July 24th, 2009
04:31 AM GMT
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Remember the anticipation that used to come with turning on a new computer? The graphics were cooler, the load-time faster and the new features in the operating system inspired awe.

When did that end? Starting up my latest laptop was a less than thrilling experience. Sure it was new and shiny, but the user experience was essentially the same as the computer I'd had before. Faster, yes, but the difference to me as a relatively average computer user was negligible. Look I love my new laptop, but it simply is not leaps and bounds ahead of my last one.

So that got me thinking - what would make my mouth drop open these days when it comes to a new laptop? There is only one thing that really frustrates me anymore: battery life. What good is wireless Internet when you can only be so far from a power socket? A 16-hour transcontinental flight and a four-hour battery life do not a happy work trip make.

Acer CEO J.T. Wang is betting other consumers feel the same way. The Taiwanese company has just launched a series of laptops they say have eight-plus hours of battery life. "Eight is a magical number, according to market studies." says Wang. "Because eight hours represents a whole day computing and you don't have to bring a big adapter."

Apparently, the battle to build a better battery is a battle of the bulge – it all comes down to weight. Building a lighter, more powerful battery appears to be more challenging than building lighter, more powerful chips.

As for me, I don't know if an eight-hour battery life is enough. I want 16. Or 24.Honestly I'd be happiest if I never had to plug the thing in at all.

How many hours of computing time would keep you satisfied?

soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Mazen BAKI

    Eight hours battery is good, fourteen is excellents

    July 24, 2009 at 5:26 am |
  2. James Cameron

    I'm with the US Army stationed in Europe. I make the trip across the atlantic 3-4 times a year. 8 hours of battery life would be just about perfect for this trip. Now if the airlines would just get WiFi on their planes life would be great.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:21 am |
  3. Christopher Arzoumanian

    The eight hour lifespan is not bad as a start, but i would say 12-15 hours is like a giant leap for laptops!!

    July 24, 2009 at 6:41 am |
  4. Max Nex

    Ok, so I have the new Acer laptop but I still pack the charger (old habits die hard).

    July 24, 2009 at 6:44 am |
  5. Anon.

    Six hours would be enough for me.
    A film, a couple of pirated TV shows, a bit of a work and then a few rounds of online backgammon.

    July 24, 2009 at 7:04 am |
  6. Richard, Melbourne

    How about a pedal attachment, so you can cycle to run the battery, work and get fit at the same time? Forget laptops, let's make all televisions work with pedal power...... :-)

    July 24, 2009 at 7:24 am |
  7. Ted

    When Apple came out with the iPod, They didn't try to figure out what was "enough" space for all your songs... Their ambitions was for you, dear user, to have MORE THAN ENOUGH, MORE THAN YOU'LL CONCEIVABLY NEED....

    I suspect that we consumers would handsomely reward any laptop maker who could achieve this level of consumer satisfaction.... Think, cellphone battery life....

    The other alternative of course, is to carry extra batteries....

    July 24, 2009 at 8:04 am |
  8. Tony lee

    8 hrs is more than enough. C'mon, spend more time with your family and friends. Get personal rather than facing that idiotic electronic friend.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  9. takashi

    I want to watch TV on PC outside, so over 12 houres would be enough for me.

    July 24, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  10. Peder Burgaard

    A 24 hour or 1 week battery lifetime would be nice. Though other overlooked questions soon arises which is: "How long would you want to spend recharging a 24 hour or 1 week battery?" "Will people forget to recharge with a 24 hour batterylife time?"

    The analogy of the above question is from experience of owning a very early Nokia N95 only able to keep a charge for two hours and I always had the recharger pluged in. Once the firmware improved the battery lifetime to 6-8 hours, I of cause was able to detatch the recharger. The effect though was countless battery depletion due to the "security" of a longer battery lifetime in changing my recharging behavior.

    July 25, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  11. Manish Patel

    I want a laptop which gets charged whenever I get connected to any wireless network so I don't have to worry about the battery life at all.

    July 25, 2009 at 11:52 pm |
  12. pete

    I agree, people on the move need something more like 16 hours of battery life. Maybe indeed even 24 hours. Transcontinental flights obviously demand that much, e.g. that dreadful experience of flying NYC to HK. Same for long car trips through remote areas or waiting hours stranded in some foreign airport. Carrying a hefty, cumbersome extra battery is an awkward solution, often not practical.

    I had great hopes for those new alcohol-powered batteries (seriously, google it!) that had been reported but unfortunately they seem to have been quietly retired. Imagine the scene, as you extend your opened "battery flask" to the stewardess and ask for a refill. :)

    July 30, 2009 at 9:21 am |
  13. Abiodun Sobowale

    Hello Manish,
    Power over WiFi? good idea. let us team up to work on this "crazy" idea.

    i want untethered and unfettered access to the internet.

    ha ha ha!

    July 30, 2009 at 11:48 am |
  14. Kihanyaking@yahoo.com

    I can make a small generator that could fit into your lap top that would never ever require anything but itself to produce electricity. It's easy really.

    August 7, 2009 at 11:47 am |

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