Apple bows to mounting pressure, offers $29 battery replacements to regain trust

A week after it was first revealed Apple was slowing down older iPhones, ostensibly to stabilize performance, the company has succumbed to mounting pressure and, as an apparent gesture of goodwill, is offering owners of an iPhone 6 and later models a battery replacement for $29 — a limited-time $50 discount.

You are likely familiar with the rumor that Apple throttles older iPhones in an effort to make users resort to buying new devices. Of course, Apple maintains that’s not the case and it offered a statement regarding why iPhones may struggle as they get older.

Apple confirmed it slowed down older iPhones in an effort to better handle the power output that aging batteries can offer. Some users were upset. So much, in fact, that several lawsuits have been filed against the company.

“Defendant breached the implied contracts it made with Plaintiffs and Class Members by purposefully slowing down older iPhone models when new models come out and by failing to properly disclose that at the time the parties entered into an agreement,” reads a lawsuit filed by Wilshire Law Firm on behalf of Stefan Bogdanovich and Dakota Speas. The pair are seeking both California and nationwide class action status for their suit, according to a report from TMZ.

Apple Insider has reported that attorneys on behalf of Keaton Harvey have filed another suit against Apple. The class-action suit alleges that the company’s decision to slow down old iPhones “allowed Apple to conceal the true nature and scope of the battery defect and to avoid expending time, money, and effort on correcting it.”

The suit requests that Apple notify owners about changes to the OS, repair the flaws in the software that led to the throttling, and reimburse those who bought affected iPhones.

In light of the suits, on Thursday, December 28, Apple released an apology for the confusion surrounding battery and performance issues. In its apology, the company stated “we have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.”

Apple also promised to release a software update in 2018 that will allow users to better monitor battery performance and health on their devices. Additionally, it stated it will reduce the price of battery replacement on all iPhone 6 phones and later to $29 for the next year.

Recent throttling accusations first appeared a couple of weeks ago, when a Redditor shared Geekbench results take right before and right after the battery in an iPhone 6S was replaced. According to the Redditor, who goes by the name TeckFire, the iPhone performed as much as 20 percent better after the battery replacement.

After the Reddit post, John Poole, who founded Primate Labs, offered a more visualized look at the link between battery health and iPhone performance. Benchmarking tests were performed on iOS 10.2.0 and 10.2.1, and show some pretty serious differences in performance. Apple introduced an update in iOS 10.2.1 aimed at fixing an issue where some iPhone 6S models shut down, thanks to uneven power delivery from older batteries in the phones. That power management feature is what was causing the performance dips on some iPhone models.

According to Apple, there is a good reason for the performance dip.

“Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge, or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components,” Apple said in a statement to TechCrunch.

In other words, when an iPhone’s battery gets older, it becomes less capable of delivering enough power to the processor during a peak of performance, and when that happens it has to spread out the power requests over a few processor cycles. The result of that is a dip in performance.

That’s what is triggered when benchmarks are run — they look like performance peaks and valleys to an operating system, and as such on older batteries the power requests will be spread out. Upgrade to a new battery, and power will be delivered much more effectively.

It’s not all that surprising. As a battery ages, it stops working as well. That has always been the case and likely always will be. That doesn’t mean that the average performance of a device is being affected, nor does it mean that Apple is throttling your phone to make you upgrade. OF course, Apple could have been a little more transparent — a simple notification telling users that their battery is getting old and that they may see a performance dip because of it would go a long way. That lack of notification may be a serious point of contention when and if the new lawsuit ever gains ground.

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Maintain Lithium Battery

Lithium batteries are presently the most commonly used energy storage devices on mobile phones, laptops, digital cameras and other electric devices. Learning how to maintain lithium batteries can not only prolong battery lifetime but also protect your device from potential damage.

Here attached the steps for your reference.

1.Use appropriate chargers. Many people take great care with their electronic gadgets, but often neglect the consequences of bad chargers on their lithium ion batteries. When choosing a charger, the original charger is the best choice. If that’s unavailable, a high quality charger that has an overcharge protection function, or a brand name charger will do. A low quality battery charger can lead to shorter run times, premature battery failure, or even fire or explosion.

2.Avoid frequently over charging. Over charging with a low quality charger may let the battery’s interior rise to a high temperature, which is bad for the lithium ion battery and charger. Thus, simply fully charging is good enough – overcharging will make your lithium battery into a little bomb if overcharge protection function is missing.

3.Avoid touching metal contacts. All batteries’ contacts need to be kept clean for best performance. When carrying batteries around, do not let the contacts touch metal objects such as keys; this could cause a short circuit, damaging the battery or potentially resulting in a fire or an explosion.

4.Avoid using often in high or low temperature environments. Lithium ion batteries have optimal working and storage temperatures. If they’re continually used in extreme temperature environments, this will negatively affect battery use time and useful cycles.

5.Avoid long periods without using or recharging. If batteries will be left unused for 3 months or more, partially recharge them, then store the device to prevent battery damage. You may need to take the device out of storage and charge again after a few months.

6.Avoid using lithium ion batteries which are hot after being fully charged. Temperatures can be very high when batteries are freshly recharged. If you use them immediately, the electronic gadget’s internal temperature will rise, which may negatively affect the device’s electronic components.

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Earphones Vs. Earbuds?

What’s the Difference Between These In-ear Audio Devices?

Although companies like to stretch these definitions to fit their marketing needs, the difference between earphones and earbuds essentially boils down to this: earphones (also called in-ear headphones or in-ears) are inserted into the ear canal, while earbuds rest outside the ear canal.


Earbuds usually do not have cushions, although they can. They are meant to be held in place by the concha ridge at the center of your outer ear, rather than sitting inside the ear canal.

They are often one-size-fits-all, which may not be comfortable to wear. Depending on the shape of your ear ridges, they may not fit securely and may fall out frequently. That is annoying, especially if you are wearing them for sports and exercise. Some have wings or loops to tuck under the ridges of the ear to help keep them in place.

Earbuds allow in ambient noise so you can hear what is going on around you. You don’t feel sealed off from your environment. That provides a small measure of safety for outdoor exercise such as running or walking while wearing earbuds.

Earbuds have generally not had the same performance as high-end headphones, often lacking bass and sounding tinny.  If you’re buying ear buds, the good news is they are often less expensive than earphones and in-ear headphones. If you want something for the gym that you don’t care if you step on them on the treadmill, or if you need the thirty-umpth pair for your teenager, ear buds are your friends.

Earphones – In-ears – In-ear Headphones

In-ears often feature different sizes and types of ear cushions to achieve the most comfortable fit possible. Examples of cushions include memory foam, rubber, and silicone. Some are shaped to lock into the concha and have a protrusion that extends further into the ear canal.

As with earbuds, you may find that they fall out if the fit is not snug enough, and they may not be comfortable if the fit is too tight. The kind that is designed to lock into your concha may be more secure, but you may also be trading off some comfort. Some high-end earphones are custom fitted to your ear with an ear mold done by an audiologist.

The wires may extend straight down, or they may be designed to go up and over the ear, or swivel for either configuration.

Don’t let their small sizes fool you — earphones can get into the extremely high end of the price and performance spectrum.

Wireless Earbuds and Earphones

Wireless versions of earbuds and in-ears often have a larger earpiece to accommodate the Bluetooth mechanism and controls, or have them on a thicker behind-the-neck cord. This adds additional bulk and weight. Another factor with wireless audio devices is that they are powered and need to be recharged after a few hours of use. With the iPhone 7 eliminating the audio jack port, many more designs will enter the marketplace for wireless earbuds and in-ears.

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How to Extend Your Laptop’s Battery Life

Still remember the last time the last drop of power of the original battery? You hate the battery for it almost ruined your most important presentation to your clients. But by following certain  practices, you will change your affections towards your moving energy friend. Here’s how.

The fewer you drain it, the longer the battery last

Usually, laptop batteries are able to handle around 500 full charge cycles, which means, each charge cycle decreases a battery’s capacity from its design specifications.

Your laptops like “new mode”

You can start saving your battery by changing the power settings corner of your laptop.

It would be better, If your laptops offer the function of “eco mode” which may adjusts the way power automatically to conserve battery energy. And, shifting to the Hibernation mode once you leave for a moment is really a good habit for laptop battery life.

Less running app, more energy

To save even more power, take a tour of your apps and quit any that are running in the background and slowly eating into your battery life. No matter your computers are in Windows or macOS , you can what apps are using the most power by resetting the energy section. Both Microsoft and Apple offer you the instruction in video.

