Our lab-coated colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports are still testing various features of the iPhone 4S, so we don’t have their verdict on its battery life yet. But many customers online, including reader Bill, are already complaining that the battery drains much too quickly, and never fully charges to 100%.
When portable radios, cassette and CD players exploded onto the market, users began chewing through batteries like they were going out of style. But now, even though the use of personal electronic devices is at an all-time high, fewer devices use traditional batteries and companies like Duracell and Energizer are feeling the pinch.
If your laptop is saddled with a battery so poor that you have to constantly be plugged into an outlet, you’re missing out on all the benefits a portable computer can offer. There are steps you can take to make sure your batter lasts as long as possible before you need to replace it.
Here’s an interesting cross-promo. Reader Ally spotted a pack of Duracells at her lokcal Hannaford that came with a FREE glue stick. It wasn’t something that the store had shrinkwrapped together, but the glue stick was actually in the package itself. What’s the marketing strategy here? Maybe because they’re both supplies you put in your desk drawer. Maybe the glue makes the electrons stick together better. Inquiring minds want to know.
The necessary but easily interchangeable pieces of a laptop, such as the power cord and any removable batteries, usually aren’t covered under the laptop’s warranty. When those items wear out or break in the course of normal use, you’re expected to replace them. When the 1.5-year-old battery to Tommy’s 6-year-old Macbook Pro overheated and began to expand, Apple representatives were sympathetic, but unable to replace the battery since, well, batteries are only supposed to last for a year or so.
“Virus” and “tobacco” are not two words you usually think of in a positive light, but they could be the secret to making batteries last ten times as long.
Steven would like a functioning battery for his Lenovo Ideapad. The computer is under warranty: he bought it less than three months ago. He writes that every time he calls their customer service center for a replacement battery, they send the wrong one. After the second time, this is becoming sort of tiresome.
Darren tells Consumerist that the vendor that sold him a failing MacBook Pro battery through the Amazon Marketplace has disappeared. Since the replacement battery wasn’t made by Apple, he’d like to find out what kind of warranty the battery might have and seek a replacement. Amazon is no help, and the company’s domain name is no longer registered, so e-mails bounce back. What should he do?
Amazon chose the worst possible packaging to send this card of watch batteries to catastrophegirl. Well, that’s not true: they could have used an even bigger box and included more air packs. See, she tells Consumerist that the air packs arrived perfectly, but the watch batteries slid between the box flaps and hid.
If you’ve ever spent hours with a new gadget, inserting and removing batteries until you finally get it just right, you may appreciate Microsoft’s latest invention. Instaload is a technology designed for battery compartments that includes both positive and negative contacts at both ends. Yes, we know that sounds like a recipe for a world-ending cataclysm, but somehow Microsoft manages to make to make it work with any pyrotechnics.
Dana is annoyed that the Fisher Price toy she bought for her baby promised her that batteries were included. They were in the box all right, but they were dead. In fact the manual Fisher Price enclosed with the toy suggests you immediately replace the included batteries with new ones.
If you’re using the Energizer Duo battery charger, and have connected it to your PC to check the charge levels of the batteries, you may have inadvertently exposed yourself to a program that could give hackers access to your computer. The charger has been discontinued, and Energizer recommends removing the software along with the file that enables the backdoor.
60 Minutes has reported on a new fuel cell product called a Bloom Box, a big metal box containing a small stack of ceramic disks and “ink” that can supposedly provide enough power to run a Starbucks. The big questions are: Does it work? And will it ever help the average homeowner save on energy costs? Google has supposedly been using four of them to power one of its data centers for the past 18 months, so yes to the first question. As for home use, a Bloom Box currently costs over $700,000, so no. Inventor K.R. Sridhar optimistically says he wants to get the price to under $3,000 in the next 5 to 10 years, though. Watch the 60 Minute segment below.
Our science-obsessed cousins over at Consumer Reports decided to test some AA batteries to see which ones were the best. The results? Generic CVS batteries suck! They took the fewest amount of pictures in CR’s digital cameras before giving out.
Salman spotted this bizarre battery giveaway when he was shopping at his Chicago CVS:
The big benefit of rechargeable batteries, aside from possibly being more ecological, is they’re supposed to save you money in the long run. However, blogger Len Penzo argues that for some devices, you’ll spend more money if you go the rechargeable route.
Energizer responded to Are Energizer Rechargeable “D” Batteries “AAs” In Disguise? by explaining why D size rechargeable batteries are made the way they are: