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Top 10 Web Apps We Love – Collect by batteries-company.com

Top 10 Web apps we love — and why

We often get asked, what apps does your team use? To answer the question, we decided to put together this blog post laying out the Top 10 Web Apps We Love.

Take a look at our list and please let us know your own favorite apps in the comments.

google analytics Top 10 Web Apps We Love   Collect by batteries company.com

Google Analytics: Still top of the analytics heap

1Google Analytics is an excellent free web analytics tool. Even if you have another analytics application, we think it’s worthwhile to add Google Analytics to your site — it’s that good. We use Google Analytics to report on the performance of the SEOmoz website and our online marketing campaigns. Our only requests? Real-time reporting, a referral report with complete URLs and the option to pay for a service level agreement.

Also recommended:
Yahoo! Web Analytics
Adobe SiteCatalyst
WebTrends

kissmetrics Top 10 Web Apps We Love   Collect by batteries company.com

KISSmetrics: Good funnel reporting

2Does your website require users to go through multiple steps? If so, you need good funnel reporting; we like KISSmetrics. Simple to setup and configure, but with plenty of options for segmentation and customization, we use KISSmetrics to monitor and report on the key user experiences of our site. It even provides details on the conversion funnel performance of each of our organic keywords– a big plus for SEOs.

Also recommended:
Adobe Discover
• Google Analytics (limited funnel capability)

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Google Website Optimizer: Conversion rate optimization

3These days, Conversion Rate Optimization seems to be more popular than Harry Potter. Google Website Optimizer is a free way to do simple conversion rate optimization testing on your website. You can test varied landing pages using an A/B test or determine the ideal combination of elements using a multivariate test. Google’s tool is free, and capable enough to get you well on your way with CRO.

Also recommended:
Unbounce
Visual Website Optimizer
Adobe Test&Target

mailchimp Top 10 Web Apps We Love   Collect by batteries company.com

MailChimp: Email campaign manager

4MailChimp, oh how we love thee. MailChimp is one of the most intuitive and simple email marketing packages around. And yet, it remains incredibly powerful with detailed analytics, great social media integration and an adorable chimp, Freddie. MailChimp offers both free and affordable plans that work well for low-volume and high-volume email campaigns. Stay awesome, MailChimp.

Also recommended:
ExactTarget

hasoffers Top 10 Web Apps We Love   Collect by batteries company.com

HasOffers: Affiliate program management

5SEOmoz relaunched our affiliate program a few months ago and we chose HasOffers as our new platform. Our marketing team has collectively used several other platforms in the past and none are as capable and intuitive as HasOffers. Based in the cloud, HasOffers has plenty of capabilities and is designed to enable you to self-manage your own affiliate program or even your own affiliate network.

wistia Top 10 Web Apps We Love   Collect by batteries company.com

Wistia: Video hosting

6Wistia is video hosting on steroids. Not only does this video hosting platform support HTML5, which makes your videos viewable on a slew of non-Flash enabled devices, but the platform is inherently designed for SEO. Try searching Google for “Top 10 Web Apps We Love” and you’ll likely see the above Wistia-hosted video that’s included with this blog post. Their tracking and analytics are also the best we’ve seen in video hosting. See a sample report here.

Also recommended:
Delve Networks
Vimeo (not recommended for commercial videos)

google webmaster tools Top 10 Web Apps We Love   Collect by batteries company.com

Google Webmaster Tools: SEO insight

7Google Webmaster Tools is SEO insight straight from the horse’s mouth and a must-have for any website. Get information on how Googlebot sees your site, view (some) links to your site and edit preferences for how your listing appears in the Google search results. While not as comprehensive as we’d like, it’s still a welcome set of capabilities.

Also recommended:
Yahoo Site Explorer
Bing Webmaster Tools

seomoz pro Top 10 Web Apps We Love   Collect by batteries company.com

SEOmoz PRO: SEO Campaign Management

8We may well deserve criticism for adding our own app to this list, but we really are proud parents. The SEOmoz website is large enough that the crawl diagnostics help us find issues we haven’t fixed, the rankings report manages our large list of keywords, and Open Site Explorer provides invaluable data on backlinks. These features just scratch the surface of what you get with SEOmoz PRO. It’s a toolset our marketing team uses every day.

cotweet Top 10 Web Apps We Love   Collect by batteries company.com

CoTweet: Twitter account management

9CoTweet provides an excellent interface for managing your Twitter account, especially if you need multiple people to manage it. CoTweet makes it easy to access multiple Twitter accounts and keep an eye on your mentions. Even better, CoTweet integrates with our #10 App, Bit.ly Pro.

Also recommended:
HootSuite

bitly pro Top 10 Web Apps We Love   Collect by batteries company.com

Bitly Pro: URL sharing and analytics

10While most people only use a URL-shortening service for tweets, we like to use Bit.ly URLs wherever possible. Bit.ly Pro permits you to use a custom domain (we use seomz.me) and provides useful analytics for each URL you create. SEOmoz uses the data from Bit.ly Pro to determine which tweets generate the most clicks. Pro tip: add a + to the end of any Bit.ly URL to see a detailed report, like so: http://seomz.me/hXrmAU+.

That’s not all: Other apps we love

Below are more of the apps we use and love.  While they all can’t be in our Top 10, they’re definitely worth mentioning:

What are your favorite apps? Are we missing a must-have app for your site?  Please let us know in the comments! We’d love to know what you’re using to make your work easier, more productive and fun.

