Saturday, July 23, 2005

On the Other Hand, I am Slightly Worried that it is Going to Explode

I got a new toy this week and I simply must share my experience.

This month, I had to get a laptop for law school (which starts in 30 days). I think that it's an exciting time to buy a computer, because the feature set of lower end machines really take care of all the computing needs of your typical user. Spending more than $2,000 on a laptop or $1,000 on a desktop machine is just overdoing it.

I grabbed a Dell Latitude D610 — a nice machine to be sure, but nothing special. However, there is one feature that I had the machine come with that I highly recommend. I maxxed out the batteries.

Instead of the default 4-cell battery, I ordered it with the 6-cell battery. Additionally (and more importantly), I ordered an auxiliary 6-cell battery (not that expensive) that sits in the drive bay during the 99.9% of the time that I'm not using a DVD or CD. The computer's power management system almost completely drains the auxiliary battery first before turning to the primary battery.

The screenshot below reflects how much juice is left in this thing after I'd been running it off batteries for 2 hours, engaged in fairly mundane computer activities.

I just love this. No more stalking tables in the coffee house, waiting for the chair nearest the wallplug. No more feeling unable to use my computer on an airplane, knowing that the battery life would fail somewhere over the Midwest.

One minor drawback: Don't think that this feature will make it easier to get through a DVD while running on battery power. The auxiliary battery occupies the DVD bay, and the system doesn't come with any means of using the DVD drive externally.

1 comment:

Andy said...

One week into law school and I'm elated with this machine.

In my larger classes, they jam us in pretty tightly. For me to fit both my case book and my laptop on my desk, I have to set one or the other atop the outlet panel.

If I had to plug my laptop in, I'd have to scrunch my workspace up by a few inches, necessitating that my book either sit partially atop my laptop or on my lap.

Lastly, I find it a point of pride to have a utilitarian laptop. As my wife has pointed out, this thing is the Honda Civic EX of laptops — looking at it just says, "utility."