Let there be battery life

August 14, 2006

I recently took my first business trip since acquiring a hand-me-down Toshiba Portege 3505 Tablet PC. The device overall works well, but has one fairly major flaw: it won’t power up unless the battery is removed, and therefore has to always be tethered to a power outlet. At 4 pounds (actually a little less than that sans battery) it’s worth it to me to put up with this problem relative to continuing to cart around the 8 pound Dell Latitude behemoth I was using previously. It has also given me some virgin experience with the Tablet platform that I’d been craving. Regardless, it has made me all the more conscious of the important role batteries play in our ability to break away from the shackles of electrical outlets (apologies to any readers on death row who take umbrage with my metaphor).

Not long after this first travel experience with the Portege 3505, I acquired (in rapid succession) the Fujitsu P1510D mini tablet, and the first UMPC on the market: the battery challenged Tabletkiosk eo. The Fuji could last about 2.25 hours with wifi always on, and the eo never made it more than a paltry 1.5 hours. I sold the Fuji not so much for the low battery life, but because it just couldn’t handle normal inking with its otherwise terrific touchscreen interface, and I returned the eo for a refund, unwilling to wait on the Tabletkiosk to discover a battery life fix (and they since have and were absolutely excellent to deal with to their credit).

Needless to say battery life is much more important to me since I got burned by my first experiences on the bleeding edge. I rely heavily on my PocketPC phone, the Sprint version of the HTC Apache, which usually makes it through an entire day, such that the need for my handicapped Portege 3505 is fortunately minimized. However, the Apache sometimes just can’t handle everything I need to be able to do (but comes very close), so I’m constantly lusting for my next computer (among other devices) and the 9 hour battery life of the Electrovaya Scribbler slate tablet is looking more and more attractive by the day…

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