See also:

5 More Handy Web Apps to Save You Time at Work

Top 10 Must Have iPad 2 Apps For New And Existing Users

Top 10 Battery Usage Tips, Hacks and Tricks

Top 10 cheap Android mobile phones

20 iPhone Productivity Apps for Organized and Lazy

30 Best iPad 2 Apps and Games

120 Resources for Bloggers

How to import all your Facebook contacts to Google Plus

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12

How to Make Your Android Phone Look Like Windows Phone 7

android wp7 150x150 How to Make Your Android Phone Look Like Windows Phone 7Inspired by today’s news about Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7‘s latest release, “Mango,” but can’t let go of your beloved Android device? Now you can at least simulate the experience of using Windows Phone thanks to a new Android app, over half a year in development, which brings a Windows Phone-like launcher to Android users.

The new app called WP7 Launcher Lite began as a project featured in – where else? – the XDA Developer forums. Created by forum member TheRedDrake, the goal was to produce something that would provide “the freedom of Android and the grace and elegance of Windows Phone 7.” Now a Lite (free) version of that application is available on the Android Market for you to try. And there are other plenty of other apps that bring you a similar experience, too. We’ve listed a few of these below.

Now Available: WP7 Launcher

wp7android How to Make Your Android Phone Look Like Windows Phone 7

The free version of WP7 Launcher, which was just released to the Android Market, allows you to get a taste of the Windows Phone user interface, so you can decide if you want to dive in and pay for the full experience. It also lets you to test the app in advance to make sure it works on your particular Android handset.

This Lite edition has several limitations, including a maximum of 6 Tiles which can be pinned to the homescreen, no ability to change Tile themes or customize fonts, only one “Live Folder” limited to just 3 Tiles,  no integration between the Launcher and the Contacts app (a separate app from the developer called “WP7 Contacts”) and more.

The full version is just 3 Euros ($4.23 US) and is available only from the developer’s website. To get it, you’ll have to adjust the setting on your smartphone that allows you to install off-Market applications if you want to purchase the paid version.

Early reviews of the app on the Market aren’t as favorable as those on the XDA forums site, it should be noted. That’s probably because this app is still in development, and may be buggy. As always, when it comes to Android apps, your mileage may vary, depending on your device. This isn’t a blanket recommendation for the app and we won’t be held accountable if it just crashes and burns on you. (It didn’t for us, though.)

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A Great Alternative: Launcher7

However, there’s an alternative to this new app, if you do run into trouble: Launcher7, which some claim is better. The app is available in both free and donate versions. The free version is ad-supported, but it lets you modify your Start screen by dragging the tiles around.

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It is also a work in progress, with several more features still planned, including Facebook integration and more animated tiles, among other things.

 How to Make Your Android Phone Look Like Windows Phone 7

A Windows Phone-Style Music Player

While you’re at it, there’s yet another app that can help you complete your Android to Windows Phone transformation: a Windows Phone 7 style music app, available in alpha, from Federico Carnales, the creator of the popular Android app, Launcher Pro. He tweeted the download link just the other day for those brave enough to try it.

batteries-company.com tested it for you, and recorded video of that here.

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Lenovo ThinkPad T520 Review and Battery Life Test

In the business notebook category, Lenovo continues to be the company to beat, and it looks to continue its dominance with the ThinkPad T520. Thanks to a Core i5 processor and Nvidia graphics, this 15-inch $1,299 system can handle just about any task. A sturdy chassis, excellent keyboard, and built-in fingerprint reader further sweeten the pot, but is it enough to keep the T520 at the top of the business heap?

Design

LenovoT520 g1 Lenovo ThinkPad T520 Review and Battery Life TestClick to EnlargeAs with other ThinkPads, the T520 is as buttoned-down as they come. Its black matte rubberized lid is highly resistant to fingerprints and smudges, and is only accented by a chrome Lenovo emblem and a ThinkPad logo. Following the ThinkPad aesthetic, the deck features the traditional all-black interior with the keyboard nestled between two speakers. The telltale blue Enter key and the bright red TrackPoint located between the G and H keys are also on board. A raised panel above the function keys houses buttons for mute, volume, microphone mute, the ThinkVantage toolbox and Power.

A black latch along the right front lip of the notebook releases the lid, which is held up by two rock-solid metal hinges. An internal magnesium alloy frame, backed up by strong ABS plastic on the outside, means this notebook should stand up to a fair amount of abuse and resist flexing. The extended battery felt slightly loose, though.

LenovoT520 g5 Lenovo ThinkPad T520 Review and Battery Life TestClick to EnlargeEven though 15-inch systems aren’t meant to be carried around extensively, the 6.2-pound, 14.7-by-9.7-by-1.3-1.4-inch T520 is on the chunky side compared to other machines we’ve recently reviewed with this size display. For example, the HP Envy 15 weighs 5.8 pounds and measures 14.9-by-9.6-by-1.1 inches, while the 5-pound Samsung Series 7 Chronos has a 0.9-inch profile.

Keyboard and Touchpad

LenovoT520 g24 Lenovo ThinkPad T520 Review and Battery Life TestClick to EnlargeThe T520′s classic, spill-resistant keyboard has large keys with firm, springy feedback. Similar to other ThinkPads, the T520′s keyboard features oversized ESC and Delete keys. We scored 55 words per minute with a 1 percent error rate on the Ten Thumbs Typing Test, higher than our usual 50 wpm/1 percent error rate.

Lenovo’s comfortable, textured TrackPoint pointing stick continues to be the gold standard, delivering accurate navigation. There’s also a 2.8-by-1.6-inch touchpad for users accustomed to using the pointing stick. Rubbing our fingers against the textured surface felt good. However, the limited surface area made activating some multitouch gestures such as pinch-to-zoom tricky.

LenovoT520 g18 Lenovo ThinkPad T520 Review and Battery Life TestClick to EnlargeBoth sets of discrete mouse buttons offered strong feedback, as did the center trackpoint scroll button.

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Heat

After streaming a full-screen video on Hulu on 15 minutes, the touchpad, space between the G and H keys and the notebook’s underside measured 82, 85 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. The middle of the notebook’s bottom measured 98 degrees, which is 3 degrees above what we consider to be comfortable, but then this is not a machine that will see a lot of time on your lap.

Ports and Webcam

LenovoT520 g16 Lenovo ThinkPad T520 Review and Battery Life TestClick to EnlargeAn ExpressCard/34 reader, a 4-in-1 card reader, a combination headphone/microphone, Gigabit Ethernet, and a tray-loading DVD burner sit on the right side of the T520. Two USB 2.0 ports, a USB/eSATA port, DisplayPort, VGA, Firewire 400 and a wireless switch sit along the left side. A single USB 2.0 port can be found on the notebook’s rear right corner. At this point, we wish the notebook came with USB 3.0, too.

The 720p camera delivered sharp clear images, even in low light settings. During our Skype call, our caller reported a clear image with distinct detail. However, the color appeared to be slightly washed out. Audio came through loud and clear. We experienced some problems with lag on our end, but for the most part, saw a clear image with vivid color and loud audio.

Display and Audio

LenovoT520 g2 Lenovo ThinkPad T520 Review and Battery Life TestClick to EnlargeThe T520′s matte 15.6-inch display provided sharp and vivid images thanks to its 1600 x 900p resolution. While watching the 1080p YouTube trailer of “The Hunger Games,” we marveled at how the display rendered Katniss’ brilliant red dress as well as her piercing blue eyes. However, at 155 lux, the T520 isn’t quite as bright as the Series 7 Chronos (167 lux).

Despite the two wide speaker grilles on either side of the keyboard, the T520 doesn’t offer the greatest sound. At full volume, the notebook barely filled a small room, even after tweaking settings in the Smart Audio control panel. Still, Robin Thicke’s soulful tenor were nicely balanced on “Love After War” as were the strings, piano, and crisp snare drums.

Performance

The Lenovo ThinkPad T520 comes equipped with a 2.6-GHz Intel Core i5-2540M processor, 4GB of RAM, 500GB 7,200-rpm hard drive and switchable graphics (Intel HD Graphics 3000, Nvidia NVS 4200M GPU with 1GB of VRAM). The machine took just about everything we threw at it, including playing video, performing productivity tasks and some light gaming.

On the PCMark07 benchmark, which measures overall performance, the T520 scored 2,177, slightly less than the 2,278 mainstream category average. The HP Envy 15 and its 2.4-GHz Intel Core i5-2450M and 6GB of RAM notched 2,385 while the Samsung Series 7 Chronos’ 2.2-GHz Intel Core i7-2675QM CPU and 8GB of RAM delivered 2,447.

The T520′s 500GB 7,200-rpm hard drive booted the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Professional in 49 seconds. That’s 10 seconds faster than the 0:59 category average. During the LAPTOP File Transfer Test, the ThinkPad T520 duplicated 4.97GB of mixed media files in 3 minutes and 1 second, a transfer rate of 28.1MBps. That’s slightly slower than the 31 MBps mainstream average.

On the OpenOffice Spreadsheet test, the T520 took 4 minutes and 54 seconds to match 20,000 names to their corresponding addresses, 1:32 seconds ahead of the 6:26 average. The Series 7 Chronos was a close second with 4:56 while the Envy 15 lagged with a time of 6:31.

Graphics Performance

The Lenovo ThinkPad T520 comes equipped with Nvidia’s Optimus technology, allowing it to automatically switch between its integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000 and its discrete Nvidia NVS 4200M GPU with 1GB of VRAM for optimal performance and battery life.

On 3DMark06, which measures graphics performance, the T520 scored 5,627. That’s 678 points above the 4,949 mainstream category average. During the “World of Warcraft” benchmark, the T520 delivered a frame rate of 38 fps on autodetect at 1600 x 900. While that fails to match the 58 fps mainstream category average, most notebooks in this category sport lower resolutions. When we cranked the settings to maximum, the T520′s frame rate dropped slightly to a still-playable 33 fps. That’s enough to defeat the category average and the Envy 15 (28 fps).

Battery Life

LenovoT520 g25 Lenovo ThinkPad T520 Review and Battery Life TestClick to EnlargeLenovo sent us a big 9-cell battery with the ThinkPad T520, and it didn’t disappoint. During the LAPTOP Battery Test (continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi) the business laptop lasted a whopping 9 hours and 4 minutes. That’s 4 hours and 8 minutes longer than the 4:56 mainstream category average. If you’re constantly dashing from one meeting to the next, you’ll appreciate the 9-cell battery’s endurance; if you do most of your work at your desk, the smaller 6-cell battery will probably suffice.

Security and Software

LenovoT520 fingerprint Lenovo ThinkPad T520 Review and Battery Life TestClick to EnlargeLenovo keeps things pretty light on the software front, choosing to outfit the T520 with not much more than the standard ThinkVantage utilities. We found the powered fingerprint reader to be the most helpful utility. In addition to adding a layer of security, we also could use it to turn on the T520 by simply swiping our finger.

