Transformer Prime: benefits of extremely long battery life

Transformer Prime: benefits of extremely long battery life

Summary: Battery life is the bane of the mobile professional's existence, and rightly so. Not only does using devices with good battery life make things easier, it can improve work in unexpected ways.


Mobile device users obsess over battery life as it is the one factor that can determine whether a gadget is proper for a given task. Who hasn't been in the position of frantically searching for a power outlet to get the laptop charging so work could be finished before it dies? The importance of having long battery life cannot be overestimated, and my recent test of devices with extremely good battery life has pointed out some unexpected benefits.

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Most laptops being sold today can get through a day of use, as long as the use is not continuous. Five or six hours is typical for ultraportable laptops, with some lasting a little longer. That battery life is not bad, but it causes the user to always be thinking about it during time away from a power outlet. Travelers have to be particularly aware of what the laptop battery gauge is showing at all times, to make sure it lasts long enough no matter what the day brings.

Long battery life was the primary push behind my test of using tablets for extended periods in place of a laptop. Most Android tablets and the iPad 2 I have tested get a good 10 - 12 hours of life out of a charge, and that is sufficient for most days so the approach to work can be adjusted in positive ways. The Transformer Prime with the laptop dock I am now testing takes that even further, with a solid 18 - 20 hours of continuous use between charges. This extremely long battery life has yielded unexpected advantages to the way I approach the work day.

Having real-world battery life that extended means no matter what happens during the day the battery is not going to run dry. That means I don't think about the battery at all, and that is liberating. My entire focus is on the work at hand, as it should be for maximum productivity. I am more likely to conk out before the battery of the Transformer Prime will.

Aside from the boost in productivity, the lack of concern for the battery life has other benefits. When working in my office full of power, I frequently collaborate via video chat with colleagues and friends in the industry. It is valuable to bounce ideas off coworkers, and to discuss hot topics of the day to get other perspectives.

When traveling or working on battery power with a laptop, I make a conscious decision to pass on such collaboration. Video chatting hits the laptop battery hard (these chats can easily last over an hour), and since I have to be thinking about getting through the day, it usually has me pass on the collaboration. That's not the case with the tablet/ keyboard combination; I don't give a thought about the toll on battery life such communication will cost. I just do it.

The liberation from concern about battery life means I work without compromise while working mobile. If I need to chat with a coworker, I do it without a thought. The same applies to any activity on the system that hits the battery harder than usual, such as copying lots of files. The other day I needed to move a bunch of images from my system to the cloud, and I just did it without concern. I realized later that had I been on my laptop with its shorter battery life, I would have postponed the copying to a time near a power outlet.

These examples are typical tasks that I can now do without consequence or concern. The same applies to the entire operating experience while mobile, and that is very liberating. My work is better due to the long battery life, and my approach to the work is without compromise. It sounds like mere common sense, but it wasn't until using the Transformer Prime with its superior battery life that I realized how the limited battery life of my "real" laptop affected my usage. It's not for everyone, but can provide unexpected benefits for some folks.

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Topics: Android, Google, Hardware, iPad, Mobility, Tablets

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  • It would be even better if...

    It would be even better if it could do that without the dock.
  • nice artice but it repeats itself

    so by the end it feels somewhat amateur.
  • I purchased an aux battery charger

    For my mobile needs. It can power/charge a tablet and a smartphone at the same time. It is a 9900 mHa battery pack with 2 USB outlets, a 5V 1A and a 5V 2A. It can easily fully charge a smartphone 4 times and a tablet 1.5 times or keep both running for a full long day. It was $50 and is small and easy to carry in a coat pocket, sleeve or bag/backpack. I never worry about battery life now that I have this. It truly is liberating to not have worries about battery life or sorting out what I can and cannot do throughout the day based on battery consumption. Another bonus is it will keep my smartphone charged for a long weekend of camping too.
  • Tru Dat!

    I can echo every one of the author's points. With a tablet, I do not even have to think about plugging in during the day. I've had laptops that delivered a real world 5 hours. That usually was plenty to get through a day, but not if I was in meetings. When travelling I was always concerned about plugging in whenever and wherever need be. As he describes, I postponed certain activities I knew to be battery hogs until plugged in.
    I just got my Transformer Prime a couple of weeks ago and have not been on an extensive trip yet. But my last tablet was the Samsung Tab 10.1 and I can tell you that with that tablet, I never worried about plugging in during the day. I would plug-in at night and then head out during the day without the charger! The Transformer Prime will prove to be even more stress free!
  • just one problem

    All this is of course nice, with just one caveat: when you get to the idea that you can run very long time on battery, you just forget to charge your device and.. run out of battery in the most unexpected time.

    Another alternative is to have an external battery pack. These are becoming more popular recently (as mobile devices start to require less power). Of course, you can forget to charge the external battery pack as well.. :)
    • Have ner forgot to charge

      That I can remember. I always plug in overnight or when at the office for extended times. Never had a problem yet. Maybe there are some that do, but not me.
  • Just A New Face

    The post PC era is non existence. Don't believe me, look around and see almost everyone trying to make a PC out of their tablets. All the docking stations, keyboards, and myriad components to make the tablets act just like a PC. Yep, just a new face; the PC will forever live!
    • We are in the morphing phase

      As tablet OS's and App's develop and quad core processors and LTE connectivity become common, you will see Tablets replacing or becoming more like PC's/Laptops. I have been using my Droid4 with my Lapdock 500 Pro for almost 4 weeks now. I can do 80% of what I do on it.

      I am excited about this transition period we are going through right now in the PC/Tablet/Smartphone market.
  • Great battery...just dont stray too far from the access point

    I had the prime for a month - great device - but returned due to wifi issues. Will wait and see what the ipad3 has before looking at the new upcoming prime (700)
  • Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....

    You're still ignorant of the fact that a netbook can do 8 hours on a charge and run circles around your setup for productivity and mobility. And unlike your slate, I can swap batteries and do a 15-hour day oblivious to where the nearest outlet is.

    Quit pushing the Post-PC argument James. It's getting real old real quick.
    • 8 is far from 20

      Not ignorant, although you are determined to make it clear that everyone must use a netbook or be called such.

      8 is far from 20 hours I am talking about. No 2 pound battery required. And I'm not pushing anything for anyone, which you seem to ignore.
      • Lifestyles of the narrow-minded???

        Pardon my criticism, but since when does mentioning an alternative make me that? You keep comparing slate+keyboard solutions to laptops. Moreover, you're making an argument for a solution that costs at minimum $650. Why shouldn't a $400 option not be worth consideration?

        If you're going to make comparisons and tell folks what's great, then don't ignore the other alternatives people can also choose from. Not highlighting the benefits of other devices leaves your argument full of holes and open to rebuttal. And this isn't the first time you've done so!
  • Post-iPad?

    Oh dear! James has finally ventured into the dark side and sampled the Transformer Prime. Forget about Post-PC, we are entering the Post-iPad stage now.
    Wait till he tries a Galaxy Note, his iphone will get left behind as well as he enters the Post-Tablet era.
    Is there any going back?
  • Excellent Article!

    Completely agree. I for one am of the opinion that Hybrid Tablets like the Prime will eventuall kill off the PC.