Besides, you can also reduce the amount of power by shutting off Wi-Fi or Bluetooth when you’re absent, turning off optional features such as keyboard backlighting.

Half charging for laying up

Though battery life is longer than before, it does not mean that the energy will be always waiting for you for a long time ignorance. So if you have the plan to store your laptop for an time without using it, then charging it to 50 percent before putting it away will be better.

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Clean Headphones

Dirty headphones can be a pain for many. If your headphones are dirty, this can result in muffled sounds and can expose your ears to bacteria. Most headphones can be cleaned with either hydrogen peroxide or dish soap and water. If your headphones have detachable tips, remove them and clean them separately.

  1. Using Hydrogen Peroxide

Some headphones have clear tips covering the ends of the buds. If there are clear tips on your headphones, remove them before cleaning your headphones. Wipe them down with a soft cloth with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide and then set them aside to dry. Dislodge any obvious debris. Get a soft cloth mildly damp with hydrogen peroxide. Rub down the mesh screens of the earbuds. Make sure to remove any earwax or obvious dirt and debris using your soft cloth. After applying the hydrogen peroxide set your earbuds aside. Allow the hydrogen peroxide to soak into your earbuds for about five minute. This will help soften any lingering ear wax, dirt, and debris. Use a soft bristled toothbrush. Gently scrub down your earbuds, focusing on the mesh screen in particular. Scrub down the buds so you remove any wax or dirt blocking the holes in your earbuds. Gently shake out the earbuds to remove any obvious water. From there, dab them dry further with a paper towel. Set them aside if they’re still wet to let them dry completely. If you removed the tips of your headphones earlier in the process, put them back in place once everything is dry. Your headphones should now be clean and ready to use.

  1. Cleaning with Soapy Water

If your headphones have removable tips remove them before you begin the cleaning process. Rub them down with a soft cloth dampened with warm water. Then, set them aside to dry. Use a very small amount of dishwashing detergent on a wet soft cloth. After adding the detergent, wring the rag out thoroughly over the sink. It should be just barely damp, and only contain a small amount of soap, when you apply it to your headphones. Wipe down your headphones with your rag. Focus particularly on the mesh screens, making sure to remove any dirt and debris that’s blocking the holes in the headphones. Take a new cloth and get it damp with clean water. Remember to wring it out so it’s just barely damp before applying it to your headphones. Wipe down your headphones to remove any soap residue.Set your headphones aside until they’re completely dry. When everything is dry to the touch, put the caps back on your headphones. You can now use your headphones again.


If you don’t clean them and they become coated in wax, you won’t be able to hear out of them, just like you can’t hear well out of your ears when they are clogged.

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Laptop Display and Graphics Guide

How to Choose the Proper Display and Graphics for a Laptop

When looking at the video for a laptop there are four items to look over: screen size, resolution, screen type and graphics processor. For most people, only the screen size and resolution are all that will really matter. The graphics processor really only tends to make a difference for those looking to possibly do some mobile gaming or high-definition video but they can be used for more than that.

Pretty much all laptops use some form of backlit active matrix display to allow for bright fast displays capable of video playback.

Screen Size

Laptop screens have a wide range of sizes depending upon the type of laptop system that you are looking at. Larger screens provide an easier to view screen such as those for desktop replacements. Ultraportables tend to have smaller screens allowing for a reduced size and increased portability. Almost all systems now offer a wide aspect ratio screen either for a more cinematic display or to reduce the size of the screen in the depth dimension for an overall smaller system size.

All screens sizes are given in a diagonal measurement. This is the measurement from the lower screen corner to the opposite upper corner of the screen. This will typically be the actually visible display area. Here is a chart of the average screen sizes for different style laptops:

  • Ultraportable: 13.3″ or Less
  • Thin and Light: 14″ to 16″
  • Desktop Replacement: 17″ to 19″
  • Luggables: 20″ and Higher


Screen resolution or native resolution is the number of pixels on the display listed in the number across the screen by the number down the screen. Laptop displays look best when the graphics are run at this native resolution.

While it is possible to run at a lower resolution, doing so creates an extrapolated display. An extrapolated display tends to cause reduced image clarity as the system has to use multiple pixels to try and display how a single pixel would normally appear.

