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Toshiba Satellite l755 Battery all-laptopbattery.com

Our last test is likely the most important one for those who buy a laptop: battery life. We loop a 4K video at a relatively bright 250 to 260 nits, with the laptop set to airplane mode, and with earbuds connected. The results for the Spectre x360 15 are fairly impressive, but not the winner. The winner is its near-twin, the Spectre x360 15 with a Core i5-8550U and GeForce MX150. Remember: Both laptops have the exact same-size battery and the exact same screen. Still, for a laptop with this much CPU and GPU performance, this is an impressive result.This still doesn’t mean you can play a game on batteries for nine hours. It means you can probably watch movies on the SSD for that long. Browsing, gaming, and other CPU-intensive tasks will use far more battery.There’s two conclusions to be made here. The first is the HP Spectre x360 15 itself. The high-end laptop has been around for two years now, but it took Intel’s Kaby Lake-G to make it sing, delivering plenty of performance to go with the looks.

We have few quibbles with the Spectre x360 15 design. But we were hoping it’d be lighter rather than heavier.
The slender profile hides our biggest disappointment, though: the weight. Blame the 4K panel, or look on the bright side and appreciate the sturdiness, but bottom line, this is a heavier laptop than we’d like. The second conclusion is that Intel’s Kaby Lake-G Core i7-8705G is a pretty impressive package (our review of the CPU is here.) It’s not enough to threaten Nvidia’s dominance at the high-end of gaming laptops, but the truth is, the lion’s share of gaming laptops sales are actually in the GeForce GTX 1050 range. The Spectre x360 15 can hold its own in this crowd, further blurring the line between mainstream and gaming machines. Microsoft has announced a new Surface tablet computer called the Go. It’s smaller, lighter, and cheaper than its siblings. Initial thoughts by most tech journalists is to assume it’s going to be too small and too underpowered to function as a proper laptop. They’re right, of course, but I’m interested in it for a different purpose: a travel laptop.

Small, light, and cheap are some of the main aspects I look for in my search for the perfect travel laptop, but those aren’t the only ones.Regardless how long you’re travelling, you almost certainly don’t need a full-size laptop. Most people don’t need any laptop, but if you’re reading this I’m guessing you need to do some work while you’re on the go, and a regular tablet just doesn’t cut it. As handy as they are, there’s something to be said about a device that can run all the same software as your computer at home. There are workarounds and options with a tablet, but a “real” computer is just a bit easier.In my years as a digital nomad, I rely on my laptop to make a living while I’m on the road. I’ve figured out what I need, and what I don’t. The new Surface Go ticks a lot of the right boxes, but lets first talk about what I’m looking for in a laptop specifically for travel.

Size: Small. Lugging a 17-inch behemoth gets old before you make it across the airport. Something small and light is vital.Price: Low. There is something freeing about having a laptop that won’t break your wallet and mind if it got stolen, like mine almost did last year with the rest of my gear.Battery life: Between long flights, long sessions at coffee shops, and perhaps a few days between being able to charge properly, exceptionally long battery life is crucial. My current laptop, for example, lasts for 11 hours or more, depending what I’m doing.Charge via USB: This is probably the hidden key to it all. Being able to charge your laptop via USB means you can connect a USB battery pack and have, essentially, unlimited battery life. OK, not “unlimited” but depending on the pack, between a few hours to more than double the already long battery life. That’s huge, and sadly, rare.

The traditional must-haves when it comes to computers are far less important. Screen size, resolution, processing power, etc, are all secondary to the above. If it’s a little slow, isn’t that a fair trade for something that weighs next to nothing and lasts for 10 hours?The Surface Go ticks a lot of the right boxes. It’s got a 10-inch screen and is 8.3mm thick (about a third of an inch), so it’s small and compact. At 1.15-pounds it’s light too.It charges via USB-C, which is fantastic and pretty much the reason I’m writing this preview at all.As far as the price goes, it’s more expensive than my go-to Asus. List is $400, but that’s without the, for our purposes, required keyboard. Figure $100 for that, according to Microsoft’s pricing, and we’re looking at a $500 laptop. There are some great budget laptops for $500 that will offer more in terms of traditional “computery” things, but all are much larger and heavier.

Battery life is a claimed 9 hours, which is quite good. One of the ways my current travel laptop pick does its 11+ hour trick is by having an Intel Atom processor. This performs far below what you’d expect in one of their regular chips. It’s a hypermiling Toyota Prius, so expecting a good 0-60 time misses the point.The Surface Go is using an Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y processor, which is of the Kaby Lake family. It will be interesting to see if this performs better than the Atoms. It’s a year newer than the Atom x5-Z8350 in my Asus, and not of the Atom family, so it’s possible it will be faster. My assumption is it will, based on a fair guess that Microsoft wouldn’t release one of their few hardware products with the kind of performance I’m willing to tolerate in a travel laptop. People expecting even tablet-like performance would likely be flustered with Atom-speed, and that doesn’t sound like what Microsoft would want to do. So I think it’s a fair guess the Go will be faster than other 10-inch tablet/computer hybrids, but with less battery life. But I could be wrong.

And a faster processor wouldn’t be bad. My Asus is fine for writing, web, Netflix, even photo editing, but try to do more than one thing at a time, or any sort of video editing, and it becomes an infuriating slog.There are other aspects, too, that are good, but not vital for the travel minded. The screen has a decent resolution of 1800×1200, for example. I briefly had a 10-inch laptop with a 1920×1080 screen and I’ll tell you, it was too much. Everything was just too small, and there’s only so much that zooming in and increasing font size can do. Which is to say, on this size screen, 1800×1200 should plenty for a laptop, especially one that’s a more squarish 3:2 aspect ratio vs the usual laptop 16×9. The Asus Transformer is 1280×800, for comparison, and that’s a bit of a weak spot.

I’m not rushing out to get a Surface Go. While it looks good on paper, it’s also remarkably similar to my year- and-a-half-old Asus Transformer Mini T102HA. If the Go really does last 9 hours, and if it is a little faster than the Atom-based 10-inchers, it will certainly be worth considering. I love my travel laptop, but something with a higher resolution screen and some more horsepower would do nicely.It’s also worth considering that the price isn’t really $400. As mentioned, it’s really $500 with the keyboard, and that’s with a 64GB harddrive and 4GB of RAM. That’s “fine” for a travel laptop, and I made do with those numbers for years across several computers (a built-in SD card slot handles most of the storage for them and for the Go). If you add in $50 more, the Go gets a 128GB harddrive and 8GB of RAM. That’s definitely the way to go, but now we’re talking even more money than the Asus, for only a little bit better on paper.

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