Power efficient long lasting laptop

I find myself looking for a long lasting laptop. I’ve had countless performance machines and those are great and all but sometimes you just want to dick around on the internet and that doesnt require much. My current MSI GP60 lasts about 2.5 hours just doing normal stuff and about 45 minutes to an hour if gaming. Its shitty as a laptop really, but thats the price you pay for a laptop that can perform. I want something else for non gaming stuff. Just youtube or shitposting on the forums.

I could just get the super low performance options out there like the atom or celeron but I feel those options would also be limited in battery, and possibly be shit for running more than one tab of chrome. Id like to have a few things:

  • Enough performance to handle most browsing tasks with ease
  • Very long battery life.
  • 8GB ram minimum, though I suppose this isnt that important if I put linux on it.
  • 15"ish screen. Im not firm on this but I’m not a fan of 13" or 17".
  • Relatively cheap.

Bonus points for upgradeable ram. Cheaper the better (for me cheap would be sub $600 but it depends on if its new or not). Bang for buck is key. Used is ok so long as I can buy new OEM batteries.

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I have a Dell 3000 series with an Intel Atom Pentium N3700 that gets around 9-10 hours battery life. I paid a bit more than I should have ($350) because I wanted a touch screen and a removable hard drive so I could install my own SSD. I can easily browse the web or play really crappy games for many hours, or hook it up to a TV and play videos for over 8 hours @ 720p. I don’t let it go completely dead either, if I see it has gotten well below 20% I charge it or at least shut it down.

I’d imagine replacing the terrible platter drive with an SSD helped the battery life a bit. I ditched Windows immediately and went with Linux. The only really sucky thing about most of the really low end machines is having only 1 RAM slot. Relying on integrated graphics with single channel memory kills the graphics performance if you wanted to try low end gaming. My desktop Celeron N3150 performs better at gaming, even with a worse iGPU because of this. It will also cause issues with upgrading, as you can’t just ‘add’ a stick in most cases. My Dell has 4GB of RAM which has never been an issue running numerous tabs, although I rarely use Chrome.

The single core performance sucks. Expect web pages to take a few seconds to load. Expect everything that requires a single thread to accomplish any task to suck really bad when your processor is around 2.5GHZ or less and low cache.

You would probably be happier buying something used and getting multiple batteries to reach the amount of run time you want. For me, I love my laptop and it does what I need it to do, but I absolutely never ask more of it than it is capable of achieving. Having a low power quad core sounds great, but a dual core with better single thread performance is going to do most simple tasks much more quickly. My desktop G1850 2.9 GHZ Celeron smokes the Atoms, and it is a very low-end CPU.

Raven ridge looks promising, but it may be a while before you see ones that are cheap. If you wait another year, I think the Mercury Lake Atoms will have raised the bottom end enough to be competent machines with great battery life at a reasonable price. Gemini Lake is available now, but not enough of a performance gap for me to upgrade.

I think this is like the old saying, “Fast, good, cheap. Pick two.” Something fast and good on battery life is gonna cost money. Something fast and cheap is probably gonna be built poorly, have anemic I/O, not upgradeable, and crappy battery life. Something good on battery life and cheap is gonna drag balls.

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Chromebooks are another option, I get hours off a single charge. Variety of sizes and types.

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Unfortunately the Chromebook options are limited usually. I’d like to be able to use things like sdr software and that’s limited to Linux and windows afaik. They are an attractive option otherwise.

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I got a used Dell Latitude E7440 almost a year ago. It’s been great, held up very well, screen is 1080p IPS and decent, and the battery life is alright. I can get two to three hours with the higher capacity 54 watt-hour battery.

I should note that cheap isnt a huge requirement. For me anything sub $600 is relatively cheap.

I’m looking for a little bit better than 3 hours since thats not far off the mark from what I have now. Appreciate the info though as its still a data point.

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Considered a tablet?

Pretty much all of your listed tasks can be done with an ipad (or whatever android tablet), and if you’ve got a proper machine for real work, and this is just for dicking around on the internet, it will be cheaper, lighter, better battery life, etc.

I ask, because so many people just discount tablets for this sort of thing, but really its their bread and butter. more convenient on the couch, in bed, on the bus, on aircraft, or whatever. better screens, better battery, blah blah.

they’re also convenient as a reference source when using another machine; they take up minimal space on your desk. they also have long upgrade/replace cycles. i just cycled out my old ipad 4 to the girlfriend to upgrade her from an ipad 3. it still has a battery that lasts 6-7+ hours of use (and i got this thing in 2011 or 2012)… sure its not as fast as my new ipad pro, but as an e-book reader and basic web browser it still does the job.

I actually have my old n7 1st gen which is still in great shape for its age. However it still leaves me in the same spot as a chromebook would. I’d really prefer something where I could run a normal linux distro or windows. Thanks for your input though. Its appreciated.


Fair enough, if a proper OS is a requirement that’s a deal-breaker. I get by when i need real OS type stuff and can’t be bothered pulling out the laptop or walking to my desk using remote desktop or ssh :smiley:

My X1 Carbon 2017 in Power Saver mode with the brightness turned down and the radios turned off would report about 20 hours remaining with Openoffice open. Perfect for writing novels on long-haul flights. I didn’t use it the entire time, but I had a 21-hour plane journey to Japan earlier this year and from when I unplugged it at home in New Hampshire to when I arrived where I was staying (3 hours from Narita) the battery was at about 50%. That laptop is a marathon runner as far as idle power consumption is concerned.

Those are expensive though. Small, older Thinkpads I think do quite well on battery, even the Sandy Bridge laptops. Kiss the battery life goodbye if you go older than that, though.


I’d love to take yours off your hands though I’d need to be at about half of what you’re asking to feel good about dropping that much on a machine to dick around on. The thinkpad line is tempting though.


Yeah, they’re great machines but they’re pricey. Mine was just an example of where laptops are headed for the purposes of this thread.

Another point for older thinkpads is that some of them can take substantial battery extensions. If you don’t mind the added weight/bulk of the extended batteries, that can be a good way to go.


My current MSI is haswell. Do you think the thinkpad offerings for haswell are worth it on battery or would something newer be a better deal for efficiency?

I’m seeing stuff like this which is pretty attractively priced:

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Is the edge line worth a damn or are they junk?

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to quote r/thinkpad and /tpg/ on E-series thinkpads

At least they’re cheap!

I would say if you’re getting a Thinkpad, look for T, W, P and X-series laptops - the business-grade laptops. eBay has tons of them. The reason Thinkpads have such a cult following is their reputation for being sturdy. My W500 I could use as a paving slab or a riot shield. The E-series laptops as far as I’ve seen don’t have that reputation.


Not too long ago there were Chromebooks that you could upgrade the SSD and install proper Linux on. Might have been Acer Chromebooks. Not sure what the state of that route is nowadays.

Maybe look for a refurbished XPS 13. They are way cheaper and have great battery life. You have good deals in the US on the Dell outlet website.

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Unfortunately it doesnt look like theres much in the way of XPS 13s though thats ok because they’re a little too small for me. There is some other interesting stuff on there though.

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