If you're buying a netbook, the October 2009 issue of PC Authority has our biggest ever netbook labs review - we've tested 25 different models, including Asus, Dell, HP, Samsung, Lenovo, Toshiba, MSI, Kogan and more.
One of the most interesting aspects of the testing process has been the battery life benchmarks. Look out for manufacturers that cut costs by specifying a low-capacity battery. Acer's Aspire One is the cheapest netbook on test, but also lies at the bottom of the battery life table (see below). Worse still, spares simply aren't available.
That's not all to look out for, however. The price of spare batteries also varies wildly. Acer's entrants might not impress when it comes to battery life, for example, but its extended batteries are much more affordable than Samsung's.
As we've explained before, battery life varies drastically depending on your usage, settings, and the battery type. As a standard comparison measure, we test laptops using a light use test, which measures how long the machine could stay on if idle; the screen is set to midway between maximum and minimum, and all processor power saving is turned on. In this case, we haven't run our second test, a heavy use test, which tests the machine's battery life under intense performance conditions.
Use these numbers as a comparison measure - these numbers give you an idea of the absolute maxmium possible. The real battery life you can expect from these machines will likely be a few hours less.
|As the test results show, battery life varies wildly on cheap netbooks. (Click to enlarge)