Wednesday, March 3, 2010

HP reclaims laptop battery life crown from Lenovo

One week after Lenovo Group Ltd. introduced a ThinkPad with a 12.2-hour runtime, Hewlett-Packard Co. says it's recaptured the record.

HP's new EliteBook 2540p business laptop can run for up to 12.5 hours, edging out Lenovo's ThinkPad X201s by about 20 minutes.

The caveat is that buyers of the ultraportable EliteBook 2540p must opt for a slower, lower-voltage Core i7-640LM processor and a pricier 9-cell Lithium-Ion battery ($39 more than the 6-cell battery) to achieve that runtime, said an HP spokeswoman. Else, the maximum runtime for the EliteBook drops down to about 11.5 hours, she said.

That situation is similar to the ThinkPad X201s. Users must also opt for a 9-cell battery and an Intel Core i7-640LM CPU to hit 12.2 hours.

Similarly, the runtimes for both the Lenovo and HP laptops are only achievable using batteries warranted for one year of usage. Such batteries tend to degrade and lose their maximum capacity quickly after that first year.

As an alternative, Lenovo last week began to offer long-life batteries warranted to hold their runtime for 3 years, or about 1,000 charges.

Those matched HP, which last year introduced its Long-Life batteries, built by Boston Power Inc., that are also guaranteed to hold their charge for 3 years.

The tradeoff is that long-life Lithium-Ion batteries, while more durable, can't offer the same high capacity/runtime out of the box as the largest Lithium-Ion batteries.

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