Tired of Anemic Portables?
I love my Apple MacBook Air. But on my next cross-country flight, I'm leaving the Air at home and hitting the skies with my new Samsung N120 netbook. Why? In PC World battery-drain tests, the N120 lasted 7 hours, 43 minutes, versus the Air's 2 hours, 25 minutes. Nearly 5 more hours of productivity in flight? Yes, please.
If you're tired of anemic laptop batteries, you'll get a charge out of these eight long-lived portables. The four netbooks and four notebooks, arranged in order from longest to shortest battery life, will keep you going--for anywhere from 6 hours, 38 minutes to nearly 9 hours. With battery power like that, you'll be able to keep your attention on your work, and you'll be at your destination before you know it.
Lenovo ThinkPad X200 (Laptop)
This ultraportable, currently number one on our Top 10 Ultraportable Laptops chart, offers maximum battery life. We tested the Lenovo ThinkPad X200 with a nine-cell battery option, and got 8 hours, 54 minutes of use from a single charge. The battery added less than a pound to the computer, bringing the total weight to only 3.7 pounds. Upgrading from the standard four-cell battery to the nine-cell adds $50 to your system's overall cost, which starts around $951.
Samsung N110 (Netbook)
Samsung, a latecomer to the U.S. portables market, seems determined to make up for lost time. The Samsung N110 did a stellar job in PC World's battery tests, lasting 8 hours, 23 minutes on a charge--the best of any netbook in this lineup. Even better, the N110's six-cell battery doesn't add bulk, as is the case with the HP Mini 2140. (The six-cell battery of the Samsung N120 is of a similarly modest size.) The N110 weighs 2.7 pounds. Prices for this model have dropped recently; you can now pick up an N110 for about $410 and up. Currently the N110 is third on our Top 10 Netbooks chart.
Lenovo ThinkPad T400 (Laptop)
ThinkPads are catnip to business travelers, thanks to their sturdy construction, solid performance, roomy keyboards, and--in the case of the Lenovo ThinkPad T400--excellent battery life. Our test unit came with a nine-cell battery, which added considerable bulk but delivered 7 hours, 59 minutes of battery life. Like some ThinkPads, the T400 also gives you a choice of pointing devices: a nub as well as a touchpad. It's great to have both, though the dual sets of pointer buttons can cause accidental presses. The T400 is available online for $1289 and up.
Acer TravelMate 6293 (Laptop)
In performance, the Acer TravelMate 6293, our number one all-purpose laptop, is no slouch, turning in an impressive WorldBench 6 score of 90. In the looks department, it's a wee bit frumpy. But I'm here to talk about what matters most when you're on the road: long battery life. The TravelMate 6293 is great in that regard, having lasted 7 hours, 57 minutes on a charge in our tests. And the $999 price is certainly right. You can go a long way on that price--and on the battery.
Samsung N120 (Netbook)
I watched the netbook market for a year and a half before making a move, and the Samsung N120 is the netbook I bought. Not only does it offer the most comfortable netbook keyboard yet (in my opinion), but its six-cell battery kept me typing at a recent Twitter conference for over 5 hours before I pulled its AC adapter out of my bag--and that was with the screen at full brightness and Wi-Fi on. In PCW tests, the N120 went for 7 hours, 43 minutes on a charge, which is excellent but not quite as good as its netbook sibling, the Samsung N110. The N120 is priced around $410 online.
Fujitsu LifeBook T2020 (Laptop)
If your taste leans toward a tablet notebook, take note of the Fujitsu LifeBook T2020. It's lightweight (3.6 pounds) and compact (11.7 by 8.6 by 1.3 inches). The 12.1-inch screen is brighter and more vivid than your typical matte-finish laptop screen, and it looks good indoors or out. You won't get stellar performance--but that's life with a tablet PC. You will get great battery life, however: It lasted 7 hours, 17 minutes, in our power-drain tests. Regrettably, this LifeBook is a bit pricey, around $1488 and up online.
HP Mini 2140 (Netbook)
In our tests, the HP Mini 2140 (available for $400 and up online) lasted 6 hours, 50 minutes with an optional six-cell battery. The six-cell battery adds about $25 to $30 to the cost of a new HP Mini 2140, which is an excellent value. But if you buy a Mini 2140 with a three-cell battery and you decide to get an additional six-cell battery later, it will cost you $129. Keep in mind that the six-cell battery is bulkier than, say, the six-cell battery on the Samsung netbooks, and it awkwardly protrudes. On the upside: HP claims that you can recharge the netbook's battery up to 90 percent in 90 minutes, faster than the 4 to 5 hours that other batteries can take to reach a full charge.
Acer Aspire One AOD150 (Netbook)
With its standard six-cell battery, the Acer Aspire One AOD150 (available for about $290 and up) lasted 6 hours, 38 minutes in our tests. Some models hit U.S. store shelves with a beefier battery that lasted an even more impressive 8 hours, 34 minutes. This second-generation, 2.9-pound Acer netbook earned the number five spot on our Top 10 Netbooks chart. One thing to keep in mind: In May, Acer announced two new netbooks, the AO751h ($350) and the AOD250 ($298). Both models offer a choice of a three- or six-cell battery.