Netbook Battery Life Comparison

We've expanded our battery life testing on netbooks to include many scenarios, at least for this initial look. Since most netbooks don't include optical drives, we ripped our standard test DVD to a hard drive and copied those files over. Obviously there's a benefit to not powering a spinning DVD, but even without that advantage the netbooks provide much better battery life than higher performance laptops. Note also that battery results from the GIGABYTE M1022 are missing in several of the charts; at five or more hours (plus recharge time) per test, we'll be working on getting the remaining results for a couple more days.

Battery Life - Idle

Battery Life - Internet

Battery Life - Xvid Video

Battery Life - DVD Video

Battery Life - DivX Video

Relative Battery Life

Few laptops are able to come anywhere close to the same battery life using a moderately sized battery, and the ASUS 1005HA in our worst-case test (720p DivX playback) still provides 35% more battery life than the Gateway NV58 at idle. Besides DVD playback from the hard drive, we included battery life testing using HD DivX and SD Xvid formats. It's interesting to note that the Acer 751h essentially ties the 1005HA in the DivX test, while it trails in most of the other battery life tests by over 10%. Xvid playback is also closer at only 5%, so the GMA 500 hardware looks like it handles certain video playback scenarios better than the GMA 950.

The ASUS 1005HA by default ships with their Super Hybrid Engine software enabled and set to "Auto" performance. This results in a 12% underclock on battery power, improving battery life in the Internet test by 5.6%. Considering most people buying netbooks aren't ultra concerned with raw performance in the first place, the boost in battery life is a nice extra. If you prefer to run the CPU at stock performance, selecting the "High Performance" setting within the Super Hybrid Engine utility will allow you to do so. You can see the difference between the two settings on the Internet and Relative Battery Life charts above. We ran the remaining tests using the "Auto" setting.

Note that we calibrated all of the test laptops to run at 100 nits brightness (give or take about 5% as many laptops don't provide fine enough control to hit 100 nits exactly). Considering the ASUS 1005HA and the Gigabyte M1022 have virtually identical hardware, we were a little surprised that the battery life relative to battery capacity favored the ASUS 1005HA by 37% (and we'll recheck that score before the final review). Either the battery in the M1022 is flaky or ASUS has done a lot more work in fine-tuning the power saving features on the 1005HA. However, even at idle we didn't reach the advertised 10.5 hours of battery life; we could likely do so if we reduce the LCD brightness to its minimum level, but that's not how most people will use their netbooks.

Overall, despite the 10.5 hour claim being somewhat exaggerated, the 1005HA routinely manages over 6.5 hours of battery life in situations that are known for taxing laptops. You'll have enough time to watch three or four full-length movies without recharging, if that's what you're after. If you stick to less strenuous usage like surfing the web or basic office tasks, getting eight hours or more out of the 1005HA between charges is possible. And you get all that in a package that only weighs 2.8 pounds; that's not something you'll get from a regular laptop.

Netbook Performance Comparison Netbook LCD Quality
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  • jigglywiggly - Sunday, November 22, 2009 - link

    I just bought one about 1 week ago, and it's a great laptop. However with Windows 7 it runs like crap, it's sluggish. I put some nice Karmic koala(ubuntu 9.10) and it shines.

    Do note, I tried Debian first, except YOU NEED the 2.6.31 kernel, Debian is, 2.6.26, yes I could compile it, but what's the point of compiling my own "unstabler" kernel for a stable OS? It's pointless, so I just went with Ubuntu which was 9.10. Oh and Debian Squeeze comes soon anyway.

    It's way way way way faster in ubuntu, then I partioned it and installed xp professiona, which to my surprise was very fast as well. I thought Windows 7 would run the same, I was wrong, Windows XP still runs much better on really low end platforms.

    It's not sluggish at all. One thing I did change was the ram, 1 gig, meh, I switched it to two. Also note, it only has 1 ram slot.
    Reply
  • rgathright - Tuesday, September 29, 2009 - link

    The ASUS 1005HA only needs an NVIDIA ION graphics processor to make it the best netbook ever produced.

