You will of course always need a power supply to go with your notebook
computer. However, the more long lasting your battery life is and the
more features your notebook has to enhance the battery life the better
off you’ll be.
As a side note, American Airlines recently announced their line
of new Boeing 737-800’s, replacing their MD-80’s. This is American
Airlines first new airplanes since 2001. You can see video of the planes here.
Why am I mentioning an airplane? Well what is a first for American
Airlines is that you’ll no longer need power adapters since these new
planes come with 110V AC power ports available to customers.
While news of 110 AC power outlets is good news, especially for very
long hauls, those of you with newer computers know that the battery
life on notebooks is getting better and better. My beloved computer of
about 3 years had an “extended” battery pack, but it could not last
much longer than one to two hours. I’m now using a Dell Latitude E6400,
on extended loan for review, and its extended battery life is over 4
With battery power this long, the need to ensure one has a power outlet is less of a concern.
It’s quite interesting the “little” things we do when we don’t have long battery life.
For example, I used to get on the train and scramble to find the
nearest outlet in case the train was delayed too long and I needed to
charge my battery and/or use the AC power, so I could keep working..
For flights that might last 8 – 10 hours, having AC power on the
plane is good, but carrying an extra long life battery or battery
“slice” means that you can compute your entire flight – no sleep and no airline movies.
The next time you’re in the market for a computer, have a look at
how long the battery lasts. If you can borrow a friends computer and
see how long the battery life lasts in the real world (not in a
vendor’s lab) that’s even better.
Keep in mind that battery life is also quite affected by the power
saving features embedded on the notebook, such as dimming the LCD when
its running on battery power and more frequently shutting off the
monitor when its not in use.