We especially liked the Power Manager, which gave us the ability to schedule when the notebook went to sleep and check remaining battery power. Our favorite feature is Instant Resume, which keeps the Wi-Fi active for up to 99 minutes after the notebook is in sleep, eliminating the need to wait to reconnect.

Also included is Rescue and Recovery to make backups of important system information, Password Manager and Access Connections to manage wireless connections.

Third-party applications include Skype, Adobe Reader 9, Microsoft Office Starter, Windows Live, a 30-day free trial of Norton Internet Security 2011 and a basic version of Business-in-a-Box, a business document template software.

Configurations

Our $1,299 review unit of the T520 came equipped with a 2.6-GHz Intel Core i5-2540M CPU with 4GB of RAM, 500GB 7,200-rpm hard drive, switchable graphics (Intel HD Graphics 3000, Nvidia NVS 4200M GPU with 1GB of VRAM) and a 15.6-inch 1600 x 900 display. The $899 base model features a 2.3-GHz Intel Core i3-2350M processor, 4GB of RAM, a 320GB 5,400-rpm hard drive, an Intel HD Graphics 3000 GPU and a 15.6-inch 1366 x 768 display.

The $1,319 top-of-the-line model includes an Intel Core i5-2520M CPU with 4GB of RAM, a 160GB SSD, switchable graphics (Intel HD Graphics 3000, Nvidia NVS 4200M GPU with 1GB of VRAM) and a 15.6-inch 1600 x 900 display. For an additional $200, shoppers can upgrade to a 1920 x 1080 display.

Verdict

LenovoT520 sh Lenovo ThinkPad T520 Review and Battery Life TestClick to EnlargeWhile it’s a bit thick and heavy for a 15-inch laptop, the $1,299 Lenovo ThinkPad T520 offers business users everything they need: good performance, durability, and security. Of course, you also get Lenovo’s trademark fantastic keyboard and accurate pointing stick. Add in wide viewing angles for the matte screen and extra-long battery life and you have a sound investment.

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2

How to revive a dying laptop battery

laptop battery service 300x214 How to revive a dying laptop batteryLaptop battery wearing down? In this week’s episode of Upgrade Your Life,  batteries-company.com and aussiebattery.com shows us how to help batteries last longer … and what to do when they run out!

First, the basics

Most laptops use batteries that can last for 3-5 years, or about 1000 charges. (A premium laptop’s battery might last longer.) Every time you charge your battery, the total capacity of the battery is diminished. Originally it may have had a run time of 3.5 hours, but after a year it’ll run out of juice at 3 hours, even on a full charge.

If your battery capacity has diminished, there are a few things you can do about it. First, you have to correctly gauge how much capacity has been lost. There are free downloads to do this job, like Battery Bar (for Windows PCs) or Coconut Battery (for Macs). These will compare your battery’s current maximum capacity to how long it lasted when it was new.
(UPDATE- we originally recommended Battery Eater and while the program works great, their download site has been compromised and we are recommending an alternate program, Battery Bar downloadable from CNET.)

Calibrating your Laptop Battery

You can’t miraculously reconstitute your battery’s capacity. It loses power over time due to chemical reactions taking place in the battery, as it chugs along powering your laptop. You can’t undo those changes, but there is one common HP Pavilion DV2000 Battery issue you can fix: In many laptops, the operating system’s battery meter gets out of sync with how much juice the battery actually has.

Imagine if the gas gauge on your car dashboard was misreading how much gas you actually had in the tank. You’d either run out of gas when you thought you had a quarter of a tank left, or you’d be filling up too frequently. In your laptop, this can mean your laptop shuts down abruptly when the meter says you have 30 minutes left. Or else the meter might warn that you only have five minutes of battery life left and shut your laptop down, when it really has another 20 minutes remaining.

Recalibrating gets the battery meter to correctly read the current state of the battery, so you and the operating system know where you stand with existing laptop battery life.

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How to recalibrate

First, charge your laptop’s battery to full, and leave it that way for at least two hours. Then unplug your laptop, and set its power management settings to never turn off or lower the monitor brightness. (HP has instructions for how do to this on Windows 7 and Vista, as well as Windows XP, while Apple has instructions for Mac laptops on their site.)

You want to drain the battery completely, then let your laptop sit for at least five hours this way — like, say, overnight. (Just be careful and mute the volume, since some laptops make a warning sound when they’re about to run out.) Afterwards, charge it up again, and you should notice a more accurate portrayal of your Toshiba PA3356U-3BAS Battery capacity. In some cases, you may even get more life out of it.

Best practices to maintain battery life

You’d think that the best way to keep your laptop’s battery from wearing out is to not use it. Right?

As it turns out, notebook batteries are like muscles; they need to be worked out regularly to stay healthy. Ideally, you’d use your laptop unplugged at least once a day, like on a train or bus commute or on the couch in front of the TV. If you’re not going to use it, constantly charging your battery is a bad idea; HP recommends on their website that if you’re going to leave your laptop plugged in or put up in storage for more than two weeks, you should take the battery out of your laptop.

laptop compaq 1 300x69 How to revive a dying laptop battery

Past the expiration date

So when is it time to throw out that old battery? The answer, surprisingly, is “never.” Laptop batteries contain lots of toxic chemicals, and should never end up in landfills. Fortunately, e-stewards.org has a list of environmentally responsible recyclers that will take your old battery with no fuss.

