Whether you own a powerhouse gaming notebook or a super-light Ultrabook, your laptop doesn’t amount to a hill of beans if it doesn’t offer good battery life. The idea behind the notebook PC is that it should let you work and play on the go, but if you constantly have to plug it in to juice it up, that defeats the purpose of owning such a portable device in the first place.
Battery life is one of the biggest factors that determine whether a laptop should be sought after or set aside by consumers. With that in mind, we put together this rundown of the laptops with the best battery life out there. Here are the notebooks with the best battery life we’ve reviewed in 2015.
Asus TP200SA Flip ($330+)
Asus’ TP200SA Flip will set you back a mere $350 at most retailers, yet it managed to clear seven hours and 49 minutes of endurance in our battery test, securing it a fifth place finish. That portability comes at the cost of performance, however. We previously hammered the TP200SA Flip because of its extremely slow Intel Celeron N3050 dual-core, which proved the second-slowest we’ve so far this year. If you’re on a very tight budget and need all-day endurance, the TP200SA might work, but be careful. Its performance might leave your frustrated.
Dell XPS 13 ($900+)
In our Peacekeeper Web browsing test the Dell XPS 13 lasted seven hours and 52 minutes. That’s an excellent score, especially considering that it packs a 3,200 x 1,800 display.
The XPS 13 is available in multiple configurations. The $1,400 model we reviewed included an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. However, an entry-level model with a Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB SSD is only $800. It also may have better battery life than the one we tested due to its lower display resolution and less powerful CPU.
MacBook Pro 13 with Retina ($1,200+)
The Apple MacBook Pro 13 with Retina comes in third with ten hours and 11 minutes of endurance, a significant leap over the Dell XPS 13. This is a surprising result because the Pro 13 is also one of the most powerful 13-inch systems on the mark, and its display resolution is much higher than the typical 1080p.
What’s the MacBook’s secret? A really, really big battery. Rated at almost 75 watt-hours, the Pro 13 easily exceeds the 56 watt-hour battery in Dell’s XPS 13, which is already above average for the category.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon ($1,142+)
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is probably not the best known ultrabook in the American market, but it stands out from competitors in a number of ways, including battery life. We measured an incredible 10 hours and 13 minutes, which exceeds the average ultrabook by several hours.
Lenovo’s X1 achieves that figure by combining a fairly large 50 watt-hour battery with an extremely efficient display. Unlike larger ThinkPads, the X1 Carbon doesn’t offer an extended life battery, so it’s technically not the company’s longest-lasting laptop. Others can be configured to exceed 12, even 13 hours.
We don’t think pitting a laptop with an external battery against those with internal units is fair, though, so we excluded them — giving the X1 its excellent 2nd-place finish.
Toshiba Portege Z20t ($1,458+)
Toshiba’s Portege Z20t isn’t the most likely candidate for victory in this competition. It is not a large system, which in theory means less room for the battery, and we handed it an average review. The system’s portability was offset by its very high price.
Yet the system managed to last 10 hours and 32 minutes, easily besting everything else we’ve reviewed in 2016. It achieves that by combing two batteries — one in the detachable display, and one in the keyboard. Each offers 36 watt-hours of capacity, for a combined 72 watt-hours. That means the tablet alone doesn’t last quite so long, but it can still exceed six hours.