What’s the best Android tablet for 2011?
If you’re looking for a tablet and don’t fancy an iPad, then Android is the way to go.
There are other options out there; Windows 7 tablets are available, the BlackBerry PlayBook is on sale now and the HP TouchPad has come and gone in a flurry of £99 panic-buying. But Android 3.0 is currently the main OS rival to the iPad, and the products are creeping onto the shelves one by one.
We’ve gone from zero Android tablets to stacks of the things in a very short space of time, and inevitably some are better than others.
Some have ten-inch screens, others seven, and there are big differences in battery life, processing power and on-board RAM. So while we wait for the likes of the Asus Eee Pad Slider, Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 and Amazon Kindle Fire, let’s see what the current best tablets are…
1. Asus Eee Pad Transformer
Best Android tablet PC for: replacing your netbook
We love the Asus Eee Pad Transformer. It’s been around for a while now, but in our opinion, it’s still the most compelling Android tablet available. Not only is it powerful and well featured, it’s designed to work with a keyboard dock which turns it into a fully-fledged Android-powered netbook. The fact is that Android as an OS is still lagging behind iOS in terms of tablet usability, so products need a USP.And on that score, this is the tablet that changed the game. Look out also for the Asus Eee Pad Slider which comes packing a slide-out keyboard – it’s coming soon and promises great things!
2. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Best Android tablet for: the out-and-out tablet experience
While the Transformer offers something a little different at an unbeatable price, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 offers a direct alternative to Apple‘s iPad 2. Sporting the Tegra 2 dual-core CPU, it’s both marginally thinner and lighter than the iPad 2. This is some achievement, especially when you consider the fuss Apple made about how thin and light the iPad 2 was on launch. If you want an iPad-like tablet that’s not an iPad, this is the one. The prices are the same as the iPad 2, so it’s a straight shoot-out on features…
3. Sony Tablet S
Best Android tablet for: PlayStation gaming
As a veritable mega-giant in the consumer tech universe, Sony’s landing on Planet Tablet was always going to be interesting. Blasting off alongside the fold-in-half Tablet P, the Tablet S has a unique wedge-shaped design and top-end specs. It’s a very decent and refined tablet, and has the unique feature of having access to original PlayStation games. The only issue is that it’s not as tidy as the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and not as versatile as the Transformer. Apart from that, it’s one of the best Android tablets out there.
4. Motorola Xoom
Best Android tablet for: sleek good looks and solid performance
The Motorola Xoom was the first Honeycomb tablet to hit the shelves. Current prices are starting at about £330, which is great value for a 10-inch tablet of this calibre and it’s thus worthy of your attention. Solid build quality, decent HP 484170-001 laptop battery life, good performance.
5. Toshiba AT100 / Thrive
Best Android tablet for: anyone who wants a full-size HDMI port
There’s a predicament with the Toshiba AT100: it has a certain appeal for advanced users who’ll appreciate the slick performance, but the bulky size is a major problem. One brilliant move was to make the USB and HDMI ports full size. You can just unplug your Xbox and snap in the Toshiba AT100 when you want to watch on an HD TV. The tablet enables you to plug in a regular keyboard and mouse – this ease of adding peripherals is a win. Toshiba pa3399u-2bas battery life is another bonus. Yet, the hefty size and weight (plus the passable screen quality) is the main reason we prefer other recent tablets.
6. LG Optimus Pad
Best Android tablet for: Playing around with 3D
The consumer electronics giants are throwing everything at 3D, and LG has decided that its first Android tablet should play a role in its ’3D is the best’ hearts and minds mission. The tablet has dual-5MP cameras which work together to shoot 3D images and record 3D footage. Cool, huh? The problem is that there’s no 3D screen, so if you want to watch your 3D movies you’ll need to either plug the tablet into a 3D TV or watch in anaglyph 3D on the tablet’s screen. If you’re crazy about 3D, this is your next Android tablet.
7. Acer Iconia Tab A500
Best Android tablet for: fans of brushed aluminium bodywork
Acer’s Android tablet is good looking and offers similar performance to the other Android 3.0 tablets on show here. We like it, but it’s missing a bit of sparkle and there’s not much on show here that we can cling on to. It’s not as stylish as the Galaxy Tab 10.1, and doesn’t offer anything different like the Transformer does with its keyboard.
8. Acer Iconia Tab A100
Best Android tablet for: budget 7-inch tablet performance
It’s hard to recommend the Acer Iconia Tab A100 in light of the 10-inch alternatives. Yet, for such as ebook fans and those who like smaller tabs, this is the best of the 7-inch lot. In some ways, the BlackBerry PlayBook is better in a technical sense – at least it does real multitasking – but it has too few apps. We like the A100 for an express purpose: greater mobility and book reading. For most tasks, a 10-inch tablet is a wiser bet. But for well under £300, this is not a bad product.
