Essential guide to care your laptop battery, laptop adapter, power tools battery

Review Asus Padfone – 4.3-inch smartphone docks inside 10.1-inch tablet

Asus always opens its home computer show Computex with a bang and this year it was the Padfone – a 4.3-inch smartphone that docks inside a 10.1-inch tablet dock with dynamic display switching, two batteries, a shared SIM card, a single hard drive, Qualcomm processor, Android‘s next generation operating system (Ice Cream Sandwich) and a Q4, 2011 launch date with a price in the US$800-1,000 area.

While specifics are thin on the ground at the moment, the ASUS smartphone will run on the latest version of Android available at launch and have all the functionality we’ve come to expect from such a device – browsing the internet, checking emails, watching online videos and playing addictive games like Angry Birds. If you find yourself wanting to watch movies or enjoy games on a bigger screen, the smartphone can be docked within the body of the tablet. There’s no need to switch off one to use the other, whatever you were up to at docking time will be continued on the bigger screen and if you receive a call while using the tablet, you could either whip out the phone or connect using a Bluetooth headset.

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ASUS says that there will be some sort of shared storage pool in the smartphone part of the device so that users won’t have to concern themselves with synchronizing data between the two. This also suggests that the smartphone will likely provide the processing for the tablet too. The tablet, though, will not be a mere dumb terminal – it will also provide extra connectivity ports and some juice for the smartphone’s battery.

It’s another design masterpiece from ASUS, which consistently demonstrates the ability to think outside the square and the Padfone will enable users to switch between pad and phone for a best-fit user experience – too often I find myself using a smartphone and wanting more screen real estate or a tablet but finding it restrictive in the environment – the Padfone will definitely cure that problem.

It will also be interesting to see if this two-in-one approach encourages Android developers not to charge for separate phone/tablet (“HD”) versions as is very common (and very annoying) on iOS devices.

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How to make the most of the laptop you already have

Consumer envy continues to be a major selling point when it comes to anything electronics. You know how it goes. No sooner do you buy a latest techie device you thought you couldn’t live without than a better, updated model hits the store shelves. That trend will continue, as there is no shortage of enhancements, features, upgrades, and longer life in the burgeoning consumer electronics area.

This fact is particularly true when it comes to laptops. Everywhere you turn, new laptops, notebooks and netbooks are debuting that are lighter, brighter, and have a slew of new options. Of course, a longer battery life is a selling point as well.

But since most of us cannot buy an upgrade every time one is introduced, we typically need to make do with what we have—for a while, anyway. If you have a laptop that doesn’t have the Acer Aspire 3690 battery life you crave, it doesn’t mean you have to get a new laptop. Rather, consider these basic pointers on improving battery life.

  1. Lower the brightness. Most people keep their screen at a bright setting for optimal viewing, but the truth is that it is one of the biggest power drains on your laptop battery. The brighter the screen, the shorter the time between charges. With that in mind, simply dimming it to a still-acceptable level will add quality time before you need to power up again.
  2. Turn off any features you aren’t currently using. A good case in point is the internet. If you don’t need to surf the internet, then a battery-saver would be to make sure you aren’t needlessly creating drain. The same holds true with any programs you have running in the background. It’s easy enough to turn on the programs when you need them and then close them when you don’t. It’s just a matter of creating that consumer discipline so you remember to do that.
  3. Set your battery setting to “power saver.” This lowers your CPU’s clock speed. While that may not always be what you want, because it means your laptop will be slower, if you alter it to a satisfactory level you may not notice the difference while saving on HP 484784-001 notebook battery life.

ZZ49A9061F.jpgAlso consider keeping a backup laptop battery on hand so that when your current battery no longer does the job you require then make it your emergency backup and get yourself a high performing, new battery to keep you powered up.

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Top 10 Key Features in Windows 8

Released just last week in Developers Preview mode, Windows 8 already contains more than 300 new features. At its Build developers conference, Microsoft pointed to plans to keep adding more new capabilities until Windows 8 evolves into a shipping product. Which of the existing features are most important to get to know about right now?

