As an employee for SlingMedia.com, Jeremy Toeman does a fair amount of traveling: about 100,000 miles as of May. On his personal blog, www.LiveDigitally.com, Jeremy has posted ten really good tips on maximizing battery life. Very good stuff and well worth reading and archiving for when you are on the road.
I am on the planes a decent amount of the time (100,000 miles by late May) and tend to spend a chunk of my flights using my laptop. Most of the time it’s productive, but it can also include a DVD or the occasional game (either Nethack or Battle for Middle-Earth 2, which are obviously similar). When I was a-hunting for a laptop, battery life was a key criterion in my selection process, as was weight. While I like my Vaio VGN SZ-160P, the standard battery was lasting about 3 hours (the extended life clocks in under six hours before my tweaks), not enough for the SFO-JFK route (now switching to SFO-EWR as a default due to Manhattan traffic, which is a huge bummer because United’s P.S. flights have standard AC outlets on board).
So I did a lil’ Googlin’ for tips on extending battery life, and I found them all pretty, well, lacking. Stuff like “don’t try to do real-time 3d rendering” or “fully charge up your battery before flying.” One of them even said “buy an extra battery.” Not exactly helpful (Sony’s tips are in the picture on the right ( see article for the picture). The most common tip that I’ve found truly deceptive is on disabling wireless: many claim it makes a huge impact to disable it, but personally I’ve only noticed a minor difference. I do in fact disable it (and Bluetooth) but on my Vaio the difference was about 10 minutes over 3 hours (but as I state below, it all adds up).
Alas, I’ve gone and done a lot of experimenting and have a list of my tips to really maximize battery life for my laptop.