9. HTC Flyer
Best Android tablet for: Portability and fans of Sense UI
HTC has decided to release the tablet running on Android Gingerbread, which will upset some purists that believe these tablets should run on Honeycomb. However, the HTC Sense overlay deals with that, offering a new range of widgets and content to mask the fact it’s running older versions of the OS (although a Honeycomb update is imminent). The new tablet has a 7-inch LCD screen, and comes with an aluminium unibody shell that feels very nice in the hand. However, with a price of nearly £600, can this tablet compete?
10. Samsung Galaxy Tab
The original iPad rival – does the Galaxy Tab still have something to offer?
Samsung’s original 7-inch Galaxy Tab is looking a bit old and tired now, and we weren’t big fans of it when it was brand new anyway. However, with heavy discounts, this tablet is now available for under £300 and there are plenty of attractive 3G package deals available. There’s no Android 3.0 here though, which makes this Tab little more than a smartphone on steroids.
11. Viewsonic Viewpad 7
A decent Android 2.2 tablet but it’s already out of date
The Viewsonic Viewpad 7 is exactly the same, albeit slightly more expensive than the Linx Commtiva N700 – and confusingly, Viewsonic is marketing it as a smartphone. It’s a terrible smartphone but it’s a fairly competent 7-inch Android tablet: its 600MHz processor isn’t really fast enough for Flash though, not to mention recent Android releases. There’s no Android 3.0 on board here though, so this should only be considered if you can get it for a cut-down price.
12. Hannspree Hannspad
Another Android tablet bereft of the Android Market
This tablet has more in common with Samsung’s current tablet offering, the seven-inch Galaxy Tab, than the new boys when it comes to software. However, it’s a match for them when it comes to hardware grunt. The problem is that it’s let down by the absence of Android 3.0 and the Android Market, an unresponsive touchscreen, poor viewing angles and some shoddy optimisations.
And our pick of the hottest up-and-coming tablets is….
Amazon Kindle Fire
After months of speculation, the Amazon Kindle Fire has been officially announced at an event in New York, marking the first time the company has entered the tablet market proper. The successor to the Amazon Kindle is a 7-inch device that comes with Android, albeit a version that has been heavily altered by Amazon to make the best use of the company’s e-shopping spine. The screen is an IPS display that’s made from Gorilla Glass, it houses dual-core processor, and weighs in at 14.6 ounces. There is a tablet-optimised shopping app on board – this is said to comprise simplified and streamlined pages, so it is easier to buy stuff on than the actual Amazon website.
Come back for our full Amazon Kindle Fire review very soon!
Laptop buying ultimate guide 2011
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The very sturdy Dell Latitude XT3 is an enterprise-class laptop that comes with a twist: You can quickly fold it into a tablet PC by rotating its screen on its single central hinge. Such so-called convertible PCs often land in large organizations, including those in the health care, education, and law enforcement fields. This kind of machine needs to perform well both as a laptop and as a tablet, hold up well in hectic environments, and deliver good battery life. For the most part, Dell’s third-generation Latitude XT fits the bill nicely.
The hefty but attractive midlevel model I tested sells for an equally hefty $3003 (as of April 12, 2012). The moment I picked up the XT3, I knew that it was made to take some knocks. The case is constructed of thick, stiff plastic with magnesium-alloy reinforced corners. I found almost no flex in the PC case or the display panel. Dell claims that it made the XT3 spill-resistant; I didn’t test that, but the thin rubber gaskets that line the keyboard, the screen bezel, and the perimeter of the computer’s top panel are reassuring.
My main rap on the XT3: It weighs too much. With the internal nine-cell internal battery pack, this convertible laptop weighs 5.2 pounds–not something you’ll want to hold in the crook of your arm for long. Its accessories bump the total travel weight to 6.7 pounds, making this portable a tough sell to road warriors. On the upside, the batteries just won’t quit. The internal pack lasted for 8 hours, 23 minutes in lab tests, 3 hours longer than the average all-purpose laptop. When we popped on the optional nine-cell slice ($199), it pumped battery life up to a marathon 19 hours, 46 minutes. However, that extra pack raises the total weight to 8.1 pounds. I’d hate to have to hoist the XT3 up into overhead baggage compartments on a regular basis, but I could easily shuttle it around the office between cubicles and meeting rooms.
The XT3 is very smooth to use, with few snags. The 13.3-inch multitouch capacitive screen is a pleasure to view and tap on. Even though it’s smaller than many all-purpose laptop screens, it offers a decent 1366-by-768-pixel resolution, and I could read text on it even in bright light. The keyboard comes with the usual Chiclet-style keys, but they’re very crisp and comfortable to type on. As for pointing devices, you get both an eraserhead pointer nested in the middle of the keyboard and a touchpad. I have two nitpicks: It’s too easy to hit the Page Up and Page Down keys accidentally, and the hypersensitive eraserhead pointer sends the cursor dashing off in all directions. I stick with the touchpad, which works fine.