While no list like this can even approach ‘all inclusiveness’, our list of ten key features in Windows 8 ranges across new jargon such as “charms” and “snap muti-tasking,” to first-time operatibility on ARM-based tablets, to major improvements around support for USB 3.0, touch keyboards, file copying, and more. Here, in no particular order of importance, is the list of ten:

1. Support for both x86 PCs and ARM tablets

Windows 8 is the first edition of Windows to operate on both ARM-based tablets and traditional x86 PCs based on ARM processors from Intel and AMD.

“Support for ARM-based chipsets, touch, and sensors makes Windows 8 work beautifully on your choice of a full spectrum of devices, such as 10-inch slates with all-day battery life, ultra-lightweight laptops, and powerful all-in-ones with 27-inch high-definition screens,” Microsoft contends, in a Windows 8 Guide distributed with Windows Developer Preview

In addition, the ARM edition of Windows 8 includes a new mode dubbed “always on, always connected,” designed to let tablets act like smartphones. Tablets can remain in standby mode without disconnecting from the Internet, and then wake up instantly.

Windows 8 is designed to work seamlessly across both PCs and ARM tablets. Yet until developers get a real start on apps for Microsoft’s still empty Windows Store, it’s tough to tell whether that will be universally true.

2. Touch-centric, Tiles-based User Interface (UI)

Although Windows 8 might look and feel like an entirely new “user experiemce,”, Microsoft is actually layering a new animation-enabled user interface (UI) on top of an only somewhat upgraded Windows 7.

The Windows 8 Start Menu is customizable through a mosaic of tiles, which differ from traditional desktop icons by letting you view live information from Windows 8 Metro style apps without actually accessing the apps.

In demoing the tile-based UI at last week’s Build conference , Microsoft showed how the tile for a Windows 8 weather app is able to display the current temperature in a city – along with projected temperatures for the next two days – without requiring you to open up the app. A tile for Windows Live Mail will show you your latest message, while a tile for a social networking app will show you notifications.

“The [Metro] apps are full-screen. They’re beautiful.They’re designed for touch, but of course, they work great with a mouse and keyboard as well if that’s what you have. We wanted to make it really fast and fluid for you to switch between them,” according to Jensen Harris, lead program manager on the Microsoft Office User Experience..

Windows 8 users are also able to access Windows 7 apps. “Everything that runs on Windows 7 will run on Windows 8,” maintained Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft’s Windows and indows Live division, during a keynote at the Build conference. However, in order to access Windows 7 apps, you need to switch to a different built-in UI.

3. Charms

In large part, ‘charms’ is a new implementation of the traditional Windows start bar. Charms can also be used to quickly configure settings for individual apps. On an ordinary non-touch PC, charms are accessed by dragging the mouse to the bottom-left corner of the screen, to the same spot as the old Windows start button. On a tablet, you swipe from the right side of the screen to bring up charms.

Microsoft recently applied for a trademark on charms. The charms sidebar offers five sets of options, supporting both app-specific settings and system settings such as volume and brightness. The options include Start, Search, Share, Devices, and Settings. The Start option returns the user to the home screen. The Devices option presents a list of connected devices. Under the Share option, users can see social network sharing apps.

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4. Snap Multi-tasking

‘Snap multitasking” is designed to make it easy to run two apps in Windows 8 side-by-side, to resize them, and to switch between them. On the right-hand side of the screen, you can snap an app into place.

You can make an app smaller or larger by dragging the bar for the app. To switch between apps in Windows 8, you swipe from the left-hand part of the screen.

However, Windows 8 does not allow you to view all of your running apps on a single screen.

5. Windows 8 Control Panel

Beyond revamping the Windows task manager, Microsoft has also redesigned the control panel for Windows 8.  New options include Personalize, Users, Wireless, Notifications, General, Privacy, Search, and Share.

As Metro style apps become available, you’ll be able to use the Personalize menu to customize the Start menu with tiles for calendar, music, e-mail, Netflix, and much more.

In a demo at Build, Julie Larson-Green, Microsoft’s corporate VP of program management for Windows, showed how you’ll be able to position these Metro apps on the screen, and also to combine them into groups such as friends and games.

6. Web Navigation by Touch

The Internet Explorer (IE) 10 browser built into Windows 8 is designed to offer faster browsing through greater hardware acceleration, along with rapid gesture-based zoom, pan, and Web site navigation.

As in other areas of Windows 8, you can quickly access Windows 8 charms, as well as the two keyboards described below.