When is it time to replace your battery, then? Use the free utility apps Becky mentioned, and when they say that your battery can only hold around 25% of its original capacity it’s probably time for a new one. You can buy a replacement laptop battery from the original laptop manufacturer, and there are plenty of places online that sell discount laptop batteries, like aussiebattery and Batteries-company.com. Owners of newer Mac laptops can get their laptop’s non-removable battery swapped out at any Apple store, with a scheduled appointment.

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How To Fix Your iPad Won’t Sync Issues

Ever had an issue syncing your iPad? Sure we all have a a time when it won’t sync or it does sync and nothing really happens.  Once again we dug around in the pits of the forums to bring you some practical advice for fixing those pesky iPad sync issues.

Fixing iPad Sync Issues

If you ever experience an issue where your iPad syncs but nothing happens or it syncs and there are errors then this article is for you.  There have been a lot of reported sync errors with the release of iOS 4.2 and iTunes 10 and so here are some things you should look for and ways to fix your sync issues.

  • If your iPad won’t sync, make sure you are using the exact USB cable that shipped with it.  It has a square top and not a rounded one like the one that comes with an iPhone (usb side).  This has helped several users out that were experiencing sync issues.
  • If you are having issues syncing, go to software update and see if there are any updates you may not know about.  Even if it only updates Safari or something for the iPhone, it may be important.  Several users reported that once they did this, their sync issues cleared right up.
  • Remove iTunes, QuickTime and “Mobile Devices”  from your Mac or PC and then download a fresh copy and install it.  This has also been reported to solve sync issues when nothing else will.
  • Restore your iPad as a last resort.  If you have already tried the steps above and nothing seems to be working, then restoring the iPad will take care of the issue but be aware it will erase all your data.  Here is how to restore your iPad.

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These tips should help you get your iPad syncing again.  If you find something else besides this that works, then please share it in the comments for others to try.

See Also

How to Sync iPad To a New Computer

How to Extend the Battery Life of Your Apple iPad 2

How To Make Dell Laptop Battery For An Optimal Runtime

Laptop battery and ac adapter issues troubleshooting tips

How to get the most out of your Lenovo ThinkPad Battery

Helpful laptop battery troubleshooting tips

Properly Laptop Battery Care Guide

How to Use and Maintenance of Your Laptop Batteries

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8

Best Laptop Battery Life of 7+ Hrs Laptops

Laptops with Best Battery Life of 7+ Hrs: Keep You Going, And Going

Laptops with Best Battery Life Best Laptop Battery Life of 7+ Hrs Laptops
Generally, a laptop having battery life of 5 hrs is assumed to be a best buy. However, if you are looking for a laptop for your personal usage with a battery life providing you a full workday’s worth for surfing the web, checking e-mail and social networking updates, here is a brief description for your kind selection.

The laptops presented here belong to the elite group of portables those last about more than 7 hrs.  All these devices are quite able to surf the web continuously for the whole day with the screen on 40 % brightness (about the default level when you unplug a notebook).

So you have decided to work and play all the day without any fear of losing battery life of your laptop and want to keep going, and going, and…….

ASUS U31SD A1 500x322 Best Laptop Battery Life of 7+ Hrs Laptops

Asus U31SD-A1: Graphics muscle and very long laptop battery life combine to make the 13-inch ASUS U31SD-A1 a worthwhile thin-and-light laptop.

 

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HP Pavilion dm4t: An aluminum body, fingerprint reader, and all-day battery life make the HP Pavilion dm4t an excellent laptop (HP pavilion dm4 battery) at an affordable price.

Sony VAIO Z 500x322 Best Laptop Battery Life of 7+ Hrs Laptops

Sony VAIO Z: The VAIO Z offers unparalleled speed and portability along with a first-of-its kind dock that adds discrete graphics–if you’re willing to pay the price.

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Sony VAIO S 500x322 Best Laptop Battery Life of 7+ Hrs Laptops
Sony VAIO S:
The Sony VAIO S’ impressive performance, light weight, and powerful graphics make it a solid contender in the ultraportable laptop category.

Alienware M11x R3 500x322 Best Laptop Battery Life of 7+ Hrs Laptops

Alienware M11x R3: A second-generation Core i5 processor and beefier graphics make the Alienware M11x R3 with Dell alienware m11x battery one powerful gaming ultraportable.

Lenovo ThinkPad X 1 500x322 Best Laptop Battery Life of 7+ Hrs Laptops

Lenovo ThinkPad X1: Thanks to its fast performance, superior keyboard, ultra-bright display, and much-improved audio quality, the ThinkPad X1 is the best all-around business ultraportable.

Lenovo ThinkPad X 220 500x322 Best Laptop Battery Life of 7+ Hrs Laptops
Lenovo ThinkPad X220: A fast Core i5 processor, well-designed clickpad, and epic endurance help the 12-inch Lenovo ThinkPad X220 rise to the top.

Lenovo ThinkPad T420 500x322 Best Laptop Battery Life of 7+ Hrs Laptops

Lenovo ThinkPad T420: A 14-inch powerhouse, the Lenovo ThinkPad T420 delivers all-day endurance at an affordable price.

Dell Inspiron 17R 500x322 Best Laptop Battery Life of 7+ Hrs Laptops

Dell Inspiron 17R (9-cell): The Dell Inspiron 17R delivers strong graphics performance and audio for a good price, along with fun switchable lids.

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The best iPhone 4 battery cases

Need more battery life for your iPhone 4? We’ve reviewed three of the top cases to find which is best.

The iPhone 4 is better than its 3G and 3GS siblings in terms of battery life, but it’s still nowhere near enough for a traveller.

The standard battery lasts about eight hours, which is just enough for the phone to last until the nightly commute home on a normal work day, but when travelling (or even if you forget to charge the phone overnight) that limited battery life is annoying.