Higher native resolutions allow for a greater detail in the image and increased work space on the display. The drawback to high resolution displays is that fonts tend to be smaller and can be more difficult to read without font scaling. This can be a particular drawback for people who have poor eyesight. It can be compensated by changing the font size in the operating system, but this may have unintended results in some programs. Windows has this problem in particular with the latest high resolution displays and desktop mode applications. Below is a chart of the various video acronyms that refer to resolutions:

  • WXGA: 1366×768 or 1280×800
  • SXGA: 1280×1024
  • SXGA+: 1400×1050
  • WXGA+: 1440×900
  • WSXGA+: 1600×900 or 1680×1050
  • UXGA: 1600×1200
  • WUXGA: 1920×1080 or 1920×1200
  • WQHD: 2560×1440
  • WQXGA: 2560×1600
  • WQXGA+: 2880×1800
  • WQSXGA+: 3800×1800
  • UHD: 3840×2160 or 4096×2160

Screen Type

While the screen size and resolution are the primary features that will be mentioned by manufacturers and retailers, the screen type can also make a huge difference in how the video performs.

By type I am referring to what technology is used for the LCD panel and the coating that is used over the screen.

There are two basic technologies that are used in LCD panels for laptops right now. They are TN and IPS. TN panels are the most common as they are the least expensive and also tend to offer faster refresh rates. They do have disadvantages including narrow viewing angles and colors. Now, the viewing angles impact how well the screen color and brightness looks the further off center you viewing the panel at. Color refers to the color gamut or total number of colors that the screen can display.

TN panels offer less overall color but this typically only matters for graphics designers. For those wanting higher color and viewing angles, IPS does both of these better but they tend to cost more and have slower refresh rates and are not as suited for gaming or fast video.

IGZO is a term that is being mentioned more often regarding flat panel displays. This is a new chemical composition for building displays that is replacing the traditional silica substrate. The primary benefits of the technology is to allow for thinner display panels with lower power consumption. This will eventually be a major benefit for portable computing especially as a way to combat the extra power consumption that comes with higher resolution displays. The problem is this technology is very expensive right now so not very common.

OLED is another technology that is starting to show up in some laptops. It has been used for high end mobile devices like smart phones for some time. The primary difference between OLED and LCD technologies is the fact that there is no backlight on them. Instead, the pixels themselves generated the light from the display. This gives them better overall contrast ratios and better color.

Touchscreens are becoming a major featuring in many Windows based laptops thanks to the new Windows interface design based around touch. It should be noted that this can easily replace the trackpad for many people as they navigate the operating system. There are a couple downsides to touchscreens through as they generally add to the cost of a laptop and also draw more power meaning that they have less running time on batteries than a non-touchscreen version.

Those laptops that do have touchscreens might come with a display that has the ability to be folded over or spun around to also provide a tablet experience. These were often referred to as convertible or hybrid laptops. Another term for them now thanks to Intel’s marketing is 2-in-1. The important thing to consider with these types of systems is the ease of use in the tablet mode as based on the screen size. Often, the smallest screens such as 11-inch work best for these designs but some companies make them up to 15-inches which are frankly difficult to hold and use.

The majority of consumer laptops tend to use glossy coatings over the LCD panels. This offers a greater level of color and brightness to come through to the viewer. The downside is that they are more difficult to use in certain light such as outdoors without producing a large amount of glare. They do look great in home environments where it is easier to control glare. Pretty much every display panel that features touchscreen uses a form of glossy coating. This is because the hardended glass coatings are better at combating fingerprints plus they are much easier to clean.

While most consumer laptops feature glossy coatings, corporate style laptops generally feature anti-glare or matte coatings. They help reduce the amount of external light from reflecting on the screen making them much better for office lighting or outdoors. The downside is that the contrast and brightness tend to be a bit more muted on these displays.

So, why is a glossy or matte display important to consider? Basically think of common areas where you will use a laptop. If they might produce a lot of glare, you should opt for something with an anti-glare coating if possible or the laptop should have very high brightness.

Graphics Processor

In the past, graphics processors have not been much of an issue for consumer laptops. The majority of users were not doing much graphically that required 3D graphics or accelerated video. This has changed as more and more people use their laptops as their exclusive machine. Recent advancements in integrated graphics have made it less necessary to have a dedicated graphics processor but they can still be beneficial. The primary reasons for having a dedicated graphics processor is either for 3D graphics (gaming or multimedia) and accelerating non-gaming applications such as Photoshop. On the flip side, integrated graphics can also offer improved performance such as Intel’s HD Graphics that support Quick Sync Video for accelerated media encoding.