7. Two Touch Keyboards

Windows 8 also contains two soft keyboards: an “enhanced” traditional keyboard, plus a new thumbs keyboard for non-touch typists.

In efforts by Microsoft to make typing on a virtual keyboard faster and more accurate, the revised edition of the conventional keyboard suggests words on the screen as you type. You can then tap to selected a suggested word.  Microsoft also provides a spellcheck-like feature designed to automatically correct mistyped words – although like any other spellchecker, this feature carries the potential to cause its own errors.

The keyboards are also aimed at automatically adjusting to whaever human language you choose for Windows. These language settings will automatically apply to the entire computer, instead of only to specific apps

8. ‘Enhanced Copy Experience’

Windows 8 also introduces the ability to perform all current copy operations into a single dialog box, instead of requiring you to perform file copying in separate dialog boxes for each app.

The new dialog box for file copying lets you pause, resume, and stop each sopy operation currently under way. It will also warn you if you’re beginning to copy one version of a file on top of another.

Microsoft has also added a realtime throughput graph. “Now each copy job shows the speed of data transfer, the transfer rate trend, and how much data is left to transfer. While this is not designed for benchmarking, in many cases it can provide a quick and easy way to assess what is going on for a particular [copy] job,” noted Alex Simons, director of program management with the Windows 8 management team.

9. Native USB 3.0 Support

New USB 3.0 ports operate at speeds up to ten times faster than )SB 2.0. To better support these speeds, Microsoft is outfitting Windows 8 with native USB 3.0 drivers.

Meanwhile, though, USB 3.0 will purportedly continue to work under Windows 7, through the use of third-party drivers.

“By 2015, all new PCs are expected to offer USB 3.0 ports, and over 2 billion new ‘SuperSpeed’ USB devices will be sold in that year alone,” said Dennis Flanagan, director of program management for the Windows 8 Devices and Networking Group, in a blog post. “There are also billions of older USB devices that Windows must remain compatible with.”

10. Better Support for Multiple Monitors

Windows 8 also brings increased support for multiple monitors, The Developers Preview of the new OS includes first-time capabilities for extending the taskbar across two PCs, without any need for third-party apps. You can also stretch wallpaper across two monitors, or display the Start screen on one PC and the desktop on the other, for instance.

It’s also easy to switch between multiple monitors. The primary monitor has a start button, and the secondary monitor has a switcher button. Clicking or tapping on the switcher button will swap it out for the start button, allowing you to turn the secondary monitor into the primary one.

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How to Boost Your Toshiba Satellite Laptop Battery

Time and use can take a toll on your Toshiba Satellite battery. This can result in a decrease in battery life. While once you may have been able to power your laptop for three hours using only battery power, now you can only power your laptop for two hours, or even less. Recalibrating or reconditioning your battery can provide a needed boost to the battery and help restore some of the lost efficiency.

Instructions:

1. Press the “Power” button once to turn the Toshiba Satellite notebook on. Gently disconnect the AC power adaptor from the side of the notebook.

2. Leave the laptop computer on, running on battery power, until the Toshiba PA3399U-2BAS Battery is completely drained.

3. Insert the AC power adaptor jack into the power adaptor outlet. Plug the opposite end of the cord into an electrical outlet. The charging indicator light on the front of the laptop will illuminate, indicating the battery is charging. Allow the Toshiba Satellite A200 Battery to fully charge. The process should take four to six hours, depending on whether you have a six cell or eight cell Toshiba laptop battery.

4. Remove the AC power adaptor. Repeat the charging/discharging process one to two more times.

What to Know Before Buying a Spare Laptop Battery:

There are many laptop batteries manufacturers, and even more retailers to buy your laptop battery from. However, your biggest concern in purchasing a laptop battery will be to choose the battery that fits your computer. For this you will need to know the make and model number of your laptop; if you don’t know this offhand or don’t have the necessary paperwork, check the inside of your laptop’s battery compartment while the computer is off and unplugged. There you should find the model number, along with some other information. You may also find the part number of your laptop battery, located on the casing of the battery itself.

How to Choose a Replacement Laptop Battery:

When buying a laptop battery pack, you will probably only have one or two choices that fit your computer. Choose the Acer as07b31 battery with the longest life available for your computer. There are several different kinds of laptop batteries; because the technologies of each are very different, a laptop must be designed specifically for the type of battery it uses. Most laptops are only designed to use one type of battery technology.

