About a decade or two ago, traditional laptops had only got accepted into mainstream life and users were only just beginning to see them as being capable of executing tasks that were hitherto reserved for desktops with large towers and humongous monitors.
Unfortunately, there was no immediate pressure on these relatively smaller personal computer units to sport batteries that were of any substantive grade or batteries that could last more than a couple of hours.
In arguments for laptop manufacturers, battery technology was still developing (it is still, but way better than what it was fifteen (15) to twenty (20) years ago). So, it wasn’t exactly (entirely) their fault.
Laptop and personal computer batteries generally lasted three (3) hours on average, away from the socket; with some few options serving up to five (5) or six (6) hours, nothing more. If one desired to have the battery of their laptop serve more than that, there were only three (3) known ways that could be achieved:
- Forging another battery into an extra battery slot on the laptop so that, in practice, the laptop now had two (2) batteries, one primary and another, secondary (this had the unintended desire of making the laptop extra bulky, defeating the very need why extra power was sought in the first place);
- Getting an extra battery and swapping when the primary one ran out of juice (this option was highly inconvenient as it meant more load and the challenge of swapping, sometimes right in the middle of a task) or
- Scouting for a battery ‘power back’, usually, from third-party manufacturers. This option worked like a modern power bank today for smartphones and the laptop usually was plugged in for extra power or connected to it when its juice was nearly out (this had the challenge of bulk that was hardly justified. The weight-to-power ratios of those ‘laptop power banks’ were truly one of the very worst I have seen in a very long time!)
Here we are: all the options for elongating laptop battery life had their challenges and were generally less ideal than simply having the primary battery do all the powerlifting. Now, about two (2) decades after, laptops are now easily boasting power north of twenty-four (24) hours of battery life (hello, Macbook Pro) and options that can easily serve for a whole workday are now simply the norm (not the exceptions).
However, there remains a challenge: Chromebooks, a later entrant into the market appear to still play catch up. This is largely so because of its essential and basic nature. With a super light processor and many other stripped-out benefits of modern computers, these newer units aren’t presenting themselves as battery monsters (like they ought to). That does not however mean that they are useless in this regard, though.
So, if you’re interested in the best Chromebook with the most exceptional battery life, which would that be?
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Photo by Kaboompics.com; via Pexels.
Which Chromebook Has The Best Battery Life?
The Chromebook with the best battery life is the HP x360 14a Chromebook. While there are various variants of this Chromebook, I have discovered that this exact configuration performs best, battery-life wise if you need to stay away from a wall socket for any extended amount of time.
This conclusion has been reached after personally taking a look at the major models from top manufacturers and comparing them with the reality of this Chromebook.
In my tests and research, the x360 14a repeatedly came out tops wherever battery life was concerned or used as a major yardstick. It was a thing of pleasure for me to see this happen again and again especially since I own one myself and completely forget that the Chromebook has a wall charger more times than I remember. I simply use the unit like that and if I need to use it away from any place away from my home office, I simply pick it up and move.
The above narration is still the case with me and the Chromebook, after almost two (2) years of daily use. The piece of tech is that good!
What Makes The x360 14a (The) Chromebook With The Best Battery Life?
If you’ve been a reader of this reviews website for any amount of time, you’ll understand something very fundamental that I do here: I love to know how things work and when that isn’t possible or practical, I, at least, want to know what is responsible for the issues at hand.
In the instant case, what is responsible for the badass battery life of the x360 Chromebook? In my opinion, here are the major issues:
1. A Display That Isn’t Very Bright
When I reviewed the HP x360 14a Chromebook sometime back, I mentioned this and also indicated that this formed an indispensable part of the cons of the Chromebook, overall. Personally, however (it is worth stating it clearly here), I didn’t have any challenges with this reality as I use the Chromebook majorly indoors and always have the display settings on the very least end of the slide. If you’re going to the using the unit outdoors most of the time, this might present an issue.
