Does the 2 in R2H mean 2 hours of battery life?


Asus_r2h_2Now that the Asus R2H UMPC device has cleared the FCC, more details are beginning to emerge. One of the first tidbits that isn’t promising: DailyTech indicated earlier this week that Asus engineers are "hoping for at least two hours of battery life with its first UMPC effort". To be honest, Asus has entered the UMPC game slightly late, which I’d expect they use to their advantage. Hey, why not let the other players rush products out the door and then learn from their mistakes, right?

Although the Asus R2H offers a few more features than other currently available UMPCs, I’d gladly give up those extras to get closer to three hours of battery life on the first go around. It’s too early to tell where the actual run-time will fall, of course, but this could be an influential aspect for folks that have held out a little for the R2H. Of course, if Asus would like a fair and impartial comparison against say…a Samsung Q1…..I think I could lend them a hand if they could lend me a review unit! ;)




Ben, see, that’s the argument that I just don’t buy: UMPCs are made by the same people who have brought us laptops for years (decades). The components are not less miniaturized or integrated, because they have been doing these power optimizations for years on laptops. If they could easily optimize further, don’t you think they’d have done it on their (ultra compact) laptops already?

To me battery life is really key. I have a lot of meetings (too many) each day where I would benefit from a UMPC for light email, browsing, project management, and quick adhoc presentations. But I can’t afford to plan my day around the battery life of a device. If I have to carry around a bag with the power supply, I might as well use my ultra-portable laptop (3.7 lbs Toshiba M100) and have a full computer.

As for the Sony UX, I played with one at the local SonyStyle store yesterday, and it’s not a suitable device for me. The keyboard is just as unusable to my fingers as the old Sony Clie UX50’s, and the screen is just too small for its resolution. A very cool gadget, no doubt, but not a usable tool for me.


On the battery life issue, the first UMPCs can’t really be fairly compared to current generation of laptops. In the first generation of a product, components on the motherboard are usually much less integrated and miniaturised than in later versions. As products mature, the number of components reduces, and therefore so does power consumption.

Additionally, in the case of UMPCs, I understand that the 7″ screens currently being used were originally designed for in-car navigation systems, where power consumption isn’t really an issue. Once screens start being specifically designed for the UMPC, it is probable that power consumption will reduce on these too. You can see some of the potential in this area if you consider the Sony UX, which does appear to have a specifically designed screen, and the battery life is (on paper) somewhat longer than on UMPCs (though the screen is smaller – but maybe the battery is smaller too?).


Kevin, yes, the batteries are smaller, though probably not that much smaller than that of my Toshiba Portege M100, which powers it for about 3.5 hrs (I am just holding the spare in my hands and imagining the Q1’s battery compartment when I played with the device at Fry’s a few days ago).

But the battery also doesn’t have to support as big a screen and the UMPCs have somewhat slower processors. It would be interesting to see what IBM/Lenovo’s ThinkPad group could come up with; their X60 seems to have excellent battery life.

Personally, I’d always trade CPU performance for longer battery life. Virtually all the stuff that I’d be doing “on the go” using a UMPC is the same that I did on a Pentium 75 notebook 10 years ago: email, web surfing, task management, and remote access to work servers (ssh). Even the Q1’s Celeron is complete overkill for that.


Kevin C. Tofel

Oliver, you’re dead on, but the difference here is the size of the UMPC batteries has been pared down for weight; today’s standard UMPC batteries are only capable of storing up to 30 Watt/hours of juice, whereas the standard laptop battery has more power.

Frank, I saw the picture in the user manual as well, but as it was pointed out: who knows under what conditions that was in; perhaps that pic was taken with an extended battery in the unit. Additionally, just because there’s a screen-cap in a user manual, that doesn’t mean that the device will reflect what the graphic shows. I’d take the word of Asus engineers over a pic of a manual on the FCC site any day. There are pics of things in my Samsung Q1 manual that aren’t applicable to me: case in point, my Q1 can’t play DVDs without a 3rd party DVD codec because Samsung only includes it if you purchase their ODD. Since the DVD player software is shown in the manual, should I expect my Q1 to have it? Regardless, I (and many potential Asus R2H consumers) hope you’re correct because 2 hours won’t cut it.


It’s interesting how there’s always the comment that this is a first-generation device and battery life might improve over time as companies develop more experience. We’ve had comperable mobile devices (aka laptops) for over a decade. The components (CPU, memory, graphics chipset, hard disk, Windows XP, …) in these UMPCs are essentially the same as in laptops. Companies like Samsung and Asus don’t just now suddenly discover the need to invent battery saving technologies.

To me the reality seems to be that while batteries have improved over time, the power requirements of the hardware we want to see have at least proportionally increased as well (case in point: compare the battery life of the original Palm Pilot to that of today’s PDAs).

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