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Dell updates Vostro laptop for better laptop battery life

Dell has launched the V131, a new ultraportable laptop in its small-business Vostro line that the company says improves on the poor laptop battery life of its predecessor, the Vostro V130.

Dell has launched the V131, a new ultraportable laptop in its small-business Vostro line.

The Vostro V131, unveiled on Thursday, lets customers replace laptop batteries themselves and also offers lengthier battery life. The V130’s six-cell laptop battery lasted just over two hours with continuous video playback, but Dell said in a battery blog post that the V131 could manage almost 10 hours on a single charge.

“Overall battery life is much improved compared to the V130, thanks in no small part to Intel’s second-generation Core technology, which you may know as Sandy Bridge,” Dell blogger Lionel Menchaca wrote.

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The V131 has three Intel processor options, including the ultra-low voltage Celeron 847 and the standard-voltage Core i3-2310M and Core i5-2410M. Customers can select four-cell or six-cell batteries.

Other features include an HD webcam with dual-array microphones, SRS Premium Voice Pro audio software, a fingerprint reader and a fall sensor for the hard drive. Although US customers can only choose configurations with hard drives, SSD options are available in some countries, including the Austrlia and UK.

The Dell Vostro V131 is on sale at a starting price of £359 excluding VAT and shipping, although its price can go much higher depending on the configuration.

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Scientists Home in on Lithium Laptop Battery Safety Flaws

Scientists at Cambridge have developed a simple, accurate way of “seeing” chemistry in action inside a lithium-ion battery.

By helping them understand how these batteries behave under different conditions the new method — which involves Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy — could help researchers solve the fire safety problems that have dogged the development of these laptop batteries.

Lithium-ion battery technology has enabled the development of many electronic devices we now take for granted, such as laptop computers and mobile phones.

Lithium HP COMPAQ 395794-001 Battery technology will also be crucial for the development of the next generation of electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf, due to be built in the UK from 2013.

But lithium batteries have one serious disadvantage: over several charge and discharge cycles, particularly if the batteries are charged quickly, minute fibres of lithium, known as dendrites, can form on the carbon anodes. These lithium fibres can cause short circuits, causing the LG LB52113B Battery to rapidly overheat and catch fire.

Writing in the journal Nature Materials, Professor Clare of the University of Cambridge says: “These dead lithium fibres have been a significant impediment to the commercialisation of new generations of higher capacity batteries that use lithium metal as the anode instead of the carbons used today.”

Scientists have use theoretical models and optical and scanning electron microscopes to study dendrite formation, but finding a way of quantifying the amount of dendrites formed has proved elusive until now.

The paper describes using a new method based on NMR spectroscopy to see chemistry in action within a tiny, 1cm long, Acer Aspire 5920 Battery enclosed in the same kind of aluminium bags used to keep coffee fresh.

According to Professor Grey: “Fire safety is a major problem that must be solved before we can get to the next generation of lithium-ion HP COMPAQ 8510P Battery and before we can safely use these batteries in a wider range of transportation applications. Now that we can monitor dendrite formation inside intact batteries, we can identify when they are formed and under what conditions.

Our new method should allow researchers to identify which conditions lead to dendrite formation and to rapidly screen potential fixes to prevent the problem.”

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Top 15 Ultimate Tips to Extend Your Laptop Battery Life

Notebooks tend to lose their charm quickly when you find yourself searching for a power terminal once in every couple of hours to help your dieing laptop battery that is plunging towards the red zone! How do you keep your laptop/notebook battery going for as long as possible? Here are 15 easy tips to do so. Read them now. You’ll thank yourself later.

1. Sleeping Rejuvenates your Body, and your Laptop Battery Too

Use your laptop’s power management features (in Windows XP, under Power Options in the Control Panel; or in Vista, under Mobile PC in the Control Panel) sensibly. The system will run at lower processor speeds when enabling power management features and it will go into “sleep” mode faster when inactive. And if you can spare the extra time it takes for the machine to resume, make sure that you set your laptop to hibernate, not just sleep, when you close the lid.

