If your laptop battery has ever faded on you at the most inopportune moment, you will appreciate Electrofuel's PowerPad 160. You can rely on this Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) polymer battery for a whopping 16 hours of power.
An external battery for portable computers, the PowerPad is about the size of a standard 8.5- by 11-inch sheet of paper. Weighing only 2.5 pounds, the PowerPad matches the footprint of most laptops. Electrofuel claims 435 watt-hours per liter compared to the standard battery, which lasts 30 to 40 watt-hours per liter. The self-discharge aspect is significantly better as well. Most Li-Ion batteries will lose only about 5 percent of their charge over a month; pretty impressive when compared with Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd) batteries, which lose
25 to 30 percent of their charge over the same time period. Electrofuel claims about 300 recharges before any significant loss of capacity.
Of course, run-times depend on the type of application being used. Electrofuel advises using Windows Power Management utility to set all power-consuming activities (such as turning off the hard drive or activating hibernation) to their lowest time interval. DVD drives are infamous power hogs and continuously running interactive CDs and DVDs drained our test PowerPad in 7 hours and 45 minutes. A full recharge took just five hours. Testing the battery with common tasks like searching the Web and word processing, with idle time, yielded the best performance: 15 hours and 37 minutes.
Seemingly pricey at $499, the PowerPad 160 may be a real deal if you're always dependent upon a notebookcomputer. Cheaper batteries could quickly cost more than the price of PowerPad.
MANUFACTURER: Electrofuel; 866-302-2204; www.electrofuel.com
CONFIGURATION: Compatible with laptops from Toshiba, Gateway, Panasonic, Compaq, IBM, and Acer
PROS: 16 hours per charge; no "memory effect"
CONS: Not yet available for all laptops