    I ran some benchmarks and give more detail in this review: http://bit.ly/44CHFm">http://bit.ly/44CHFm
    Reply
  • sillyfox - Tuesday, September 08, 2009 - link

    sharing for sharing
    http://www.hunt360.net/asus-eee-pc-1000-battery.ht...">http://www.hunt360.net/asus-eee-pc-1000-battery.ht...
    Reply
  • ProDigit - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    Dude,I get irritated reading this review!
    Theymention that it wasn't clear why HD flash and HDmovies showed difficulty playing back?
    It's the CPU. DivX,XviD and 480p H264 is accelerated enough by the GPU to be played back. 720p XVid and DivX should pose no problem neither, but the GPU has difficulty taking the task of decoding high bitrate h264 or 1080p video's.

    The GPU does not accelerate Flash at all. Flash is decoded fully by the CPU.
    The Atom CPU is a big bottleneck for a graphics processor in many games and high bitrate HD video's.
    This is simple to see because many core2duo laptops are equipped with a GMA950 too and can perform considerably better in some tasks.

    Videogames higher than 800x600 resolution, especially high detail ones, or with anti-aliasing on might also start to suffer from lack of GPU horsepower.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 04, 2009 - link

    You might try reading comprehension 101. I don't say it's not clear why they have problems but instead I state:

    "HD Hulu and YouTube videos are a different matter, with serious performance issues to the point where they are unwatchable. It's not clear if this is a limitation of the graphics chip, the Atom processor, or Adobe Flash -- or all of the above."

    It's not just the Atom CPU, as many people experience issues with HD Flash videos at full screen, even on high-end desktops. I'm inclined to go with "all of the above" as I think an Ion system will handle Flash better - hence it's not the CPU.

    Contrary to your statement, there are drivers and GPUs where Flash is accelerated so that this isn't a problem at all. An update to Flash could address this issue in the future, just as updates to various other codecs could help with H.264 decoding.

    I also provided an update indicating x264 playback with the CoreAVC codec works at up to 720p (with moderate bitrates), and your comments on gaming performance are already clearly illustrated by the graphs of 3DMark03/05 and my statement that, "If you're planning to try to run any 3D games on these netbooks, you will definitely want to stick with older titles."

    You might try to calm yourself before posting rather than getting irritated by one little statement.
    Reply
  • ProDigit - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    I hate these reviews where people are still 'in awe'of the fact that an Atom powered netbook should NOT be compared to a dualcore notebook. So much is obvious already for more than a year!
    Testing netbooks in 3D performance is nice, but it would have been better comparing netbooks vs netbooks; Atom 270 VS Atom 280...

    I am totally not impressed at all with comments like "whooo! look at the difference between an Atom powered netbook, how sluggish it performs to a Dual core!; Man, I did the find of the year!"
    ...
    Get real...
    Instead "Whoo" for the battery life, and how the 280 marginally outperforms the 270!
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, August 24, 2009 - link

    Thanks for the note. I tested with EeeCTL's "Ultrabright" setting and have added a comment on the LCD page. FWIW, I only measured about 250 nits (246 to be exact). Reply
  • heulenwolf - Friday, August 21, 2009 - link

    F11 is my friend on my 1005HAB from Best Buy. It has many of the HA's features at a lower price, the most notable difference being the shorter battery life. All the buttons and toolbars are still accessible if you mouse to the top of the page but they're not there when you don't need them. This works on IE, Firefox, and Chrome. Reply
  • Voldenuit - Friday, August 21, 2009 - link

    Do any of the netbooks tested have DXVA capable GPUs (and accompanying filters enabled)? How does GPU offloading influence battery life? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, August 21, 2009 - link

    I don't believe so... perhaps the GMA 4500 series can work with DXVA, but otherwise I'm pretty sure you need an ATI or NVIDIA GPU right now. I know I couldn't seem to get it to work on a laptop with GMA 4500MHD graphics. Reply

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