2. All that Glitters are Not Always Gold

Unless you are still using the laptop that your dad gifted you in the summer of 1999, most modern laptops come with the ability to dim the laptop screen.  Some even come with ways to modify the processor and cooling performance.  Turn down the brightness of the LCD panel (via the Function-key combo, or in the Control Panel’s Display Settings dialog). Cut them down to the minimum level you can tolerate to squeeze out some extra battery juice. And also consider switching off the backlight that sucks away power from your notebook’s battery like a vacuum cleaner!
laptop battery service for batteries-company.com

3. Cut down Gaming when Running on Battery

Unless you’re running high-order mathematical calculations to solve the university project, chances are great that you don’t need the maximum processing power that your CPU can give. So in Vista, select the “Power saver” power plan (found in the Control Panel, in the Power Options section) to extend battery life when on DC power, and leave the 3D video gaming for when you’re near an AC adapter outlet.

4. Avoid Memory-Hungry and Less-Essential Apps

When you aren’t actively using the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and IR radios, turn them off (via the hard switch, if your laptop has it, or in the appropriate utility set), so that they don’t trickle you dry trying to connect. Photoshop, iTunes, Google Desktop Search, etc.  All these add to the CPU load and cut down battery life drastically.  Shut down everything that isn’t crucial when you’re running solely on battery power.

5. Turn Off the Auto-Save Function

Microsoft Word and Excel’s autosave functions are great but because they keep saving at regular intervals, they make your hard drive spin harder than it should. However, if you plan to do this, you may want to turn it back on when the HP prbook 4720s battery runs low. While it saves battery life in the beginning, you will not want to lose your unsaved work when your battery dies, will you?

6. Wisely Schedule Virus Scans

Be sure that your periodic virus scan is set to a time when you’re usually plugged in; running a full-disk virus check keeps the hard drive and CPU fully engaged for the better part of an hour.

7. Lower the Graphics Use

You can do this by changing the screen resolution and shutting off fancy graphic drivers. Graphics cards (video cards) use as much or even more power as hard drives.

8. Go Easy on the Multimedia

A little music is nice while you construct that PowerPoint presentation for your upcoming meeting, but streaming music from your hard drive (or playing a CD) means the disk is always spinning thus sipping away power from your notebook battery.

9. Defrag once in a while
The faster your hard drive does its work – less demand you are going to put on the hard drive and your laptop’s battery.  Make your hard drive as efficient as possible by defragging it regularly (but not while it’s on battery of course!) Mac OSX is better built to handle fragmentation so it may not be needed for Apple systems.

10. Cut down External Devices

Use USB-attached devices only when absolutely necessary. They aren’t getting their power from positive ions in the air, you know. USB devices (including your mouse) & WiFi drain down your laptop battery.  Remove or shut them down when not in use.  It goes without saying that charging other devices (like your iPod) with your laptop when on battery is a surefire way of quickly wiping out the charge on your laptop battery.

11. Get more RAM

This is probably obvious but this will allow you to process more with the memory your laptop has, rather than relying on virtual memory.  Virtual memory results in hard drive use, and is much less power efficient. Note that adding more RAM will consume more energy, so this is most applicable if you do need to run memory intensive programs which actually require heavy usage of virtual memory.

12. Use Hard Drive rather than CD/DVD

As power consuming as hard drives are, CD and DVD drives are even worse.  Even having one disk in the drive can be power consuming.  They spin, taking power, even when they’re not actively being used.  Wherever possible, try to run on virtual drives using programs like Alcohol 120% rather than optical ones.

13. Operate at Low Temperature

Your laptop operates more efficiently when it’s cooler.  Clean out your laptop’s air vents with a cloth or keyboard cleaner.

14. Jack of all, Master of None! Avoid Multitasking

Do one thing at a time when you’re on battery.  Rather than working on a spreadsheet, letting your email client run in the background and listening to your latest set of MP3’s, focus your mind to one thing only.  If you don’t you’ll only drain out your batteries before anything gets completed!

15. Prevent the Memory Effect

If you’re using a very old laptop, you will want to prevent the ‘memory effect’ – Keep the battery healthy by fully charging and then fully discharging it at least once every two to three weeks. Exceptions to the rule are Li-Ion batteries (which most laptops have) which do not suffer from the memory effect.

What do you do to extend your laptop’s battery life? How do you make sure that your battery doesn’t die down in the middle of your work? Do share your ideas with us.