We’ve taken a look at three of the latest iPhone battery cases available to discover their pros and cons.

All the cases share some attributes in common: they all charge via a micro USB connector so you won’t be using your iPhone dock cable any more. All the cases come with a micro-USB cord that you can plug into your existing iPhone wall charger. The case and the iPhone battery charge at the same time using the single micro-USB connector.

They all have a dock connector inside the case for your iPhone to plug into, and of course, this connects to the Dell vostro 1510 battery inside the case to keep your smart phone full of juice.

Mophie Juice Pack Air 4

It provides good protection for all sides of the iPhone, with the back fully covered and a protective ridge standing above the edges of the front screen so that if you drop it flat on a pavement the screen won’t make contact.

It has holes in the case to allow direct access to the iPhone’s metal buttons, which makes adjustments easy. The Energizer case, in comparison, makes you press through the silicon case, which requires more effort.

One annoying thing about the Juice Pack Air is that its bright, flashing charging status lights and micro USB charging connector are both at the bottom of the case, so no matter which way you lie it down, your bedroom will be turned into a disco overnight.

There’s a charging on/off switch on the case, which is there to help preserve the life of the battery in the case. Mophie suggests you only switch it to charge when your iPhone is actually low on juice, as the battery case can only be recharged 500 times before its battery will start to fail (and of course, the more often you empty the battery into your iPhone, the more frequently you’ll have to charge the case).

The capacity of the Mobile battery is 1500mAh, which gives a little more than twice the battery life of the iPhone 4′s internal battery, which is rated at 1420mAh.

The Juice Pack Air sells for between $75-$100 at the time of writing.

Padacs PowerCase for iPhone 4

It has holes in the side of the case to allow direct access to the iPhone’s buttons.

The styling of the case is somewhat BlackBerry Torch-esque — gloss black on all sides, with sculpted edges that disguise the heft of the battery. As a result, even the 2200mAh case looks pretty good despite its true bulk.

The fact that the case is sculpted and shiny also makes it the easiest of the three cases to slip in and out of your pocket.

The blue charging indicators are on the back of the case, but unfortunately also on a sculpted part of the case, so even if you lie it flat, it will illuminate your bedroom with a bright, rapidly flashing blue light overnight.

One quibble we had with the case is that by default it does not charge your iPhone — you have to hold down a button on the back of the case for it to start charging. Presumably it has been designed like this so you don’t use the case’s battery unnecessarily for the same reason Mophie puts a switch on its case (see above), but it still feels like the decision has been taken out of your hands a bit.

The other minor downside of the PADACS cases is that the case rim sits flush with the iPhone 4 glass screen, providing very minimal protection for the screen if your drop it hard on its face on an uneven surface like bitumen.

You can buy the PowerCases for $49.95 or $59.95 (depending on capacity) directly from PADACS’ website.

Energizer AP1201 iPhone 4 battery case
iphone 4 battery case 227x300 The best iPhone 4 battery cases

The charging indicator for this case is on the back — a series of small, deep blue lights. As a result, if you leave the case on its back overnight, the charging light won’t keep you awake. You can get a read on remaining NOKIA 3310 Mobile Phone Battery life by pressing a small button on one of the corners of the case.

One problem with the Energizer case is that it mostly encloses the phone, so if you want to use the volume buttons on the side or the lock button at the top of the phone, you have to squish them through the silicone, which requires considerably more effort than just pressing the buttons directly. The silent on/off switch is still exposed through a hole, though.

The case also picks up a lot of dust and fluff due to its silicone construction.

Unlike the Padacs or Mophie cases, the Energizer case constantly charges the iPhone — there is no option to turn off its charging to keep the case battery in the best possible condition.

Verdict: the best battery case for iPhone 4

In our testing of these three cases, the clear winner is the PADACS PowerCase. It provides greater HP 484784-001 battery life than any of the other cases, has a shape and texture that makes it super-easy to slip in and out of your pocket, and manages to disguise the bulk of the battery with clever industrial design.

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10

Top 10 cheap Android mobile phones

Android handsets need not cost the earth. With prices from £15 per month on contracts, they’re actually some of the cheapest smartphones around. We name the models most deserving of your hard-earned greenbacks and prove once and for all that budget blower need not mean bargain basement.

1 HTC Wildfire S

htc wildfire batteries company.com  Top 10 cheap Android mobile phones

The original Wildfire arguably did more to bring Android to the mass market than any other handset. Its successor is another winner from the House of HTC that feels and looks more like one a top-end smartie than another budget phone.

For as little as £20 per month on an Orange deal including data, you get a handset rocking the latest 2.3 Gingerbread version of Android, a five-megapixel camera with some ace filters, a 3.2-inch LCD screen and seven homescreens to fill with apps and widgets.

2 HTC Desire

htc desire 520x300x24 fill Top 10 cheap Android mobile phones

Not too long ago, the Desire was the be all and end all of Android phones. A year and a bit later, it’s still right up there. But because we’ve since a slew of newer Desire phones for the early adopters to salivate over, you can get it for free from £20 per month.

In truth, with the exception of HD video recording, there’s very little that marks this out from the HD, which still attracts premium prices. Moreover, with an update to Android 2.3 on the way, the Desire is a taste of the high life at a price that even low-lifes can afford.

3 Samsung Galaxy Ace

samsung galaxy ace 520x300x24 fill Top 10 cheap Android mobile phones

Galaxy devices are like Tribbles. Every time you turn around, another one has appeared. But while the likes of the bleeding-edge, high-end Samsung Galaxy S 2 and new Tab slates nab the column inches, it’s the Ace that’ll appeal to cost-conscious Fandroids.