The two major suppliers of dedicated graphics processors for laptops are AMD (formerly ATI) and NVIDIA. The following chart lists the current crop of graphics processors for laptop PCs from the two companies. They are listed in the approximate order of estimated performance from highest to lowest. If you’re looking to buy a gaming laptop it is important to know that they should have at least a minimum of 1GB of dedicated graphics memory but preferably higher. (Note that this list has been shortened to just the latest versions of the graphics processors plus one previous generation models.)

  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080M
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070M
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
  • AMD Radeon R9 M395X
  • AMD Radeon R9 M485X
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
  • AMD Radeon R9 M390X
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060M
  • AMD Radeon R9 M385X
  • AMD Radeon R8 M470X
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
  • AMD Radeon R9 M380
  • AMD Radeon R9 M470
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
  • AMD Radeon R9 M375
  • AMD Radeon R9 M365X
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
  • AMD Radeon R7 M360
  • NVIDIA GeForce 940M
  • AMD Radeon R7 M340
  • NVIDIA GeForce 930M
  • NVIDIA GeForce 920M
  • AMD Radeon R5 M330
  • AMD Radeon R5 M320
  • AMD Radeon R5 M315

In addition to these processors, AMD and NVIDIA both have technologies that can allow certain graphics processors to run in pairs for additional performance. AMD’s technology is referred to as CrossFire while NVIDIA’s is SLI. While the performance is increased, battery life for such laptops is greatly reduced due to the extra power consumption.

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Refurbished Desktop and Laptop Computers

Sometimes offers for desktop and laptop computers seem to be priced too low to be real. In the description of these products you might find the term refurbished. Both manufacturers and retailers may be offering these systems below what a normal PC costs, but what is a refurbished product and are they safe to buy?

Refurbished computers typically fall into one of two categories. The first type have failed a quality control check during manufacturing.

Rather than simply disposing of these systems, the manufacturer will rebuild it to pass quality control but sell it at a discounted price. The other type is a rebuilt system from a customer return likely due to a component failure.

Now the refurbishment of the product may be done by the manufacturer or a third party. Manufacturers rebuild the system using the same parts used in the new PCs. A third party that rebuilds the machine may use alternate parts to get it up and running. These alternate parts may change the system from its original design. This makes it important that the consumer read the specifications of the refurbished system and compare them to the standard specs for the product.

Another type of product that consumers will find discounted is an open box product. These differ from a refurbished product as it has not been rebuilt. It is simply a product that was returned by a customer but it has not been tested.

Consumers should be very careful when purchasing any open box products.


Cost is the primary reason people purchase refurbished desktops and laptops. They are often priced below the average computer system currently sold. Of course the amount of discount is only really relevant if you happen to be looking at the same exact product.

Most refurbished PCs available will typically be older products that are being compared to the original suggested retail prices for the product when it was first released. As a result, the deals may not always be the best.

When pricing a refurbished computer, it is important to note if the system is still available for sale new. If it is, this makes the price comparison very easy to determine. PCs such as this generally can be found for modest discounts of between 10 and 25% off the retail prices. As long as they have similar warranties to the new products these can be an excellent way to get a system for below retail.

The problem comes from older systems that are no longer sold. Consumers are often tricked into paying for a system that looks like a good deal but is not. This is where the specifications become extremely important. With those in hand, try to find a comparable brand new system. If one is available, then the same cost analysis of 10 to 25% still holds. If a comparable system is not available, then look for an equally priced new system and see what you get. Often times consumers in this case will find that for the same price they can get a better, newer laptop or desktop.


The key to any refurbished computer system is the warranty. These are products that typically were returned or rejected due to a defect. While that defect may have been corrected and no further problems may develop you want to make sure that some coverage is included for potential faults. The problem is that warranties are typically modified for refurbished products.

First and foremost, the warranty should be a manufacturer one. If the warranty is not provided by the manufacturer it should raise a red flag for consumers. A manufacturer warranty will guarantee that the system will be repaired to the original specifications with manufacturer parts or certified replacements can be used with the system.

Third party warranties can cause major problems as replacements parts may not be guaranteed and it may take longer for the system to be repaired.