In tablet mode, the screen responds nimbly to finger touches. Brushing to scroll documents, pinching and unpinching documents to shrink and expand them…it all works quickly and effortlessly. The stylus works very well, but not perfectly. I had no trouble tapping menu items with it, but I started wishing for a little more screen stickiness during my inking test – the stylus glides a tad too easily. If you need to navigate the screen while wearing gloves, Dell offers a resistive touchscreen option.
One notable issue: When I rotate and lay the screen down on the keyboard, whether I’m closing the laptop or folding it into a tablet, the panel doesn’t easily lock into place. I often have to fiddle with the panel to get it to latch, and I don’t hear that reassuring click.
You pay a big premium for the XT3′s toughness and its dual laptop-tablet nature. On our WorldBench 7 test suite, this PC posted a score of 108, in line with its mostly midrange silicon (an Intel Core i5-2520M dual-core processor, 4GB of DDR3 memory, and a 128GB solid-state drive). You can buy as much oomph on some ultraportables costing under $1000. Our test results confirm that the XT3 is geared more for work than play: Although the XT3 cranked through image editing and video and audio encoding, gamers need not apply. This PC uses Intel’s HD Graphics 3000 chipset, handling games well only at low detail and resolutions. You can upgrade to a Core i7 dual-core processor and 8GB of memory for another $295.
The audio from the internal stereo speakers sounds exceptionally clean and vibrant. Bass is weak – typical for small speakers – but they don’t sound tinny. The webcam, embedded in the screen’s top panel between the array microphones, records remarkably sharp video at its maximum 1280-by-720-pixel resolution, and you get lots of controls to adjust the recording levels, including gamma. The array mics clearly recorded my voice even when I stood 6 feet away. The XT3 makes an excellent station for conducting VoIP calls, such as over Skype.
Typical of enterprise PCs, the XT3 comes loaded with slots and ports, offering extra security options (such as SmartCard access and an optional fingerprint reader) and ensuring broad compatibility with different site installations. The XT3 comes with three dedicated USB ports plus a combo USB/eSATA port. My main beef: The USB ports max out at 2.0. For video, you get VGA and HDMI ports, but no DisplayPort. Other slots and ports include those for a 34mm ExpressCard, SD Card or MultiMediaCard, FireWire, and a headset.
Now that the new iPad has been revealed, everyone’s chiming in on whether it’s a disappointing incremental upgrade or a fantastic breakthrough. None of that matters to its success, of course. If every single previous iPhone and iPad product launch is any indication, Apple is going to sell truckloads of these things no matter what any expert, hater or fanboy says.
However, there’s one thing that makes this iPad release different from ealier ones: The new iPad will be the Apple device that goes head-to-head with Windows 8 tablets when they arrive later this year. Microsoft‘s new OS will spawn an entirely different species of tablet than the Android devices that have so far been Apple’s main competition. And if Microsoft plays its cards right, it could be the one that finally gives the iPad a serious challenge in the market.
So far, no product has been able to do that. The first “real” Android tablets, like the Motorola Xoom, were largely ignored by consumers. The newer tablets and latest Android upgrades are certainly better, but they’re still hampered by an amorphous ecosystem. Those examples of up-scaled phone apps on Android that Tim Cook cued up in his keynote were pretty damning, and he also said there were 200,000 iPad apps in the App Store. Google doesn’t give an official count of tablet-specific Android apps in Google Play, but estimates are in the thousands.
Non-Android tablets look even worse. RIM fumbled the launch of the BlackBerry PlayBook so badly that the tablet — and possibly RIM’s whole credibility in the space — will never recover. HP killed its consumer tablet offering, the TouchPad, mere weeks after launch upon realizing the iPad was an opponent it couldn’t hope to defeat.
Certainly, the Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook are success stories, but they kind of cheated. Both have only managed to carve out a niche market among tablets by selling their devices at a rock-bottom prices (the Kindle Fire’s is so low that Amazon may be selling it at a loss). They can only do this by using the device itself as an outlet to sell specialized content. These products aren’t going toe-to-toe with the iPad — they’re fighting over the scraps of the market it’s left behind.
So far no device has been able to seriously challenge the iPad experience in its entirety. Basically, the tablet market has yet to see its Motorola Droid, the phone that finally showed, along with Android 2.0 software, that the iPhone wasn’t the end-all-be-all of smartphones. Android’s success skyrocketed after its release.
Windows 8 to the Rescue?
Could the tablet market’s dark horse be a Windows 8 device? It’s possible, but it hinges entirely on how consumers respond to the new user interface, Metro.
The thrust of Windows 8 — and why it’s such a big gamble my Microsoft — is that it brings the same UI to tablets and traditional PCs (desktops and laptops). Metro is ideally suited for touchscreens, but it works with a mouse and keyboard, too.
There’s a reason Microsoft has done this, and it’s not really the spirit of bringing tablet features to your laptop. Quite the opposite, in fact. In order to have any hope of succeeding in tablets, Microsoft has to convince its army of Windows developers to make software for those tablets. But no one’s going to develop software for an unproven OS where the company has seen little commercial success (no current Windows tablet has significant market share).