Although this runs the older 2.2 version of Android, you’ll still be able to run pretty much every app going. And besides we think that’s far outweighed by the Ace’s £15 per month price point, Duracell-esque battery life, tethering and quick and responsive, 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen. If you’re in the market for a compact take on Android, this could be just what you’re after.

4 Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini

xperia mini 520x300x24 fill Top 10 cheap Android mobile phones

Also landing later this year, the Mini is the smallest phone yet to feature HD video recording. Choose this handset and you’ll get a phone with Android 2.3, a crystal clear screen that features the same Bravia tech you find in Sony TV’s and Facebook functionality at its core.

Pricing is yet to be confirmed. But we expect it to be free from just over £20 per month.

5 Xperia Mini Pro

xperia mini pro 520x300x24 fill Top 10 cheap Android mobile phones

This is essentially the same handset as the Mini but with a physical QWERTY keyboard and Microsoft Office Suite pre-loaded. One for heavy messagers and anyone with business on the brain then.

6 HTC ChaCha

htc chacha 520x300x24 fill Top 10 cheap Android mobile phones

One for Facebook fans, this features a dedicated ‘Facebook’ button that gives you super speedy access to your social life and a physical QWERTY keyboard for tapping out status updates in a trice. As you’d expect for a phone that arrived just last month, it runs Android 2.3, too.

7 HTC Salsa

htc salsa 520x300x24 fill Top 10 cheap Android mobile phones

The Salsa is also home to a dedicated Facebook button. But because it doesn’t have a QWERTY keyboard, it’s got room for a larger 3.4-inch screen. Takes it design cues from the HTC Desire too, so looks every bit the high-end handset.

8 Samsung Galaxy Mini

samsung galaxy mini large 520x300x24 fill Top 10 cheap Android mobile phones

Often dubbed as the Galaxy S’s little brother, the Android 2.2-powered Mini is a tiny bit of kit measuring 110mm tall, 60mm wide and 12mm thick. But it’s still got room for a three-inch screen, Quick Office for document editing and Swype pre-installed for simpler touchscreen typing.

9 LG Optimus Me P350

lg optimus me 520x300x24 fill Top 10 cheap Android mobile phones

The LG Optimus Me is a cute handset with appealing rounded edges that weighs in at just 108g. That’ll get you a three-megapixel camera and the 2.2 version of Android. It’s not confirmed, but the fact that this only dropped in March suggests you might even get an update to Gingerbread too. Pick it up free from £15 per month.

10 HTC Wildfire

 Top 10 cheap Android mobile phones

HTC recently ruled out an update to Android 2.3 for the Wildfire, so we’ve deducted points for that. But if you’re not too worried about what’s essentially a fairly minor OS bump, the Wildfire has much else to recommend it, including a 3.1-inch touchscreen, Facebook, Flickr and Twitter integration and a five megapixel camera.

Tagcloud: cheap Android mobile phones, Android mobile phones, smart mobile phones, Samsung NP-Q35 battery, Asus AL23-901 Laptop Battery, IBM 02K6618 Battery, Aspire 5513WLMi Battery

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Best high-end notebooks with backlit keyboards

The backlit keyboard has made a lot of ground in the past few years, although, much to our chagrin, it still isn’t ubiquitous.

It used to be that only the high-end laptops had one, but these days, you can get a AU$1000 Sony that packs in the handy feature as well.

If a backlit keyboard is at the top of your features wish list, below are the best laptops we’ve reviewed that just happen to have one.

Samsung Series 9 (13-inch, 2012)

There are some small concerns, but the new Samsung Series 9 is an absolute pleasure to use.

The Good

  • Gorgeous 1600×900 PLS screen, Very slim and light, Good keyboard and touchpad

The Bad

  • Only one USB 3.0 port,  AC Adapters not included for micro video ports, Backlit keyboard needs to be brighter, Battery life could be improved, Touchpad driver takes ages to load on first boot, meaning some functions aren’t available for at least 30 seconds
apple macbook pro retina 1 Best high end notebooks with backlit keyboards
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display

It’s not cheap, and it’ll take some time for the software world to catch up, but great battery life, good sound, impeccable build and a screen that’ll blow you away means that the MacBook Pro with Retina Display has set a new standard for the rest to follow.

The Good

  • The sensational screen, Comparatively thin form factor enables portability despite high level specs, Fast SSD. Large SSD options if you happen to own a bank, HDMI and twin Thunderbolt ports gives plenty of display options, Great HP pavilion dv4 battery life

The Bad

  • Only two USB ports, Top left near the monitor gets quite hot during gaming, BootCamp needs work, The wait for everything to be Retina compatible
asus zenbook prime ux31a 1 Best high end notebooks with backlit keyboards
Asus ZenBook Prime UX31A

The ZenBook Prime UX31A is everything the ZenBook UX31E should have been, and more. We have no hesitation in recommending this laptop if you truly want no-compromise performance in an ultrabook.

The Good

  • Lovely Full HD, IPS screen, Backlit keyboard, Great performance,

The Bad

  • Some light bleed from the bottom of the screen, Included USB to Ethernet adapter is USB 2.0 only, Battery life could be improved

Sony Vaio E Series (SVE14A15FGB)

Sony’s managed to produce a laptop under AU$1000 that not only doesn’t sacrifice on quality, but manages to trickle down some premium features, like a backlit keyboard. Within its means, this is one of the best budget laptops you can get.