The next thing to look at is the length of the warranty. It should provide the same length as if it was purchased new. If the manufacturer is not offering the same coverage consumers should once again beware. The lower cost of the system may be the result of them not offering to support the product.

Finally, be wary of extended warranties. If an optional warranty is offered for purchase with the system, it should be a manufacturer extended warranty and not one through a third party. Also be wary of the cost for extended warranties. If the cost of the extended warranties makes the system cost more than buying it new, avoid the purchase.

Return Policies

As with any product, you may get the refurbished computer and find that it does not meet your needs or has issues. Because of the nature of refurbished systems, you want to be very careful of the return and exchange policies offered by the seller. Most retailers tend to have more restrictive policies regarding refurbished machines and they may be sold as it which means you have no recourse for returning the product. Because of this, always read them carefully before making a purchase. Manufacturer refurbs often have been options than third party sellers.


Refurbished laptops and desktops are one way consumers can find a good deal, but they have to be much more informed before the purchase.

The key is to ask several key questions to know if it is really a good and safe deal:

  • Ÿ Is it sold by the manufacturer or a retailer?
  • Ÿ What is the price relative to the same PC new?
  • Ÿ Is the system comparable to an equivalent priced new PC?
  • Ÿ What type of warranty comes with the PC?
  • Ÿ Who will handle warranty work?
  • Ÿ Is there the option for a return?

If all of these can be answered satisfactorily, then consumers can generally feel secure in the purchase of a refurbished PC.

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How to Know When It’s Time to Replace Your Laptop’s Battery

No matter how well you treat your laptop’s battery, it will eventually die. If you’re lucky, it will be time to replace your laptop by the time its battery dies. If you’re not, you’ll need to replace the battery.

Battery death can seem sudden, but it doesn’t have to. Windows will warn you when your battery reaches extremely low capacity levels, but you can also keep your own tabs on its capacity.

Windows Will Warn You

Windows doesn’t normally keep you up-to-date with your battery’s capacity level. As you use it and it weakens, you’ll just notice that your laptop doesn’t seem to last as long on battery.

Eventually, when your battery reaches a low enough capacity level, Windows will warn you. You’ll see a red X appear on the standard battery icon in your system tray and, when you click it, Windows will inform you that you should “consider replacing your battery.” Windows also says that your computer might shut down suddenly because there’s a problem with your battery — in other words, your battery can’t hold enough of a charge to power your laptop for long when it’s not connected to an outlet.

Note that this warning was added in Windows 7, so you won’t see it if you’re using Windows Vista or XP.

How to Check Your Laptop’s Battery Capacity

If you’re curious just how far your laptop’s battery capacity has declined, you can use a third-party tool to view it. NirSoft’s free BatteryInfoView does this well, displaying the battery’s approximate wear level, the capacity it was designed to have, and the capacity it currently has.

Calibrating Your Battery

The information above may not be completely accurate if your battery requires calibration. For example, we had a battery that reported it was almost dead. Windows warned us that it was time to replace the battery and the battery appeared to be at 27.7% wear level according to its reported capacity.

After we calibrated the battery, Windows stopped warning us and the battery’s reported capacity went back up to 70.8%. The battery didn’t actually gain any additional charge, but the calibration helped the battery’s sensor actually detect how much capacity was in the battery. If Windows says it’s time to replace your battery, be sure to calibrate it first before checking its actual wear level. If you don’t, you may replace a battery that’s still in good enough shape. That would just be a waste of money.

Why Your Laptop’s Battery Capacity Declines

Laptop batteries decline due to a number of factors. Heat, usage, age — all of these things are bad for batteries. Batteries will slowly die no matter what — even if you put your battery in a closet and never touched it, it would slowly lose capacity due to age. However, if you never use your battery — say you use your laptop at your desk most of the time and it gets rather hot, which is bad for the battery — removing the battery can certainly help prolong its life.

Replacing Your Battery

If your laptop has a user-serviceable battery — that is, one you can remove on your own — you can replace your battery fairly easily. If your laptop doesn’t have a user-serviceable battery, you’ll need to contact the laptop’s manufacturer so they can crack your laptop open and change its battery for you.

Assuming you have a user-serviceable battery, you can order a replacement battery for your laptop model online. Don’t just head to eBay and buy the cheapest third-party batteries available — buy official batteries from a reputable company. Aftermarket batteries are often built on the cheap, with cut corners and insufficient testing. They can be dangerous — a cheap, counterfeit, and improperly designed battery could literally go up in flames.