However, if your entire OS, including traditional PCs, is running the same software, then developers almost have no choice but to design apps for tablets. Windows 8 essentially turns all Windows developers into tablet developers, potentially giving the Windows 8 tablet platform the fuel it needs to expand rapidly and finally give the iPad a real opponent.
The Catch: Metro
Again, almost. There’s one thing that could hold it back: consumers rejecting Metro. You see, Windows 8 lets any user turn off Metro and just use the traditional desktop. If enough of them do, many developers may simply choose not to create Metro apps. After all, if most of your customers are just switching to the old Windows environment anyway, why bother?
That would let the air out of the expanding Windows 8 tablet balloon pretty quickly, and that’s even before we consider the wild cards of potential device fragmentation, how Windows will work on ARM devices and whether or not consumers will even accept a tablet as their main computing device.
Microsoft needs to get Metro 100% right if Windows 8 tablets are going to have any hope. If users like Metro, then the developers will follow, and a real ecosystem will emerge. If not, the iPad will probably be the only tablet worth talking about for a long, long time.
BONUS: A Tour of Windows 8 and Metro
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Here’s what greets you every time you log into your Windows 8 machine. Yes, the tiles are customizable, though it’s a little unwieldy in practice.
Sharing in Metro
Sharing is arguably Metro’s most powerful feature. Although the sharing option is only populated with Mail right now, once Windows 8 apps get going, you’ll see options here like Facebook, Twitter and all the rest — in every app.
Finance Metro App
Many apps, like the native Finance app, look beautiful in Metro.
You can still get back to the familiar desktop anytime you want in Windows 8. Note the absence of a Start button, which you get to by mousing into the lower-left corner.
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Bing Maps, like all Metro apps, makes use of the entire screen. Right-clicking brings up options.
You can see which apps are running by pointing your mouse to one of the left corners and then moving it alongside. Right-clicking an app lets you stop it.
The side action menu slides out via the side and is the same no matter what app you’re in.
The consumer preview of Windows 8 still has lots of bugs in it, as evidenced by this screen shot of the email app.
Internet Explorer Tabs
Since the entire screen in Internet Explorer is dedicated to showing you the web page, right-clicking twice shows you the tabs that are open.
Messaging ties with your People app, bringing in contacts on Windows Messenger or Facebook.
The Windows 8 Photo app has built-in integration with Flickr, but it wasn’t working on our device.
Your 25GB of free SkyDrive space is easily accessible via a live tile, and it integrates with the Photos app, letting you avoid sending large email attachments by uploading pics to SkyDrive.
The Weather app also looks beautiful in Metro.
Through settings, you can make changes to your Windows profile, which will show up — apps and all — on any Windows 8 machine you log into.
Flash Player Download
Yep, you still need to download Flash to get your browsers to play many videos, like those on YouTube.
to Start Menu
You can customize your Start menu with specific apps, even if they’re desktop-only apps like the browsers seen here.
The video hub doesn’t just show video files — it also promotes content as well. Whether that’s a plus or a minus is up to you.
Solitaire was available on our Consumer Preview device via Xbox Live, though Microsoft said it couldn’t guarantee it would be in the general release.
Windows 8 With a Mouse and Keyboard
The HP Pavilion g6 is a straightforward, solid all-purpose laptop for a good price.
The HP Pavilion g6
is exactly what you’d expect for its starting price of around £300: bland. While there’s absolutely nothing exciting about this machine, it does what it’s supposed to do, and does it well: The chassis is simple yet sturdy, the keyboard and trackpad are well-designed, and the performance is just around average.
Our review model, at an RRP of £540, costs a bit more than the bare-bones version of the HP Pavilion g6. That price gets you the latest-generation Intel Core i3-380M processor, 4GB of DDR3 memory, and a 5400-rpm, 500GB hard drive. Our review model also comes preinstalled with the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium and features a built-in Webcam, a microphone, and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, 7 hours extended laptop battery. In our WorldBench 6 benchmark tests, the g6 received a score of 101, which is on the low side of average for laptops in this class.
The HP Pavilion g6 is surprisingly attractive, considering its price point. Don’t get me wrong – it still looks and feels like a budget machine. But its minimalist form and rounded edges lend it an air of style that most budget laptops lack. The lid is a shiny, solid-gray plastic that bends slightly in the middle if you put any weight on it. A small, brushed-metal HP logo is on the bottom left corner, and the edges are smooth and rounded. The underside of the chassis is your typical matte black plastic, with two Altec Lansing speakers located on the front, just under the keyboard.
The interior of the HP Pavilion g6 laptop is simple, with a smooth black plastic border around the silver keyboard and wristpad area. A slightly depressed border is also around the matte-black island-style keyboard. The trackpad is just a textured area directly on the wristpad, with two separate silver buttons below it. The HP Pavilion g6 weighs about 2.55kg, and measures 374x245x30.5mm.
