With so many features on tap, if you’re not careful your tablet will soon have its battery life sucked out of it. Here, we explain the chief culprits and offer some tips on how to conserve power on the move.
The best tablets will last for more than ten hours of continuous use from a single charge, and for several days if used more sporadically. If you’re not careful, however, you may find yourself having to charge your tablet more often than you’d like. There’s nothing more irritating than taking your tablet from its bag to be told battery life is running low.
If you follow a few simple guidelines, however, you should be able to keep going as long as the Duracell bunny. The place to start is the screen. Go to the Settings menu, tap “About tablet” then “Battery usage”, and you’ll see which apps and components are taxing your battery most. The screen will probably be top of this list: it’s the most power hungry component of your tablet.
If you want your tablet to last longer between charges, you need to minimize the screen’s power draw, and there are several ways of doing this. The key is to make sure it isn’t on for any longer than necessary, and when it is on, to keep the brightness as low as possible. You’ll find details in the walkthrough opposite.
DATA DRAW :
The other key things to consider are the mobile broadband and Wi-Fi adapters your tablet uses to connect to the internet. With browsing at the core of what you do with your tablet, it’s little wonder these give the battery a thorough workout. And with so many apps constantly checking for messages and updates in the background things can quickly get out of hand.
You can find details opposite on what to do to minimise the impact internet connectivity has on your battery, but again, the key is control. In the “Accounts & sync” section of the settings menu you’ll find you can change when and how often your tablet synchronises your various email and social networking accounts.
Other apps – such as weather updates, a widget that checks stocks or a newsfeed reader – may also be listed here. Ask yourself if you really need this information to be updated constantly. If the answer is no, make sure you change the settings of each app individually to make sure it isn’t sneaking on to the internet behind your back.
Last, but by no means least, take a trip to the My Apps section of Google Play and make sure that automatic updates for all your apps are switched off. App updates can be quite large, and updates, especially over a mobile internet connection, can be a serious drain on your battery.
Seven steps to better battery life:
1.The screen on your tablet is the main culprit when it comes to swallowing up battery life – the brighter it is, the more power it uses. The best way to resolve this issue is to use the “Auto brightness” setting, which dims the screen automatically, depending on the ambient light: to set it, tap the clock in the bottom-right corner, then the clock in the pop-up menu, then AUTO.
2.The next best way of eking extra minutes from your battery is to use flight mode. This switches off the power-hungry Wi-Fi radio and disables 3G and Bluetooth so you can be sure nothing is sucking away power. Only use this in emergencies, though, as you won’t be able to browse the web or send and receive email while flight mode is on. You’ll find it in the same place as auto brightness.
3.When your screen automatically rotates from landscape to portrait mode, or vice versa, it’s using precious battery life. If you use it in mostly landscape mode, you can turn off auto-rotation. In the Settings menu, select Screen, then tap the “Auto-rotate screen” tickbox. While you’re there, set Timeout to 15 or 30 seconds. This will ensure the screen isn’t on for longer than necessary.
4.Another way of rationing your tablet’s use of its 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity is to alter its Autosync settings. Under “Accounts & sync” in the Settings menu you’ll see several options for managing the frequency with which the tablet and specific apps connect to the internet. Disable background data and apps will connect to the internet only when you ask them to.
5.Again, turning off all background data may seem like overkill. If you want your tablet to keep checking your email in the background, but nothing else, this isn’t the setting to use. To do this, leave background data ticked and, in the app list below, tap the green icons next to the apps you don’t want to connect to the internet automatically.
6.Some apps – Adobe Flash Player, for example – may be set to automatically download and install updates without your intervention. To stop this, and save battery life, go to the Market app, tap My Apps and select an installed app. Check in the pane on the right that the tickbox next to “Allow automatic updating” isn’t ticked.
7.For ultimate control over battery hogging apps and hardware, download a battery management app from the Google Play Store. JuiceDefender is our favourite. It lets you manage power related settings on an app-by-app basis, allowing Gmail access to the net, for instance, but stopping TweetComb from downloading updates until you launch the app itself.