Earlier this year, American Airlines announced that their line of new Boeing 737-800's will be replacing their MD-80's. This is American Airlines first new airplanes since 2001.Why am I mentioning an airplane when writing about power supplies and battery? Well what is a first for American Airlines is that you'll no longer need power adapters since these new planes come with 110V AC power ports available to customers.
While news of 110 AC power outlets is good news, especially for very long hauls, those of you with newer computers know that the battery life on notebooks is getting better and better. My beloved computer of about 3 years had an "extended" battery pack, but it could not last much longer than one to two hours. My new computer's extended battery life is now over 4 hours. With battery power this long, the need to ensure one has a power outlet is less of a concern. It's quite interesting the "little" things we do when we don't have long battery life.
For example, I used to get on the train and scramble to find the nearest outlet in case the train was delayed too long and I needed to charge my battery and/or use the AC power, so I could keep working. For flights that might last 8 - 10 hours, having AC power on the plane is good, but carrying an extra long life battery or battery "slice" means that you can compute your entire flight - no sleep and no airline movies.
The next time you're in the market for a computer, have a look at how long the battery lasts. If you can borrow a friend's computer and see how long the battery life lasts in the real world (not in a vendor's lab) that's even better.Keep in mind that battery life is also quite affected by the power saving features embedded on the notebook, such as dimming the LCD when its running on battery power and more frequently shutting off the monitor when its not in use.
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