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Make Your Battery Last Longer

Mobile phones come with lithium batteries which require some maintenance as long as they are used. Once you know how, you can optimize your phone’s battery life fairly easily.

1.Turn the phone off. Only do this if it’s going to be for several hours; turning a phone on/off actually uses a massive amount of power itself. This will probably be the most effective and simple way of conserving your battery’s power. Why? This will help conserve energy and also charge your phone. If you don’t plan on answering the phone while you’re sleeping or after business hours, just turn it off.

2.Stop searching for a signal. When you are in an area with poor or no signal, your phone will constantly look for a better connection, and will use up all your power doing so. This is easily understood if you have ever forgotten to turn off your phone on a flight. The best way to ensure longer battery life is to make sure you have a great signal where you use your phone. If you don’t have a perfect signal, get a cell phone repeater which will amplify the signal to provide near perfect reception anywhere or simply turn on flight mode.

3.Do not follow the method of full charge and full discharge. Avoid letting your cell phone’s battery run all the way down. Lithium-based batteries are designed to be charged early and often, and letting them get too low can damage the battery. With lithium-based batteries, doing shallow discharges and frequent charging prolongs battery life.

  1. Switch the vibrate function off on your phone. Use just the ring tone. The vibrate function uses additional battery power. Keep the ring tone volume as low as possible.

5.Turn off your phone’s back light. The back light is what makes the phone easier to read in bright light or outside. However, the light also uses battery power. If you can get by without it, your battery will last longer. If you have to use the back light, many phones will let you set the amount of time to leave the back light on. Shorten that amount of time. Usually, one or two seconds will be sufficient. Some phones have an ambient light sensor, which can turn off the back light in bright conditions and enable it in darker ones.

6.Avoid using unnecessary features. If you know it will be a while before your phone’s next charge, don’t use the camera or connect to the Internet. Flash photography can drain your battery especially quickly.

7.Keep calls short. This is obvious, but how many times have you heard someone on their mobile phone say, “I think my battery’s dying,” and then continue their conversation for several minutes? Sometimes, the dying battery is just an excuse to get off the phone, but if you really need to conserve the battery, limit your talk time.

8.Turn off Bluetooth. It will drain your battery very quickly. Only turn Bluetooth on when needed.

9.Same goes for WIFI, GPS, and infrared capabilities, if your phone has these features built in. Keep them off except when you need them.

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Guide to Laptop Storage Drives

How to Choose a Laptop Based on HDD, SSD, CD, DVD and Blu-ray Options

Most modern laptops are moving away from the traditional mechanical drives in favor of more durable and smaller solid state options.

This change is being fueled by the fact that laptops keep getting smaller, and so their internal space is restricted and no longer accommodating for larger storage devices.

To help clear up confusion for buyers, this guide looks at all the various types of drives that may be in a laptop, and what they can offer.

Hard Drives

Hard drives (HDDs) are still the most common form of storage in a laptop and are pretty straight forward.

Generally, the drive will be referred to by its capacity and rotational speed. Larger capacity drives tend to perform better than smaller ones and faster spinning drives, when compared with ones of similar capacity, are usually more responsive than slower ones.

However, slower spinning HDDs do have a slight advantage when it comes to laptop running times because they draw less power.

Laptop drives are typically 2.5 inches in size and can range from 160 GB up to over 2 TB in capacity. Most systems will have between 500 GB and 1 TB of storage, which is more than enough for the standard laptop system.

If you’re looking at a laptop to replace your desktop as your primary system that will hold all your documents, videos, programs, etc., consider getting one with a hard drive that’s 750 GB or larger.

Solid State Drives

Solid state drives (SSDs) are starting to replace hard drives in more laptops, especially the new ultrathin laptops.

These types of hard drives use a set of flash memory chips rather than a magnetic platter to store the data. They provide faster data access, lower power consumption, and higher reliability.

The downside is that SSDs don’t come in such large capacities as traditional hard drives. Plus, they usually cost a lot more.

A typical laptop equipped with a solid state drive will have anywhere from 16 GB to 512 GB of storage space, although there are some available with more than 500 GB but they are prohibitively expensive. If this is the only storage in the laptop, it should have at least 120 GB of space but ideally around 240 GB or more.