Port-wise, the HP Pavilion g6 is typical for its class. On the right side, you’ll find a VGA port, an ethernet port, and two USB 2.0 ports – plus an HDMI port and a SD/MMC card reader, both nice touches. The left side is dominated mostly by the tray-loading DVD-RW drive with LightScribe, but HP manages to squeeze in an additional USB 2.0 port along with a Kensington lock slot.
The HP Pavilion g6′s full-size keyboard is quiet and comfortable to type on. The keyboard itself is a pseudo-island-style affair, and the keys have flat tops and are wider on the bottoms. The keys are evenly spaced and offer good tactile feedback. The keys move a little too much as you press down, but overall the g6 still offers one of the best typing experiences I’ve had on a budget notebook.
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The trackpad is also impressive, considering it’s just a square of textured plastic on the wristpad area. I’m usually not a fan of textured trackpads (I prefer indented ones), because they usually don’t work as well as their counterparts. However, the HP Pavilion g6′s trackpad is extremely responsive, and the discrete mouse buttons are large and easy to press. The trackpad has no scrolling area, because HP has built in multitouch support.
Unfortunately, multitouch gestures work sluggishly at best.
The HP Pavilion g6′s 15.6-inch LED-backlit display has a native resolution of 1366 by 768 pixels. The glossy screen is nicely bright and has good image quality, so long as you’re sitting directly in front of it. Off-axis viewing is poor, and the glossy screen throws back a lot of reflections if you happen to be in direct or bright light. Speaker quality is pretty good (perhaps not as rich as you might like), and the Altec Lansing speakers are loud enough to fill a medium-sized room.
Since the HP Pavilion g6 features a second-generation Intel processor, it also comes with integrated Intel HD graphics. Casual video playback is good on the g6, but it’s not exactly a gaming computer. In our Unreal Tournament 3 graphics tests, the g6 managed an unplayable frame rate of just 16.8 frames per second (highest quality, 1024-by-768-pixel resolution).
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The HP Pavilion g6′s WorldBench 6 score of 101 is pretty average for its category. So you’re not getting a closet gaming machine, but this laptop will support everyday use just fine.
Minimum skill level
The End User requires no hardware-specific training to replace the defective part. The End user should have familiarity with system hardware and software requiring repair.
||Part numbers are subject to change.
||For customers in countries/regions with RoHS legislation* (e.g. EU, China, etc.) restricting the use of hazardous substances in electrical equipment. The use of the Original Spare part is regulated by RoHS legislation. If your unit contains a part that is labelled with the Modified Spare number, the Modified Spare must be ordered as the replacement part. If your unit contains a part that is labelled with the Original Spare number, please order the Original Spare as the replacement part. In this case either the Original Spare or the Modified Spare may be shipped which will not affect performance or functionality of the unit.
To view a video demonstrating the procedure for removing the battery, click on the link below. Or use the product video listing on the HP Services Media Library , then select Notebook Battery
from the menu on the upper left hand side of the screen.
Review the safety considerations before performing the steps listed below by clicking on the following link:
||Failure to comply with the precautions could result in damage to your product or loss of data.
||To reduce the risk of personal injury from hot surfaces, allow the drives and the internal system components to cool before touching them.
Shut down the Notebook. If you are unsure whether the Notebook is off or in Hibernation, turn the Notebook on, and then shut it down through the operating system.
Disconnect all external devices connected to the Laptop.
Disconnect the power from the Notebook by first unplugging the power cord from the AC adapter
outlet and then unplugging the laptop AC adapter
from the Notebook.
Slide the laptop battery pack
into the battery bay until it is properly seated and the release latch clicks.
How to Use and Maintenance of Your Laptop Batteries
If you’re a recent convert to smartphones, you’re probably still discovering all the amazing things that your new BlackBerry, Android phone or iPhone can do. But one thing you most likely found out right away: the more you do, the shorter your phone’s battery lasts.
While a standard cellphone’s charge can easily go three days or more, many smartphone owners are dismayed to learn that their new mobile toy requires charging every 24 hours, or even more often. It was great that I could use one device — my iPhone — to check my calendar and respond to multiple incoming calls during January’s Consumer Electronics Show, but I paid the price when its battery died at 2 p.m.
The answer was not to desperately search for an electrical outlet to recharge the phone (though I’ve done that) or to consider giving up the phone (done that, too), but rather to figure out a strategy to reduce energy consumption while still having it available for essential tasks. Whether you’re using a laptop or a smartphone, the devices can be tweaked to get the most out of its lithium-ion laptop batteries.
Reconsider Your Network
All things being equal, the C.D.M.A. mobile standard used by Verizon uses more power than a G.S.M. network, principally used by AT&T and T-Mobile. If battery life is critical, you might want to consider G.S.M. as long as its coverage meets your needs.
The brighter your screen, the more juice you’re using. If you’re in a dimly lit room, turn down your LCD screen’s brightness. If your device has an autodimming feature that detects the light in a room, use it. Similarly, if you use your smartphone or laptop to play music, lower the volume.
If you have a BlackBerry, the company’s holster will automatically turn off the screen when you insert the phone.
