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Friday, August 29, 2014

Review: Anker X201 Replacement Battery

Ever since I got Xiaoqin her Surface Pro, she's relinquished my (by now ancient) X201 back to me. Laptop batteries usually get killed by heat and being fully charged, and the X201's was no exception. A few months of using Android Studio on the laptop while being plugged in killed the original OEM battery, which would have been down by 40% in regular unplugged use, but was down to 10 minutes of run time. The thing about the X201 is that the keyboard's still the best you can get for a laptop of this size and weight, and writing doesn't consume lots of CPU power, so I use this as my primary writing machine, relegating the desktop to heavy-duty work like Lightroom, Premiere Elements, and InDesign. Even with 2 Moore's cycles in place, newer laptops still have not caught up to my 2009 desktop's performance.

For a fairly new laptop, it would have been worthwhile to hunt down an OEM battery and pay full price for it. For a laptop that's been well-used (albeit upgraded), I settled for the Anker X201 replacement. Anker warranties the battery for 18 months, but the biggest problem with non-OEM battery is that they have a melt-down which could set your laptop on fire. I've had a 3rd party Macbook battery warp so badly that it wouldn't fit in the battery slot any more after I wrestled it out of the slot. Of course, nowadays, Macs don't come with user-replaceable batteries so the optimal solution would be to throw away the Mac and buy yourself a real computer with replaceable parts.

The battery plugged in snugly into the battery well, and surprisingly, the Power Manager on the Thinkpad recognized the battery! I didn't expect that and was impressed. The manager says that the battery's good for 47.34Wh while the specifications claimed 49Wh, indicating some minor deterioration while the battery was sitting at Amazon's warehouse. On initial charge, the battery indicator said the battery's only good for 2 hours, but after 4 charge cycles it now says 3 hours. This is more than good enough for my general use of the laptop, and comparable to the OEM battery.

Newer machines such as the Surface Pro and Macbooks no longer have user-replaceable batteries, making it worth while to hang onto older machines such as the Lenovo Thinkpad for as long as you can. The Anker goes a long way towards helping that out. Recommended.

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