How to improve the battery life of the HP TouchPad

User guides 17:09, 22 Feb 2011

We give you 15 ways to help ensure your HP TouchPad is still ticking at the end of the day

HP's first offering in an effort to rejuvenate its aging smartphone business has been received with mixed reviews. Most would agree that the HP TouchPad is a tremendous step in the right direction and H's revamped WebOS is certainly a breath of fresh air. In terms of hardware however, the TouchPad is plagued by a few shortcomings that give many pause when considering which new smartphone to purchase.

If accounts of abysmal battery life are impacting potential TouchPad owners and keeping them from taking the leap however, rest easy. There are several measures that can be taken to get up to 24 hours of battery life (or even more depending on usage) out of a single charge with an HP TouchPad.

1. Charge responsibly

Most people tend to get into the habit of charging electronic devices overnight. While there is certainly much debate regarding whether or not charging habits affect battery life and longevity, many experts agree that over-charging a Lithium Ion battery can significantly reduce performance over time.

In other words, over time a full charge will not last as long for someone who regularly leaves his or her TouchPad plugged in overnight as it would for someone who unplugs the TouchPad once it is fully charged.

As a general rule, try to wait until your phone battery is nearly empty before charging it. Once your battery is full, unplug it from its charger. Getting into this habit is good for your battery and it is good for the environment as well. The battery in the TouchPad charges from empty in about two hours, so there is certainly no reason to leave it plugged in overnight while you sleep.

2. Get a second charger

This may seem like common sense to some, but buying a second charger for your office is a great way to help ensure that your TouchPad never runs out of juice. Some people carry one charger between their home and job but it's just too easy to forget it while rushing. A second charger can be purchased on eBay for as little as $7 shipped. Car chargers are just as inexpensive, so those who spend a fair amount of time on the road would be well served to consider one as well.

3. Get a portable charger

Frequent flyers and those who spend a good deal of time on the go with infrequent access to a wall outlet should certainly consider purchasing a portable charger. The most common form of portable charger consists of a battery pack, a cable and a variety of connector tips to ensure compatibility with a wide variety of devices. While just about every option these days includes a microUSB adapter tip, one recommendation is the USB TurboCharger 3400 by Proporta (3400 mAh).

4. Adjust display brightness

A very simple tweak that will have a dramatic impact on battery life is decreasing the display brightness. The HP TouchPad has a fantastically vivid display but it requires a significant amount of power to illuminate it. The good news however, is that the TouchPad display still extremely viewable when the brightness is turned down. Try lowering the brightness in Settings -> Brightness to between 30% - 50%, the lower the better of course.

5. Adjust auto-lock

Further to number four above, the less time your display is on, the better. In Screen & Lock -> "Turn off after", choose either the 30 seconds or 1 Minute option.

6. Turn off Bluetooth when not in use

Bluetooth headsets and car kits are obviously convenient but when they're not in use, Bluetooth should be turned off.

7. Avoid using Exchange and adjust data fetch settings

A smartphone's ability to keep email, contacts and calendar items in sync over the air is an absolute necessity. The process of connecting to remote servers and exchanging data however, is an obvious drain on the battery. Exchange accounts have more of an impact on the TouchPad's battery life than any other handset released in recent history, decreasing it by 50 per cent or more. If available, set up any email accounts using IMAP rather than Exchange.

8. Don't use Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi significantly drains battery, especially if it's constantly trying to find a Wi-Fi network. Like with any device, if you're not using it, switch it off!

9. Keep GPS usage to a minimum

There is really no question that GPS usage is hard on the battery. While the temptation to play with a new voice-guided navigation app can be overwhelming at times, try to avoid using it as a novelty to navigate known areas. Similarly, Location Based Service (LBS) apps will deplete the battery at a rapid rate, so use them sparingly.

Also, ensure that both Geotag Photos and Background Data Collection are set to off in the Location Services menu.

10. Don't update apps if you're trying to conserve battery power

There's nothing better than finding out one of your favorite apps finally received an update, but try to wait until you're near a charger before downloading any updates. Each time an app is updated, the full application file must be downloaded from the App Catalog. If the app is large, downloading it over 3G or Wi-Fi will undoubtedly impact battery life negatively.

11. Don't download music/videos while on the go

Just as app updates can often be large files that will result in significant battery consumption, music and video files are even larger. Sometimes downloading on the go is necessary but if you can, wait until you're near a charger. If possible of course, make music and video purchases on your computer and then transfer the new files to your TouchPad. Not only will you conserve battery power, you'll actually be charging your phone over the connector cable while your new files are being moved.

12. Always apply OS updates

Any time HP issues an update to webOS, apply the update. New features aside, HP may have applied tweaks that have a positive impact on battery life and the only way to obtain them is by updating your OS.

13. Don't leave cards open unnecessarily

HP's task management and visualisation mechanism is one of its core selling points but any way you slice it, energy is being consumed as a result of each open process on your TouchPad.

If you're not using an app, close it. If you're about to pack your tablet away, close all of your open cards. It only takes a second to re-open an application and the amount of power saved by closing unused apps is significant.

14. Log off of Instant Messaging

webOS' Instant Messaging support is terrific. Having IM well integrated into the Messaging app along with SMS is both logical and convenient. Leaving IM connected however, will have a tremendous negative impact on battery life. If you don't need to be connected to IM, log off.


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