If you’re constantly on the go or simply cannot stand to be more than two feet way from Facebook, a CULV could be your solution.
If you’re constantly on the go or simply cannot stand to be more than 2 feet way from Facebook, a CULV could be your solution.
Laptop computers trend into categories for specific jobs. We have multimedia systems, gaming machines, clients designed for networking and the ubiquitous general-purpose utility boxes. The netbooks, mostly for Internet, set precedents for long battery life.
The newest cat is the CULV, for consumer ultra low voltage. These puppies have one purpose — longest battery life. Everything in them is designed to extend the time on battery. The drives, motherboards, displays and chips are specially designed. You can expect eight hours or more from the systems’ big batteries. Plus, this is no netbook. It’s a full-size laptop.
Their great enabler is central processors that sacrifice computing power for battery longevity. These are the new Ultra Low Voltage models (ULV) from Intel and others.
Are you in the market? If you use your laptop primarily as a stationary desktop machine connected to AC power, you do not need a CULV. Why trade power for long battery times (eight to 10 hours)?
If you fly around a lot and use your system everywhere, you’ll appreciate the long batteries and light weights here.
Heat is not good for batteries. These systems offer hybrid cooling notions that place the hottest components close to the air vents on the side. The added bonus is the touch pad and keyboard stay cool.
HP is the leader in the category and is offering a scheme called CoolSense which places components away from the touch pad. The company’s Thermal Assist is software that detects when the computer is moving. It then automatically chooses the coolest option. Another breakthrough is graphics cards that turn down the power depending on usage.
Most CULVs do not have DVD drives (about $40). The screens are mostly 13-inch compared to 15.4 for utility laptops. Weights are a light four pounds or less, happy times for travelers.
Most major makers are rolling out CULV models, although you might have to mail order. They mostly cost $650 or less except for the Apple MacBook Air at a costly $1,299.
MORE ON AOL: Thank you to everybody who responded to last week’s column on consumers paying for AOL features that are free. A few were wondering if their Internet access provided by AOL is free. It isn’t.
Contact Jim Hillibish at email@example.com.