Posts Tagged ‘battery’

The most energizing gadget of 2011 – a review of the New Trent 11000 mAh battery pack

September 17, 2011
I love gadgets. Gadgets need battery power, and the most cutting-edge gadgets sometimes need a lot of it. As a heavy user of my Samsung Galaxy S II, I’ve often had to recharge my phone in the afternoon, particularly on days where I use it for tracking workouts, listening to music and shooting video.A power outlet isn’t always available, however. Previously, I’ve tried using a Philips 1500 mAh reserve battery unit, outputting 350 milliwatts. I’ve used it  to recharge my Nokia N82 and, later on, a HTC Desire. It worked OK with the N82, but barely delivered enough power to sustain the battery level on the HTC. Also, the total amount of power in practice equated to less than one full charge on the HTC.

I mostly stopped using the Philips device – just not worth it – but I’ve been on the lookout for a replacement. This is it!

NEW Trent 11000 mAh
The “NEW Trent” battery has a lousy name and isn’t exactly widely marketed, but has a claimed capacity of 11000 mAh (!!), good reviews on Amazon.co.uk and outputs 1000 miliwatts. In practice, I’ve found that it can charge my SGS II about 3 times – ie a real life capacity of somewhere around 1650 * 3 mAh. And it charges fast – about as fast as a wall charger!The Trent itself charges from a wall socket – unfortunately not via a USB interface – and takes about 5-6 hours to reach full capacity. You can see a rough estimate of the current battery level on the main on-button – it has 1-3 LEDs indicating the level. It is not very accurate – one it hits 1 LED left, you’d better recharge the unit.

Operation is easy – plug in a USB cable, press and hold the “on”-button for a second, and power is flowing!

I would have liked to see a more accurate battery level readout and a USB interface for charging the unit itself, but apart from that, I love this big little battery to bits. It’s always with me when I’m out and about, and has enabled me to video/snap photos/surf/whatever innumerable times when the phone battery itself has run dry. And thanks to the USB interface, it can charge plenty of different devices.

It’s worth noting that New Trent has released new models with two USB ports and different power levels (500/1000 mw), so doing some product research here is a good idea. I can vouch for the general concept as well as the brand, that’s for sure.

PS: The phone was out of juice when I needed to take the photo above – thankfully the New Trent was available ;)

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Macbook Aluminium makes funny clicking sound while apparently not charging

November 8, 2008

The title really says it all. My Macbook Alu had run out of battery and died; when I plugged it in, the light on the power plug did not ignite, and I thought nothing was happening until I noticed a steady low ticking sound emanting from the top left of the keyboard. I tried to google it, but didn’t find anything interesting (I have to admit I didn’t spend too much time researching, as it was via Opera Mini on my N82….).

After listening to the steady ticking for a few minutes, I unplugged and reconnected the power plug, which promptly lit up like it usually does, and I’m typing this on my Macbook. Funny.

I wonder if perhaps the ticking is the Macbook’s way of saying it is doing some low-level charging of the battery?

Make the battery of your 3G/HSDPA Nokia phone last longer by turning off 3G / HSDPA

April 20, 2008

DSC_7349
For a while, I’ve been annoyed by the rather mediocre battery life of my Nokia N82. I do use it quite a lot – especially for Opera Mini, Gmail and music playback – and I have to recharge it every night. Some evenings the phone even runs out of battery before I go to bed.

What to do?

You can turn down the brightness of your display, but that makes for a poor user experience. And shutting down applications that are running in the background is also a good idea. However, none of these made all that much difference to the battery life of my N82.

Then I tried switching off 3G / HSDPA. It turns out that – in my highly unscientific measurements conducted with Nokia’s Energy Profiler utility – the N82 draws 0.4 watts when running with EDGE, about 0.7 with 3G and 1.3 watts (!!) when in HSDPA mode. This is with the phone idling and no transfers going on. I suspect that transferring data over 3G and HSDPA is relatively more costly compared to EDGE as well.

As said – these were highly unscientific measurements, so I may be wrong, but “field tests” (ie. me using the phone) have shown that while I normally charge it every night, I can now use it and charge every other night.

In other words – if you want to make the battery last longer – you should definitely try switching off 3G / UMTS / HSDPA and see if you get similar results.

What’s the downside?

Of course, you lose the 384 kbits to 3 mbits of bandwidth 3G and HSDPA provides (and the video telephony 3G enables), and have to live with the ~ 200 kbits EDGE can deliver. For me, this is no big issue, since the apps I use on the go are not bandwidth intensive (Opera Mini and Gmail both use very little bandwidth) and I don’t use video telephony. If I do need more juice, I am normally in a WiFi zone – or I can switch 3G/HSDPA on manually.

You can try turning off 3G/HSDPA by hitting the menu -> Tools -> Settings -> Phone -> Network -> Network mode -> GSM. This might look a bit different on your phone, as I have translated this directly from the Norwegian user interface. Wait a few seconds, and you should get EDGE coverage (if EDGE is provided by your local services provider).

You can see what kind of network you are currently on in the top left corner on the standby screen – E for EDGE, 3G for 3G, and 3.5G for HSDPA.

Good luck, and do let me know what kind of effects switching off 3G/HSDPA had for your battery life!

PS: I can only conclude that Steve Jobs was not lying when he claimed they dropped 3G from the iPhone due to battery life concerns. Seems that was at least partly true.