8 Comments

Summary:

I haven’t had nearly enough time to properly use the Wibrain UMPC on loan from Dynamism due to CES preparations. However, I figured that while I’m running around, the device could run through the standard battery torture test we often do with Battery Eater Pro. So […]

Wib4

I haven’t had nearly enough time to properly use the Wibrain UMPC on loan from Dynamism due to CES preparations. However, I figured that while I’m running around, the device could run through the standard battery torture test we often do with Battery Eater Pro. So while I was packing, planning and trashing e-mail after e-mail from PR firms (not all of you!), I let the Wibrain run, run, run.

My standard disclosure applies here, since not everyone might be familiar with the test. It’s meant to fully stress the device and the test result is the minimum run-time you can expect from it. That means you should get more battery life, all things being equal, unless you use the device full-bore until the battery dies. For this test, I kept the WiFi on and disabled all power management. I also disabled the Bluetooth radio, thinking that the more common scenario is to be using WiFi but not Bluetooth as the device does have a trackpad and small, split QWERTY keyboard, i.e.: you’re not likely using a Bluetooth keyboard. There is no simple setting I can find to adjust the display setting; normally, I use an application from the device manufacturer to lower the brightness to around a useable 40%. There is a Brightness setting in the video properties but I left it at the default after playing with it. I could set the brightness so high that the screen was saturated and I could lower it to make it dim, but I suspect most folks won’t even find the setting, so I left it alone.

In the end, I got a strange graphical result from Battery Eater Pro, but I have faith in the runtime number of one hour and 52 minutes.

Discharge

That’s about right for a battery of this size running on this hardware and comparable to the "good" OQO Model 02, which has very similar specifications. In real world usage I’m guessing you’ll see around two and a half hours, give or take another 30 minutes pending your power management settings. Of course, once I get more time to actually use the device, I’ll be able to provide that real world perspective.

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  1. What a waste – and same with the OQO. Under my definition of a mobile device, even 2 1/2 hours is useless. I don’t want to have to start watching my battery meter as soon as I start using the device. And if I have to carry the charger with me and be constantly worried about finding an outlet or being forced to carry spare batteries around like they are nickels in my pocket, I might as well just consider the device to be a plugged in device and keep it home.

    That’s not a mobile device, it’s nothing more then a device that temporarily works when not plugged in.

  2. I disagree. I own an OQO and it is incredibly useful. Battery technology has a long way to go. A 1 lb OQO can only have so large a battery without making it too big and bulky. Actually, OQO sells a 2x battery that gets 4-5 hours of use time and it is not that much larger than the standard. Also, please remember that most notebooks get around 2-3 hours of battery life with standard battery. In the end, you either have a full PC with Windows XP or Vista or a smaller device that is a phone and email machine (smart phone). try using your VPN at work with a treo or blackberry. Not going to work! OQO and wibrain (don’t know the wibrain) are far from perfect, but for mobility and access to a full OS, they can’t be beat!

  3. All these years…and still, your battery rules you…not the reverse. A mobile unit that potentially cuts off 1/4 of the way through the work day IS useless. Since my lovely wife spilled a half cup of coffee into the keyboard of my tablet…I am definitely in the market…both the Wibrain and the OQO are off my list.

  4. At least with the Wibrain you can use an external battery like the PPS. That is not possible with the OQO.

  5. Hmm… According to http://ultramobility.blogspot.com/2007/06/oqo-model-02-review-part-iii-desktop.html Neil Balthaser uses an OQO with a Tekkeon myPower ALL. So, it certainly seems to me like it’s possible to use an OQO with an external battery. (He plugs the myPower ALL cigarette adapter into the OQO Car adapter. But for him, the end result is still lighter than most laptops, 2.2 lbs including a keyboard and extra hard drive.)

    I suspect what you’re saying is that the Wibrain does not have a specialized power supply.

  6. @ Lee and @ Al:

    What other PC format that uses a battery gets better? Maybe a PDA, but they don’t run a full OS.

    It’s all right to be disappointed, but just waht were you expecting? Battery technology hasn’t advanced as much as other tech has, so while some improvements have been made with battery life, it just isn’t there yet.

    We might see some better improvements when UMPCs using the newer low-power chips from Intel start hitting the market.

    I have 5 batteries each for my digicam and digicamcorder because I know how much they suck up batter power. Additional and/or extended batteries for UMPCs will also be the answer for a while I suspect.

    Woadan

  7. I also disagree that the device needs to run all day without inturruption to be mobile. Sure, battery life is not great, but using an OQO with SSD, the startup and sleep times are near instant. This allows me to sleep it anytime, and wake it up pretty much on the spot. I do not use the extended batteries since they are larger, but I do have 3 standard ones, which easily gets through a full work day. The standard batteries are little slivers that fit into my pockets of my sport coat and to be honest, are barely noticable. This allows me to work from the park, my favorite coffee shop, or anywhere. I’d take this office any day versus slogging away in the office. I’d like better batter life, but it’s not too bad. Even with the 2 spares I carry, the total is still small, and lighter than most laptops. Briefcase? What’s that? I just use a sportcoat or vest. Office anywhere, no walls, no wires, no briefcase… gotta love it.

  8. “but using an OQO with SSD, the startup and sleep times are near instant. This allows me to sleep it anytime, and wake it up pretty much on the spot.”

    that does no good for those of us who are professionals & must leave our devices running non-stop for various background applications & even IM, email, VOIP, P2P, etc.

    thats why everybody is pushing for the holy grail “full work day” battery life of 8 hours, in which i agree.

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