 

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iPhone 5’s Battery, Back Camera and Audio Flex Cable

Apple’s iPhone 5 is knocking at the doors, its design has been finalized, its production has made its pace, and the flood of leaked parts has also set its way to tech blogs. It is much expected that the iPhone 5 supply chains would reveal more and more leaked parts and information before the iPhone 5 sees the day light in September/October. Recently, an iPhone parts supplier TVC Mall has posted a few new purported iPhone 5 parts including the Battery, Back Camera Lens, and Headphone/Earphone Audio Jack Flex Cable.

These new leaked parts are quite different from the parts currently used in iPhone 4. Here is a side-by-side comparison of these parts with images of iPhone 4 parts, courtesy of aussiebattery.

iPhone 5-iPhone 4-Battery

No significant change seems there in iPhone 5 battery as it is almost same in size and shape to the cell phone battery that we have in existing iPhone 4 device. Both iPhone 5 and iPhone 4 batteries also have the same power specs as iPhone 5 battery is labeled as 3.7V and 5.3Whr while the iPhone 4 battery shows 3.7V and 5.25Whr.

The new part also grabs a reasonable part number of 616-0580 as compared to the iPhone 4′s 616-0513 and 616-0521 part numbers while the connector on the iPhone 5 battery is rotated contrary to the iPhone 4 part.

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Now come to iPhone 5 back camera module that exhibits a closely embedded camera flash similar to the iPhone 4′s design. It negates all the previous rumors that describe; iPhone 5′s camera may be separated from the camera module, or suggest dual LED flash for iPhone 5. It is expected that The iPhone 5′s would be equipped with an 8 mega pixel camera, upgraded from the 5 mega pixel camera incorporated in the existing iPhone 4.

iPhone 5-iPhone 4-Camera

As with all these early iPhone 5 parts, the supplier website has scant details on the specifications. In fact, we doubt that they even know the specifications at this stage. Some dimensions do seem to be given for the parts, but when compared the dimensions for known parts (such as the iPhone 4 battery) on the same site, there seemed to be a wide discrepancy against other published specs we’d found on the internet. So, we can’t put much faith in the listed dimensions.

Finally, comes the new leaked part of iPhone 5- An Audio Jack Flex cable. At present, we are not in position to say much about it, though it looks very different from the cable we have been using in current GSM and CDMA parts.

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R Battery concept resurrects old batteries – Battery News by batteries-company.com

For those of you who grew up during the Nintendo Game Boy days, you would certainly have gone through the painful process of purchasing new AA batteries time and again – and this was back in the day when Sanyo have yet to discover the magic and wonder of eneloop batteries. Even rechargeables were rather expensive back then, but fast forward to today and you have rechargeable batteries that are not only cheap but of good quality as well. The R Acer as07b41 battery concept that you see here sports a trio of slots that can hold AA as well as AAA batteries that have been consigned to the recycling heap – after all, near dead Acer as07b31 battery still hold one last charge in them, and the R Battery intends to use the remaining juice as one large cell.

No idea on what you’re going to plug this into, but at least it helps you squeeze out every last iota of power from your Acer aspire 5520 battery, which is better than nothing at all. Now, if only a hardware manufacturer is willing to take up the cause and release it with a pocket-friendly price. Certainly this might be used to power your remote control or whatever devices around your home that need just a little bit of energy to run – high-powered devices like flashlights are certainly out of the picture, of course.

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Which should you buy: 13-inch MacBook Pro vs. 13-inch MacBook Air

MacBook Air. MacBook Pro. Once upon a time, these two products were significantly different from each other; two totally different products. That dividing line’s been blurring, especially when it comes to the world of 13-inch MacBooks.

The MacBook Air used to be an underperforming, expensive laptop that had stellar design, while the 13-inch Pro was a full-featured, far more robust machine. The truth is, these systems are closer in performance and price than ever before.

Last year, I thought Apple MacBook buyers in 2012 wouldn’t suffer the confusions of picking a 13-inch MacBook, because I thought there would be only one product: a fusion MacBook Air with some of the best Pro features incorporated. Alas, there is no such chimera. Entry-level 13-inch MacBook Air and Pro laptops now cost the same AU$1349, but you’ll still have to make a decision: do you value hard-drive space or portability? Weight or ports? Easy upgrades or faster boot times?

