Good battery life budget laptops

brpenta

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Dec 4, 2014
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4,510
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I cannot find laptops that are no more than $400 and have a 4 hour battery life for office uses (Word and PDF documents and internet research; will not be used for games or videos).

The most difficult part is finding battery life information, which is not available on websites such as Amazon or BestBuy.

Can anyone suggest a laptop with the following features?:
Processor: Intel i3 (4th or 5th generation)
Screen size: between 15-15.9 inches
Battery life: average of 4 hours
Price: maximum of $400

P.S.: Are there any magazines with battery life benchmark results for laptops?
 

thx1138v2

Distinguished
Jun 18, 2011
74
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Battery life is totally dependent on usage. You said "..Word and PDF documents and research..." If that research includes YouTube videos etc that is graphics. Even in Office applications you can have wide variances in battery drain depending on what you are doing. A macro or spreadsheet recalculation that runs for an hour is obviously going to use more CPU power than just typing info in. Even email power usage will depend somewhat on the graphics content of those emails. That's generally the difficulty of estimating anyone's battery life. In that context an "average battery life" has no meaning.

There are quite a few sites that do battery benchmarks but that may or may not relate to your actual results because of the above reasons. Search "battery life benchmark laptop"

$400 is cheap for a laptop so you might find one that will last you 4 hours but it will be a dog. That might not be a problem when editing a Word document but I guarantee it will be aggravating when you download email, access the internet, etc.

Another thing to consider is that fully discharging a laptop battery shortens its life. The more often you do that the fewer times the battery will take a charge at all so that doesn't seem to fit your budget either. To extend battery lifetime use the battery only when wall outlet power is not available, i.e train, plane, car etc. and not even then if they have a power outlet unless you want to throw money at batteries.

It would be much better to have 2 batteries and swap them out after 2 hours and recharge the 1st battery ASAP because it's also not good to let them sit around in an uncharged or depleted charge state.
 

thx1138v2

Distinguished
Jun 18, 2011
74
1
18,610
24
Battery life is totally dependent on usage. You said "..Word and PDF documents and research..." If that research includes YouTube videos etc that is graphics. Even in Office applications you can have wide variances in battery drain depending on what you are doing. A macro or spreadsheet recalculation that runs for an hour is obviously going to use more CPU power than just typing info in. Even email power usage will depend somewhat on the graphics content of those emails. That's generally the difficulty of estimating anyone's battery life. In that context an "average battery life" has no meaning.

There are quite a few sites that do battery benchmarks but that may or may not relate to your actual results because of the above reasons. Search "battery life benchmark laptop"

$400 is cheap for a laptop so you might find one that will last you 4 hours but it will be a dog. That might not be a problem when editing a Word document but I guarantee it will be aggravating when you download email, access the internet, etc.

Another thing to consider is that fully discharging a laptop battery shortens its life. The more often you do that the fewer times the battery will take a charge at all so that doesn't seem to fit your budget either. To extend battery lifetime use the battery only when wall outlet power is not available, i.e train, plane, car etc. and not even then if they have a power outlet unless you want to throw money at batteries.

It would be much better to have 2 batteries and swap them out after 2 hours and recharge the 1st battery ASAP because it's also not good to let them sit around in an uncharged or depleted charge state.
 
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