However, what was adjudged to be a challenge in that review, is actually one of the major enhancers of great battery life, when looked at holistically. The fact is, displays on computers and gadgets are responsible for a chunk of the battery life, and generally, the brighter the displays get, the faster the battery depletes. For most units, the display is singularly the most energy-intensive component!
Now, with a display that isn’t very bright and even when exposed to bright environments, won’t simply auto adjust unless you, the user, are aware and makes manual input, why won’t the battery life of such a unit be sterling?
There is always a pro in every con…this is a classic example.
2. A Low Power Consuming Processor
We have, in this present age and time, come to associate more power and brute ability with all things good. This is why you may generally prefer an SUV, though you are still single and may never have passengers in the second row and never even take down the third row for once!
This is also why you may also prefer a mansion (or, at least, a duplex) when all you need is a room and a spare one, should you have visitors (that may only come around once in two years).
The above illustrations tell an important story; one very important and pretty common with the human species: we are all in the race for bigger and ‘better’ things even when we’re not exactly sure how we’re going to get served by the big things that we desire or better put, how the big things we desire are going to serve us better than the smaller and more affordable options around.
With the HP x360 14a, this is one of the things you’re going to get completely wrong if you insist on thinking as it is posited above. The device is powered by a relatively modest processor, the Intel Pentium Silver N5000 processor. This in itself is nothing fancy: just a basic processor that gets the job done, especially on a Chromebook.
However, here’s the thing: this processor does not need fans for cooling nor does it need any bogus power requirements to keep powering your Chromebook. With just a total power demand of about 3-4 Watts that only peaks at 6 watts (per hour), this processor is not just one of the most energy-efficient processors on the market, it is simply the most efficient I have come across yet.
In comparison, a Chromebook running on the Intel Core i3 processor family will need about 65 Watts per hour to function normally. If ‘burst mode’ is entered by applications demanding more power, this is likely going to spike and that figure will go up in an instant. Other variants like the core i5 and above require even more power and it is so across manufacturers from AMD to Intel.
Do you see how less is sometimes more, depending on context? In the instant case, less also earns you very smart things in the process including an energy star certification 🙂
3. A Keyboard That Isn’t Backlit
In my initial review of this Chrome already linked to above, I clearly mentioned that the absence of a backlit keyboard on this super impressive and power-efficient device was a sad disadvantage that pitched many against it. That may have been my case (and reality too) if I was still a learner typist and was reliant on the illumination on the keyboard to punch in the characters I wanted to type.
Luckily, that ‘illumination’ wasn’t needed for me, and that too, is one of the cons that turns out a bad situation into a smart, beneficial one.
In the instant case, the lack of a backlit keyboard presents a unique opportunity to continue the power savings the processor and the display have already started. This takes the Chromebook to a height that is rare and completely unsurpassed in the market now, at least in the Chromebook world.
Recall that the twin of the display and the processor are the two most power-tasking or sucking realities of any computer. Put in a keyboard that lights up and a trinity is formed with the power saving (or guzzling) ticked ‘complete’.
Photo by Karsten Madsen via Pexels.
How To Squeeze Even More Power Out Of Any Chromebook
Great battery life on a Chromebook is the product of the inherent technology powering that Chromebook and the configurations, especially as the user deems fit. This article detailed the reality of the first part of this statement in the previous section. Now, let us take a good look at the second part. Can you squeeze more power out of any Chromebook if you already have one or are not willing to buy the HP x360 14a Chromebook?
Yes, you can squeeze additional power out of your existing Chromebook if you’re not interested in buying another one made from the factory to serve better in this regard.
1. Dim Your Display
The display of the Chromebook is one of the biggest ways battery juice leaves your battery and Chromebook. Unfortunately, many models today have what is known as an ‘ambient light sensing display’, a light-sensing display that adjusts itself to the brightness hitting it and adjusts accordingly.
This is a cool option to have and is quite convenient. However, when looked at from a pure battery-saving angle, it is a horrible thing to have in or around you, especially if you use your Chromebook more outdoors than you do indoors.