It is great that you can use Bluetooth technology to connect your smartphone to a headset, or use Wi-Fi to speed up the downloading of e-mail messages. But when you’re not using that headset or not near a Wi-Fi hot spot, turn off those features on the phone or laptop.
The reason is that portable devices will continue to look for Wi-Fi or a Bluetooth headset, using power.
Similarly, put your phone to sleep when it is in standby. On an iPhone, you do so through the “Settings” icon. On a BlackBerry, use the “Manage Connections” icon.
Skip a Generation
Your smartphone is also continually looking for a cellphone signal. If you’re in a weak signal area, your phone must work even harder to find one, decreasing battery life. If you know that there is no coverage in your area, turn off your portable device’s mobile capabilities.
If your G.S.M. 3G network is not available or the signal is weak, the HP Pavilion DV2000 Battery will drain faster looking for one. Consider turning off the phone’s 3G network or using the slower EDGE network instead. It will make Web access slower but won’t affect phone call quality.
Check Mail Manually
Mobile smartphones can check for e-mail messages and instant messages automatically. Or they can be set to “push” notifications as soon as they arrive in your server’s mailbox.
Both strategies can be power hogs. To increase your battery life, turn off push and increase the interval between when the phone checks for new messages. Or better, set up your phone to check for messages manually.
Turn Off Everything
The simplest way to cut power to a minimum is to put your smartphone into “airplane mode.” You turn your BlackBerry or iPhone into a music player and personal organizer, and you won’t be able to receive e-mail messages or make or receive phone calls, but you will stretch your Asus A32-F3 Laptop Battery.
“In airplane mode and running just the alarm clock, your iPhone battery will last up to a week,” said Kyle Wiens.
Disable the Animations
The hotter your laptop feels, the more battery power it is using. And one of the biggest users of power is Flash animation, the battery technology behind many online videos and animated ads. To improve laptop battery life, disable Flash when not using wall power. BashFlash and ClicktoFlash for Macs and Flashblock for PC are programs that will automatically restrict Flash.
Get an App to Aid You
There are a number of applications that can help monitor battery life and shut off various functions that cut down on a mobile device’s effective power.
Battery Go and myBatteryLife tell iPhone owners how much charge they have left and how that power translates into minutes of talk time, music, video and Web surfing.
NB BattStat alerts BlackBerry owners to the amount of battery charge remaining, as well as the battery’s temperature. (Hot batteries lose power more quickly.) The device can be set to vibrate or sound when a predetermined low battery level is reached.
Radio Saver will monitor your BlackBerry’s mobile coverage and shut off the device’s mobile circuitry when you are out of range of a cellular signal.
Best BatterySaver allows owners of mobile phones using the Symbian operating system (including models from Nokia and Sony Ericsson) to create battery-saving profiles. For example, certain features can be automatically turned on when the phone is connected to a wall plug, or Bluetooth can be automatically disconnected when the battery charge drops below a certain level.
For laptops, programs like Battery Health Monitor (Mac) and Laptop Battery Power Monitor (PC) keep track of battery charge and estimate how many more times you’ll be able to recharge your battery.
Realize the End Will Come
The older generation of nickel cadmium batteries suffered from memory issues; if you didn’t fully charge and discharge one, it would hold a progressively smaller amount of juice.
Today’s lithium-ion batteries don’t suffer from memory loss, so it is safe to top off a battery.
Lithium-ion batteries cannot be overcharged; a device’s circuitry cuts off the power when they are full. However, manufacturers still recommend that a laptop not be continually connected to power once the battery is at its capacity. If a laptop won’t be used for several months, it should be stored with the battery in a 50 percent charge state.
All batteries can be fully charged and discharged for a fixed number of cycles; lithium ion batteries typically last between 300 and 500 cycles. Information on the number of cycles can be obtained at manufacturers’ Web sites, or at batteries-company.com.
No matter how well you husband your battery’s resources, there comes a time when you’ll need to send your battery to its final resting place.
Like most things nearing the end of their life, your battery will stay awake less and sleep more. “If your battery lasts only an hour after you’ve charged it,” said Anthony Magnabosco, owner of Milliamp.com, a battery replacement company, “you know its time is up.”
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Google I/O has once again come up trumps, the Big G’s annual San Francisco event delivering some sensational new Android features, as well as plans to push the OS beyond smartphones and tablets. There are even plans to bring the OS into line, as Google looks to stymy fragmentation. Here are our top new Android features to rear their head at I/O so far.
1 Android Ice Cream
More the basis for the future of Android than a feature in itself, Ice Cream Sandwich has been pegged for Q4 this year. As well as some stonking next-gen features (of which more later), it brings Gingerbread and Honeycomb together, with devs able to scale apps across phones and tablets. That also means UI changes for phones, and maybe even an end to dreaded custom skins.
2 Android Market Movies
US-only for now, but this multi-platform rental store is going to make a serious play for iTunes territory on iOS. Android 2.2 or above is supported, which means all top-end current Google phones can play nice. Throw in tablet support and offline PC syncing and you’re looking at a winner. Movies will look epic on big screen wonders like the HTC Desire HD.