The type of interface that the solid state drive uses can also have a significant impact on the performance but many companies do not overtly advertise it. Most inexpensive systems like Chromebooks tend to use eMMC which isn’t much more than a flash memory card, while high performance laptops use the new M.2 cards with PCI Express (PCIe).

Solid State Hybrid Drives

If you want higher performance than a traditional hard drive but don’t want to sacrifice storage capacity, a solid state hybrid drive (SSHD) is another option. Some companies are referring to these as just hybrid hard drives.

Solid state hybrid drives include a small amount of solid state memory on a traditional hard drive that is used to cache frequently used files.

They do help speed up tasks such as booting up a laptop but they aren’t always faster. In fact, this form of drive is best used when a limited number of applications are used on a frequent basis.

Smart Response Technology and SSD Cache

Similar to hybrid hard drives, some laptops are using both traditional hard drives with a small solid state drive. The most common form of this uses the Intel Smart Response Technology. This provides the benefits of the storage capacities of the hard drive while gaining the speed benefits of a solid state drive.

Unlike SSHDs, these caching mechanisms usually use larger drives between 16 and 64 GB that provide a boost to a larger range of frequently used applications, thanks to the extra space.

Some older ultrabooks use a form of SSD caching that offers higher storage capacities or lower costs, but Intel has changed this so that a dedicated solid state drive is required in order for new machines to meet the ultrabook branding requirements.

This is becoming much less common now that prices for SSD’s continue to drop.

CD, DVD and Blu-ray Drives

It used to be that you were required to have an optical drive on a laptop since most software was distributed on discs, so it was required in order to load the program to your computer. However, with the rise of digital distribution and alternate methods of booting, optical drives are not a requirement like they once were.

These days, they’re used more for watching movies or playing games, as well as burning programs to a disc, creating DVDs, or building audio CDs.

If you do need an optical drive, what type of drive should you get on a laptop? Well, whatever you end up getting, it should definitely be compatible with DVDs. One of the great advantages to laptops is their ability to be used as portable DVD players. Anyone who travels regularly has seen at least one person pull out a laptop and start watching a movie during the flight.

DVD writers are pretty much standard for laptops that have an optical drive. They can fully read and write both CD and DVD formats. This makes them extremely useful for those looking to watch DVD movies on the go or for editing their own DVD movies.

Now that Blu-ray has become the defacto high definition standard, more laptops are beginning to ship with these drives.

Blu-ray combo drives have all the features of a traditional DVD burner with the ability to play Blu-ray movies. Blu-ray writers add the ability to burn lots of data or video to the BD-R and BD-RE media.

Here are some optical drive options and the tasks they are best suited for:

  • Basic computing w/DVD Playback: DVD-ROM
  • DVD/CD Recording: DVD Writer
  • HD Video Playback: Blu-ray Combo
  • HD Video Recording: Blu-ray Writer

With current component costs, there is almost no reason that a laptop would not have a DVD burner if it is going to have an optical drive. What is surprising is that Blu-ray drives have not become more standard as their prices are also quite low now for the combo drives. It should also be noted that laptop drives are generally much slower than similar drives found in desktop systems.

Even if a laptop does not have an internal optical drive, it’s still possible to use one so long as you have an open USB port for room to attach a USB optical drive.

Note: When you purchase a laptop with an optical drive, it may require additional software beyond the operating system to properly view DVD or Blu-ray movies.

Drive Accessibility

Drive accessibility is important when considering whether to upgrade or replace a damaged drive. It’s important to know what you’re doing, so you might consider having an authorized technician open the computer.

This generally isn’t a problem for many people, but in a corporate environment it can cause increased down time for a worker. Laptops that have drive bays that are accessible or swappable have the advantage of easy and quick access for upgrades or replacements.

In addition to being accessible, it’s also important to get an idea of what kind of drive bays there are and what the size requirements may be. For instance, the 2.5-inch drive bays used for hard drives and solid state drives can come in several sizes. The larger 9.5 mm drives often have better performance and capacities but if the drive bay only fits 7.0 mm drives due to a thin profile, you need to know that.

Similarly, some systems use the mSATA or M.2 cards rather than a traditional 2.5-inch hard drive for their solid state drive. So, if the drives can be accessed and replaced, be sure to know what type of interfaces and physical size limits there are.