amp hours and 55 watt hours
Here, you would notice that despite the fact that the 12-cell battery is rated at 12 amp hours, it has higher watt hours compared to the 6-cell that has a rating of 6.55 amp hours. The reason is because the former has more cells. It's simple math! The more the number of cells, the higher would be the watt hours. So, as a basic rule you must look at the highest watt hours available to determine which battery is the best for your purpose. However, you must keep in mind that in case of some specific configurations, more cells would have an impact on the notebook's performance. Thus, it is important that you get all the details from the concerned person before purchasing.
Technology: Batteries present in older notebooks are of the nickel metal hydride type, which were being replaced by lithium ion batteries. Lithium ion batteries were superior to their nickel counterparts since the more advanced chemistry resulted in better performance. Further, the energy density of Lithium ion cells is higher than that of nickel metal hydride cells, and the former also have a lower self discharge of 5%, compared to 30% of the latter. Also, lithium batteries are not prone to the memory effect, wherein batteries lose the ability to hold the full charge, which makes them better at storing energy compared to nickel. However, the one downside of lithium ion batteries is that if they are overcharged or shorted, they might explode. In this regard, using the lithium polymer batteries are better, but come with their own set of problems.
Weight: A good battery might not always be the lightest one, and can have a significant impact on the overall weight of the notebook. So, more cells in the battery might add another hour or two to its life, but if it comes at the cost of making the notebook heavier by a couple of pounds, you might want to reconsider your decision if your job involves carrying the notebook to different places everyday. In other cases, the battery also tends to stick out of the body, which might seem awkward at times, but helps many who want a slightly slanted keyboard when the notebook is placed on a table.