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Review: Haswell laptops deliver on long battery

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Posted August 23, 2013
Review: Haswell laptops deliver on long battery
A MacBook Air from Apple, bottom center, a Vaio Pro 13 from Sony, top left, an Aspire S7 from Acer, center, and an XPS 12 from Dell, right, are displayed for a photograph, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, in New York. Each notebooks has a microprocessors that belongs to a new family of Intel chips called Haswell. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
 

Just in time for the back-to-school season, new laptops with extended battery life are hitting store shelves.

What these laptops have in common are microprocessors that belong to a new family of Intel chips called Haswell. The chips consume less power than previous generations and promise a 50 percent boost in battery life for watching video. The improvements extend to word processing, Web surfing and other computing tasks as well.

Put another way, you can unplug your laptop in the morning and go a full day without a charge, with some breaks for meals, exercise and errands. The 13-inch (33-centimeter) MacBook Air, for instance, promises up to 12 hours of battery life. Three Windows machines I tried promise seven to nine hours. For students, that’s a full day of cutting classes—and more. For business travelers, that’s a cross-country flight including delays.

The catch: Slim, lightweight laptops with Haswell chips cost more than $1,000. Cheaper laptops will be heavier or come with older chips.

I reviewed Apple’s MacBook Air and Dell, Sony and Acer computers running Microsoft’s Windows 8. Samsung and other PC makers are just coming out with Haswell laptops, so you should expect even more choices by the holidays. The four I tested use solid-state flash drives, which keep laptops light but don’t have as much capacity as traditional storage. They also lack Ethernet ports for wired Internet connections and slots for DVDs. Expect to use Wi-Fi a lot, though USB ports are available to connect devices. Base models come with 128 gigabytes of storage. You can spend a few hundred dollars more for additional storage and faster processors.

Read more at: Phys.org

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