In 2011, I thought the go-to laptop remained the 13-inch MacBook Pro, by the narrowest of margins. This year, I think the scale has tipped to the MacBook Air.

I acknowledge that the Air still lacks sufficient solid-state drive (SSD) storage for those wanting it to be their everyday computer, for storing photo libraries, music and other files, and some people still want DVD drives. However, the 13-inch Pro simply hasn’t stepped up with any killer features to earn it distance from the Air, and doesn’t feel worth its price as much as the Air does.

Let’s go through the key differences between the 2012 13-inch MacBook Pro and 13-inch MacBook Air.

13-inch MacBook Air (mid-2012) 13-inch MacBook Pro (mid-2012)
CPU 1.8GHz Intel Core i5 (third-gen) 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 (third-gen)
RAM 4GB (max 8GB) 4GB (max 8GB)
Storage 128GB SSD (max: 512GB) 500GB HDD (up to 750GB HDD or 512GB SSD)
Ports Thunderbolt, 2 USB 3.0, SD card slot Thunderbolt, 2 USB 3.0, SD card slot, Ethernet, FireWire 800
Optical drive No Yes
Weight 1.35kg 2.06kg
Screen resolution 1440×900 1280×800
Battery life 7 hours, 27 minutes 6 hours, 57 minutes
Price AU$1349 AU$1349

Size and weight

The 13-inch MacBook Pro weighs 2.06kg. The MacBook Air weighs 1.35kg. The Pro feels like a solid slab; the Air feels like a blade. Winner: Air.

Screen

The 13-inch Air has had a higher-resolution screen than the MacBook Pro for several years. Odd, but true. The Pro’s screen is bright and has great viewing angles, but it also exhibits far more glare when compared side-by-side with the Air. The Pro’s display feels particularly weak, considering the higher-resolution, anti-glare offerings on the 15-inch MacBook Pro and, needless to say, the Retina Display Pro. Winner: Air.

Keyboard/touch pad

The Air and the Pro share a large, excellent multi-touch clickpad and both have backlit keyboards. The Pro’s keys are taller, with more travel, while the Air’s are shallower. Nevertheless, both perform excellently. Winner: Tie.

Performance

In the entry-level AU$1349 configurations I reviewed, the 13-inch Air and Pro performed incredibly close. It’s very nearly a wash. The Pro led by seconds in our tests, but the Air’s boot times are far faster. In higher-end Pro configurations, a faster Core i7 processor and an SSD upgrade, should provide greater separation, but those extras will add up … and no 13-inch Pro comes close to the offerings of the 15-inch Pro (quad-core CPU, Nvidia graphics), leaving it to sit awkwardly in the middle. Winner: Tie.

Ports and extras

The MacBook Pro has more ports: an added FireWire 800 port and a dedicated Ethernet port, plus a slot-loading DVD drive. That’s it, though. For the Air, a separate USB-to-Ethernet dongle can provide direct line-in internet access, and you can always buy a USB-connected DVD burner. Yes, the Pro has more features, but not by a wide margin. Winner: Pro.

Storage space

The MacBook Air has a new 512GB SSD storage option, but upgrading will pump the price to AU$2,264. The included 128GB of SSD storage at AU$1349 is fine for basic use, but it won’t do for locally storing large libraries of music, movies or photos. The AU$1349 13-inch Pro has a 500GB hard drive that operates at a slower speed, but has plenty of room to spare. Winner: Pro.

Laptop Battery life

The 13-inch Air ran for roughly 7 hours and 30 minutes in our laptop battery life test, while the 13-inch Pro ran for just under 7 hours. Both have excellent Dell xps m2010 batteries, but the Air is just a bit more robust. Winner: Air.

Laptop least likely to feel obsolete in two years

Well, that’s a loaded question, isn’t it? In terms of a design that’ll stick around and still feel relevant (and have a higher resale value), bet on the MacBook Air. However, in terms of future upgradability (more RAM, a standard SSD), the Pro will be a little more flexible. Then again, in two years, who will be using a DVD drive? Winner: Air.

And, some other quick-hit recommendations:

  • What to get if you like older ports and flexibility: the Pro
  • What to get if you want a basic go-to laptop: the Air
  • What to get if you want lots of storage: the Pro
  • What to get if you’re a student: the Air
  • What I’d buy: the Air.
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