A development framework for now, but Google has shown with @Home that Android can be more than just a mobile platform. Its light control function is inspired, its AirPlay-baiting Project Tungsten a pointer to Apple that Android is currently the platform of true converged innovation. CD scanning with NFC and stereo control and streaming will make this a winner when it eventually launches.
4 Update guidelines
These might seem prosaic, but Google’s deal with US networks and its key OEMs to ensure the latest Android phones are upgradeable for at least 18 months is a smart move. It won’t kill fragmentation, but does mean people buying new kit know that it will at least be at the bleeding edge for the bulk of their contract.
5 USB hub skills
Google showed Ice Cream Sandwich’s USB hub smarts off at I/O. And they promise to make all tablets and smartphones using Android much like the Motorola Atrix. Keyboards, mice and even Xbox controllers can be hooked up. This will be especially important on slates.
6 Facial recognition for video calling
This tech is seriously clever and gives Ice Cream an edge over the current version of FaceTime on iOS. If you’re nattering with two mates, the camera will track which person is talking and focus on them. Gtalk is about to get very interesting.
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7 0-click NFC sharing
This is what NFC is all about. Google demoed devices using NFC sharing content without having to fire up apps. It works with YouTube clips and web pages and Google says it’ll be going large on it, pimping it out to devs for potential app sharing activities.
8 Google Music on Android
Google Music might be a desktop deal, but it’s also going to play a large part on Android devices. The fact you can stash 20,000 tracks in the cloud and stream them wherever you are, means the Big G has gazumped Amazon and Apple. It also leaves space for more apps on your device.
9 Google TV update
Google TV is getting a boost to Android 3.1. While not strictly mobile, devs working on apps for it will doubtless be looking to port their work over to Android Market on phones and tabs, meaning better add-ons for all of us.
10 Instant Mix for Music
This is Google’s iTunes Genius rival. El Goog says it’s every bit as smart as its competitor, with playlists you make on your Android phone or tablet automatically syncing with the cloud.
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Apple preparing own rival to NFC?
Apple isn’t one to adopt new tech just for the sake of it, and it looks like that’s not going to change anytime soon. The Cupertino company refused to use NFC for its Passbook app in iOS 6 due to the fact it’d sap the iPhone’s battery life, according to The Wall Street Journal.
But with the iPhone 5 due in October, will we see Apple’s own version of NFC incoming?
Paying for things with your mobile is yet to really take off, but expect it to become all the more common if Apple gets involved. The Wall Street Journal reports Apple started experimenting with various methods of mobile payments last year, at the same time as Google was rolling out its own version in the guise of Google Wallet.
Apple played around with NFC and Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy options, but it jacked in both due to the fact they’d rinse the device’s HP Pavilion DV9000 Extended Life Battery.
The fact hardly anyone uses NFC was also said to be an issue.
But Apple unveiled Passbook at WWDC as a major feature of iOS 6. And Passbook isn’t a million miles away from Google Wallet. So what’s the deal?
Well Apple being Apple it’s most probably working on its own alternative to NFC. It reportedly has over 400 million credit cards registered with iTunes, which sounds too good an opportunity to pass up. It also considered teaming up with existing payment services and profiting by taking tiny cuts of transactions made on an iPhone. This was reportedly known within Apple as theSuperman III option, which suggests it wasn’t overly keen on the idea. Still, good to see those Cupertino boys have a sense of humour.
We’ve already heard that the iPhone 4S battery doesn’t last quite as long as that of the iPhone 4. Part of it is the dual-core processor. It’s more power-hungry, but according to some reports, there may be more to it than just that (and Apple is looking into it). Don’t forget, recording video is also a huge battery killer, but lets get into the less obvious stuff.
It seems that the issue may lie in iOS 5 for some. As is expected with new software, there are still a few kinks to work out, and the latest version of Apple’s mobile OS is no exception. The problem may actually have something to do with power management and a few little crash bugs.
First, we suggest going through and turning off all the possible offenders: iCloud sync, wifi sync, location tracking, time zone switch, location-based reminders, and anything else below that affects battery life. Turn all of them off and begin monitoring your battery life.
Then, go down the list. Turn one of the features on, and monitor your battery life. If things are okay. Turn it off again and turn on the next possible offender. Eventually, you should run into the culprit. When that happens, you know that you can safely turn on all the other features and home in on the problem. For example, if it’s a wifi sync, maybe you can start to figure out what part of the sync, if any is going wrong.
An App to Help
One of the best ways that users are finding to help diagnose potential problems is an app called System Activity Monitor (linked below). It’s a 99 cent app that lets you check the processes currently running on your iPhone as well as crash reports and other activities going on behind the scenes with your iPhone. It’s been reported on both the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 running iOS 4.2.1 and iOS 5.