The Good

  • Higher resolution screen than usual, Good battery life, Backlit keyboard, Good specs for the price

The Bad

  • GPU underperforming in Skyrim and Witcher 2, Screen isn’t as vibrant as it could be

Apple MacBook Air 13 (mid-2012)

The new 13-inch MacBook Air might not be the huge revision we were hoping for, but it’s still an excellent laptop, borne out of years of refinement.

The Good

  • Great build quality, USB 3.0 makes for a good boost, Industry leading touchpad, Backlit keyboard, Dual-band Wi-Fi

The Bad

  • Base model storage a bit small for the current day

Apple MacBook Air 11 (mid-2012)

The MacBook Air 11 continues to be a wonderfully portable laptop, suiting travel or those who are constantly on the move. While an IPS screen would be nice and the default storage sizes need to be raised, this is a lovely piece of engineering that has well and truly carved its niche.

The Good

  • Incredibly light, yet well built, Class leading keyboard and touchpad

The Bad

  • The TN-based screen is getting a bit long in the tooth, Default storage size is too small
hp pavilion dm4 beats 1 Best high end notebooks with backlit keyboards

HP Pavilion dm4 Beats Edition

HP’s Pavilion dm4 Beats Edition manages to bring good performance and battery life into the sub-AU$1000 range. The main sacrifice is the vibrancy of the screen, but at this price, it’s a small nitpick and nothing more.

The Good

  • Good performance and Hp laptop batteries life, Decent sound for the size and price range, Backlit keyboard

The Bad

  • Discrete graphics almost aren’t worth it, Screen could be more vibrant
lenovo thinkpad x1 carbon 1 Best high end notebooks with backlit keyboards

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Lenovo’s succeeded in delivering a sexy ultrabook that still retains the traditional ThinkPad design cues. The battery life isn’t as good as it could be though, and the SSD upgrade prices are simply ludicrous.

The Good

  • 1600×900 screen has better than usual viewing angles for TN, Screen can flip flat, Incredibly well built, light and tough, Inbuilt 3G, Great backlit keyboard

The Bad

  • Ludicrous SSD upgrade prices, Only one USB 3.0 port, Faint vertical lines visible on display
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Top 10 Blogs to Simplify Your Life

laptop battery simplify Top 10 Blogs to Simplify Your LifeIf you’ve got too much stuff, too little time, too much e-mail, not enough focus or all of these, the following blogs can help; they’re packed with examples of how to unclutter and streamline your life, and usually feature stories about others who have done the same.

Marc and Angel Hack Life

This couple focus on simplifying, happiness, life lessons, avoiding TV, and making better use of other electronic devices. Asks and answers the question, Does your schedule leave you time for the things that bring you true happiness?

Thesimplerlife.net

Low-key advice about simplification by an author who’s trying to both simplify and improve as a writer. Covers improving self-discipline, figuring out what’s important, and supporting your passions.

Zen Habits

Leo Babauta’s blog about life simplification and cutting out the clutter is probably the leader in the life-simplification category. Clearly organized and with thoughtful links to related articles and lists.

Simple Productivity Blog

This software consultant put down her PDA and now dispenses daily tips on how to simplify. Theme days range from simplicity Wednesdays and tip Fridays to open-loop Tuesdays (covering other items she finds on the Web). Also covers clutter, efficiency, personal development and simplification.

Organized Mom

Mom helps you declutter your house, one room at a time. Focuses on taking back the family room, kitchen, pantry and bathroom from all your stuff, plus meal planning, multitasking and avoiding procrastination.

Life Optimizer

Personal growth through focus, minimalism, working smarter, and a hint of Zen philosophy. Topics include crisis-proofing your career, how to enjoy the present, finding happiness and staying out of the trap of loving stuff.

Goodlife Zen

Mary Jaksch writes about calming yourself and simplifying your life, touching on other topics such as personal resilience, combating depression and establishing positive new habits.

Unclutterer

A blog specifically about using less stuff to accomplish more. Articles cover teaching kids to physical clutter, reducing your own inbox clutter, and getting better organized so that junk in general doesn’t build up in your life.

Minima

Quotes, aphorisms and images about minimalism in computing, life and design. Constantly reloading UI keeps you from scrolling to the end of this blog, which is not terribly simple–but it also means a steady stream of food for thought about simplifying your online and off-line lives.

Tools for Thought: Thinking Beyond Productivity

A getting-things-done centered blog that focuses more formally on how attention, organization, prioritization and other aspects of how you use your time (and brain) work

Goodlife Zen

Mary Jaksch writes about calming yourself and simplifying your life, touching on other topics such as personal resilience, combating depression and establishing positive new habits.

Unclutterer

A blog specifically about using less stuff to accomplish more. Articles cover teaching kids to physical clutter, reducing your own inbox clutter, and getting better organized so that junk in general doesn’t build up in your life.

Minima

Quotes, aphorisms and images about minimalism in computing, life and design. Constantly reloading UI keeps you from scrolling to the end of this blog, which is not terribly simple–but it also means a steady stream of food for thought about simplifying your online and off-line lives.

Tools for Thought: Thinking Beyond Productivity

A getting-things-done centered blog that focuses more formally on how attention, organization, prioritization and other aspects of how you use your time (and brain) work.

Tagcloud: Blogs to Simplify Your Life, better life tips, IBM 02K6618 Laptop Battery, Dell 312-0461 Laptop Battery, HP 468816-001 Laptop Battery, Toshiba PA3593U-1BAS Laptop Battery

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