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Posts Tagged ‘ battery ’

Samsung Galaxy S4: how to double your battery life

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

DSC_1191I love my Samsung Galaxy S4, but I don’t love its battery life. Samsung advertises “up to eight hours” of active use, but when I’m sitting on the tube playing a game, and my phone is constantly searching for a mobile signal that isn’t there, I swear that battery meter ticks down by 1% a minute. Having paid for a premium smartphone, I hate feeling like I have to carefully ration my use of it.

I can’t blame Samsung. You won’t do much better with a Nexus 5 or an HTC One. There seems to be an industry-wide consensus that slimness is king. Your phone might run out of juice by sundown, but while it’s spending the evening conked out in your pocket, at least it won’t ruin the line of your trousers.

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Upgrading to iOS 5: what worked and what didn’t

Monday, October 17th, 2011

iOS 5 iPad

Here at PC Pro, we try and do things so that you don’t have to. That’s why we’ve spent a good part of the weekend installing iOS on as many different Apple devices as we could lay our hands on. Although judging by the comments on our Twitter feed and earlier story about iOS 5 problems, many of you haven’t hung around to find out how we got on…

Our experience should help guide people who have yet to click the magic button in iTunes. And even if you’ve already downloaded iOS 5 onto your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, some of the problems and workarounds we’ve discovered will still be of interest.

Here’s what we’ve found:

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The next killer smartphone feature: a decent battery

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Amazon Kindle in hand

I got an Amazon Kindle for Christmas. I charged it for only the third time yesterday, despite using it almost every day. In fact, my only problem with the Kindle is remembering where I left the charger several weeks ago.

Similarly, I can’t remember the last time I ran out of juice on my laptop. Until a couple of years ago, I could barely complete a train journey home without peering at the Windows battery meter and praying the laptop didn’t abruptly conk out mid-way through a match in Football Manager (I do work on the train sometimes, in case my publisher is reading).

Yet, with the extended battery pack on my Dell XPS M1330, the battery lasts about three or four hours – plenty long enough to get me to and from the office. And by today’s standards, that’s even starting to look pretty feeble. The 13in MacBook Pro lasted for in excess of 10 hours in our light-use battery tests, for example. Like the Kindle, it’s practically reached the point where you barely need to worry about the battery.

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Two novel ways to power-up your iPhone

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Dexim P-flipiPhone owners are never far away from their charger, given that the handset chomps through its battery faster than Dan Brown dreaming up the plot of one of his novels. Two devices I stumbled across on the CES showfloor might help keep the iPhone kicking for a little longer.

The Dexim P-Flip is a superbly designed extra battery cum desktop dock for the iPhone. When you’re at your desk, you plonk your iPhone into the P-Flip cradle and connect it to your computer via USB cable. This both synchronises your iPhone with the PC, and charges the P-Flip’s battery.

Then when you’re ready to head out into the big wide world, you flip the battery pack flat against the surface of the phone and benefit from up to eight hours of extra talktime or 15 more hours of video playback (Dexim’s figures, not mine).

What’s more, the device doubles as a stand for the iPhone (both upright and landscape), allowing you to watch video without having to awkwardly cradle the handset in your palm – although the screen might be a little too perpendicular to the surface to make for comfortable long-term viewing.  It’s reasonably good value too, costing £40 from Play.com. (more…)

At last! A phone that doesn’t lie

Monday, February 16th, 2009

 

There are many things I’ve learnt to distrust over the years. PRs who start a conversation with the phrase “have you got 30 seconds?”, my Dad’s woefully optimistic assessment of the carnage he’s unleashed on his PC, and West Ham’s back four, for instance. But none more so than the battery indicator on mobile phones.

They are pathological liars. They’ll spend two days displaying five full bars of battery goodness, only to chomp their way through the remaining bars in six-and-a-half minutes. I’ll never buy a Sony Ericsson phone again after the time I left the house with the full five bars of battery, only to end up on the motorway hard shoulder a couple of hours later, barking instructions to my girlfriend in a demented verbal shorthand, because the battery had inexplicably drained down to the last sodding bar.

And what does the phone do when it’s approaching battery Armageddon? Does it go into Apollo 13 mode and start shutting down every last unnecessary amp of power? No, it starts twittering out “battery low” warnings like a budgie on Speed, serving only to chip another few seconds off your remaining talktime in the process.

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Battery Chicken

Friday, February 13th, 2009

I confess; I’m chicken. I need a new battery for my Toshiba Satellie U200, so off I went and Googled for it. This is what online shopping should be for, after all: I can type in the part number of the laptop or the battery and get many pages of hits, all striving to garner my business with promises of guarantees, instant shipping, perfect compatibility… what could possibly go wrong

Well, take a look at pictures of the U200 Tosh. It has overhung screen hinges – by which I mean, when the screen is opened any further than about 50 degrees, the base of the screen starts to drop over the back of the laptop. By the time it is open at a sensible laptop viewing angle, the screen base is aligned with the bottom of the main body of the unit, and completely obscures the rear of the laptop. That’s why all the plugs are on the sides and even the front: the back is completely occupied by the battery.

So… why is someone selling this? – at first blush it looks like a jolly good idea. Extended battery runtime is an excellent concept, and hanging outside the form-factor of a laptop is a tried and tested way to get it. Having a standard battery dock in many models of laptop no doubt helps manufacturers keep prices down, too – but as with so much “should be easy” stuff on the web, it looks like this is one of those howlers it’s all too easy to get caught by.

I actually sat here for a few minutes, waggling the screen of the Tosh to and fro for a while, trying to figure out if the lid could possibly miss the bump on the back of the battery – then I realised it was much easier to confess to moral turpitude here and wait for someone to recommend a battery replacement website which actually knows what they are selling.

(by the way, no special criticism is intended for laptopbatterystore.co.uk – they are just one of the hundreds of sites all apparently using the same copatibility parts matrix to offer the same batteries for the same laptops)

Two and a half cheers for the iPhone

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

Before the iPhone 3G came out, I was telling anyone who’d listen that I thought it would change the smartphone game. I reckoned it would finally make internet access via mobile phone a mass-market norm – rather than a geeky proof of concept, as it tends to be with other smartphones.

It’s not just that the iPhone actually makes the internet pretty usable on a pocket device. That’s certainly a big part of the formula; but for me, the coup de grâce is that, in the UK at least, it comes with a simple, standard unlimited data package.

That means you don’t need to ration your mobile internet usage. You can use the web the same way you use it at home – for looking around, for trying things out, for exploring. For browsing. (more…)

PC Pro gets wind

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

HYmini wind charger

For the past week I’ve been trying out this tiny wind turbine called the HYmini. The fan charges up an internal battery which can power any gadget that connects to its USB port.

I’ve mounted this one on the handlebars of my bike, and my 12-mile commute so far seems to be enough to power my mobile phone. The only downside is that I have to explain what it is to inquisitive cyclists at every red traffic light.

As well as this, the PC Pro offices are currently stuffed full of solar panels, wind-up chargers and various battery packs. It’s all research for a feature coming up in the next issue, which asks if it’s possible to power all of your gadgets with sustainable energy. Check out issue 165 for the answer.

Top Tip: If you ever have to design a “green” gadget, why not make it an attractive colour? Green green products are a cliché.

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