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Problems and Solutions
One of the main problems seems to be crashing loops. Basically, the iPhone tried to access some sort of data, but it crashed. The iPhone tries again to access the data, resulting in another crash, over and over. This is all going on behind the scenes, so the user never sees or notices. However, it is a major drain on the HP probook 4710s battery.
To view your crash logs, go to Settings>General>About>Diagnostics and Usage Data
You may see something like the following:
We have a LowMemory error going on several times as apps crash. Perhaps removing the problematic apps will help.
iCloud syncing is said to be a problem with some devices. The Register UK says that a corrupted contact can cause issues. That bit of data is corrupted and the iPhone tries to keep syncing to iCloud to pull the contact data, causing the battery to quickly wear down. Some users said that deleting their contacts has helped, but that sounds like a drastic measure. We always recommend trying absolutely everything you can before clearing out your iOS device.
Time Zone Set to Auto
Another bug that can be a problem, according to reports is that Location Tracking is constantly trying to update coordinates. This happens when the Time Zone is set to auto. It’s suggested that users go to Settings>Location Services>System Services and turn off “Setting Time Zone.” In case you’re wondering what that is, it’s just a feature that allows the iPhone to automatically update the time when you cross time zones.
This was the problem with iSmashPhone’s iPhone 4S. For some users, wifi is the cause of short battery life. While the iPhone 4 seems to be doing just fine, as is the iPad. The iPhone 4S would lose about 40 percent of its battery overnight, with no use, of course. We turned off wifi sync, and that seems to have helped immensely.
Plug your iPhone into your computer and open up iTunes. In the iPhone menu, look for the Sync wifi option:
1) The sync option may be on. You will see it checked off as shown below.
2) You can turn it off by unchecking the “Sync this iPhone over wi-fi” option.
Location-based reminders are also battery suckers, we’ve heard. We haven’t had many issues with this, but we’ve only used it for quick tests. Still, it may be worth turning these off if you really need some extra juice.
Maintaining Battery Life
There are plenty of things you can do to help maintain battery life. We have written some tips, here are good few that are, but can apply to anyone – 15 tips to maximize your iPhone battery life.
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Lookout Mobile Security
Interface – When first launching this app I noticed a sleek and simple looking interface. It is set up to easily navigate through, with three main features — Security, Backup and Missing Device. At the very top it notifies you if everything is ok or if there is a security issue with your device. If you tap a category it will provide you with additional information on that specific subject and tell you if there is a problem.
Features – This is a fairly comprehensive, feature-packed app. It provides features such as — finding your phone if it becomes lost or stolen, managing unsecured Wi-Fi networks and backing up your information. At first I was wondering how I would know if it really was doing what it promised to do, but then I got my answer when it notified me that I was near an unsecured network.
Overall, for a free app this is definitely worth the download. Although in a future update I would like to see the ability to back up your photos. This feature would add a great component to the app that does not exist on the market right now. For all of the other features Lookout offers, you already have most of them on your phone. iCloud backs up your information, and Find My iPhone will locate your phone. The main feature that I adore is the notifications, this feature will help you to be aware of what is going on with your phone’s security.
Battery Doctor +
Interface - Battery Doctor + is a free app that has an impressive and easy to use interface. When you first open the app you will notice your battery’s status level in bold at the top of the screen. It will also give you information about your charging habits beneath that. I was an instant fan of this app when I noticed the usage list as I scrolled down the page. I thought this was a genius idea to give users an idea of how much time they had remaining on their battery life for each task they used. A breakdown of some of the tasks displayed included — Internet on Wi-Fi, talk time, video playback, YouTube, 3D Game and many more.
Features – The features are quite remarkable. In addition to a full usage list and time remaining there are also tips on how to lengthen your Acer aspire one zg5 battery life, a comprehensive record of your charging status and tips for proper maintenance of your phone. One thing I particularly liked was the options they give you in the settings menu. You can change your sound selections, the order of your usage list and decide if you would like reminders or not.
The bottom line is Battery Doctor + is the best Acer Aspire 6930 battery and maintenance app for the iPhone that I have come across. Not only is it free but it works perfectly and helps your iPhone be at its best. I would highly recommend downloading this app today.
Battery Life Pro All-IN-1
Interface – This is truly the most unique interface I have ever seen. When you open the app you are met by an interface that looks like it came straight off your dashboard in your vehicle. I have to say it is very cool. At the top it gives you the percentage of battery life you have in the form of a number that looks like the speed you are driving at in your vehicle. Then at the bottom of the screen you will see a breakdown of how long your battery will last.
Features – In addition to Battery Life Pro’s stunning layout it also has some amazing features. You can keep track of your charging time based on your specific needs, learn about battery tips, set an alert to remind you when you need to charge your HP Probook 4710S Battery, and my favorite, change the theme of how you want the information presented to you. They give users seven different options to choose from and they are all absolutely amazing.
Overall I found this app to function excellently well and I really enjoyed the unique graphics. The developers really put a lot of thought into this app. There is nothing I would add or change to make this app better. For a free app, it is definitely worth your time to download it.