Simple: no matter how ‘smart’ this Ambient Light Sensor is, it always has a way of judging how your eyes perceive light and by default, is set to over-compensate rather than under-work or perform. This means that, the function will rather have your display at full blast at the slight sighting of some ambient light than bother with an incremental brightness reality.
The display sensor will serve you conveniently and will certainly see to it that you see clearly and whatever it is that you wish to do outdoors (or in a brightly lit room) with the device is achieved with as less fuss as possible.
However, it ends there. After the initial ‘celebration’, you’re certainly going to be asking for the position of a wall charger quicker than you or anyone else would have guessed.
Keep your display’s brightness or dimness manual and control it yourself. You’ll be shocked that the ambient light sensor on most Chromebooks (just like the comparable light sensor on a vehicle responsible for the automatic lights function), gets the basics right but fails, like most developing tech, on the fine details.
It is not for nothing that the dearly loved model, the HP x360 is without this sensor and returns an amazing battery life. Take a cue and keep your display adjustments manual.
2. Run Only The Apps/Tabs You Need
It is fun to run apps and keep tabs open and I speak firsthand, from a position of knowledge.
When I was new to computers and did not know the implication of this on my battery life, I hardly closed programs (Windows system then) and was into the unhealthy habit of leaving apps open as long as my memory could afford. In my own estimation then, this was ‘geeky’ behavior, and the more tabs, programs, or apps one kept running, the ‘geekier’ such a fellow was or looked, whichever happened to be the case at the moment.
Twenty years plus down the line, things have changed; my tabs are always closed and programs shut down once I have no need for them again. It doesn’t matter how anyone views me or my computer again. As a matter of fact, the name, ‘geek’ now detests me with a rare passion that I’ll yell at anyone who calls me that now (ironically, I know a thing or two about tech now that I had no idea about, two decades back).
What is the import of this personal story of mine? Simple: if you’re not using a tab at the moment or do not need a program, kill it. These open apps, programs, or tabs have an open demand for memory and this, in turn, is drawn from your battery.
The result? A battery life that doesn’t make you proud of it at all!
If your battery life must be impressive with a Chromebook, you must ensure that you kill whatever you’re not using. It is as simple as that!
3. Operate Your Device In A Cool Place
Batteries powering gadgets have come a long way; from the lowly batteries of yore (majorly lithium polymer) to the present lithium-ion powered units of today, these juice-holding reservoirs have greatly improved and today, can hold anything from the initial lowly 3-5 hours to an impressive 12-20 + solid hours. This is super impressive and clearly demonstrates a leap in terms of the tech behind batteries.
However, if there’s anything that hasn’t changed, it is the ability of the general battery to work better in colder/cooler temperatures and importantly, serve better in those conditions than those that are heated up.
Accordingly thus, if you’re interested in seeing your Chromebook hold up your charge and importantly, power you through the day, you must ensure that you keep its battery cool or in the alternative, work in areas or regions that are considerably colder/cooler only.
You could also plug in the Chromebook to the power source when you’re certain temperatures have dropped and only task the CPU with heavy tasks (like gaming) only in the early mornings and late at night when temperatures are suitable.
Again, as a general rule, if your Chromebook has air vents, make certain that you do not block these vents as doing so will certainly over-heat the unit. If your device doesn’t have these vents, then, your best bet is to make certain that you overall, work in a cooler environment and observe the other rules shared here, prior.
Often, it is quite a challenge to only want one thing in a Chromebook. We are humans and tend to want more than one thing at a time in anything that we choose. This is perfectly normal.
In this wise, in addition to the x360 HP being the best option, Chromebook-wise that you can get with the best battery life at the moment, the unit is also the best Chromebook for writers/authors; the best Chromebook for long typing and currently, the best budget Chromebook available commercially for under $400.
It is difficult to beat such a power combo.
Or, can you?