By August 2, 2006

Acer TravelMate 3012 Review (Part 3)

Review Part 3 – Power management/battery life.

Go To Part 1 of the review.

Go To Part 2 of the review.

As a commuter, power management and battery life are important features on any laptop. On other laptops that I’ve used I ended up installing various third party applications in order to help extend the battery life. Smart Switch XP was one tool that I found particularly useful in the past.

Like other Acer models the 3012 comes with a a power management tool called Acer ePower Management. This is accessed via an icon in the task bar or via a function key on the keyboard. This brings up a window with a variety of controls.

Acer ePower Management Window

There are basic controls for things like LCD Brightness and CPU speed as well as being able to change the hard drive and screen turn off time. You can also turn off the Wireless LAN, Bluetooth, Firewire, Cardbus and LAN interfaces in order to save more power.

The ePower application also allows you to switch power profiles. There are a number of default profiles but you can also create your own. This is quite useful if you never use bluetooth for example you can disable this in profiles that you use. You can have profiles for battery and AC use too.

One problem that I came across during every day use is that the profiles often do not switch between battery and AC automatically when you plug in or unplug the power. This caught me out a few times when I was using the laptop on the Train and it was still set to the AC profile which had all of the interfaces turned on and the CPU speed set to MAX. This configuration really eats battery!

Fortunately the 3012WMTi ships with two batteries in the standard package. This is a really nice idea, I always end up buying additional batteries for laptops as a backup but there is no need here. One battery is a small 3 cell unit which fits perfectly on the back of the Acer. The other is a larger 6 cell battery which sticks out the back of the laptop. (See below)

Acer 6 cell battery

I wasn’t sure I liked the idea of the 6 cell battery sticking out the back of the laptop but in practice it really doesn’t seem to matter and doesn’t look that bad.

I actual use I found that with the CPU set to its lowest speed and with all but the cardbus interface switched off, the battery life is a bit lower than Acer claim. The 3 Cell battery gives me around 90 minutes of use and the 6 cell about 210 minutes. This obviously varies according to what you are actually doing on the laptop but fortunately is long enough for my use.

Still more to come…

Go To Part 1 of the review.

Go To Part 2 of the review.


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Posted in: Laptops

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More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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