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BlackBerry PlayBook Battery

Most BlackBerry PlayBook users are cordless for much of their time with the tablet because the PlayBook uses a high-tech rechargeable battery. The battery itself isn’t something you should ever expect to see (unless your BlackBerry PlayBook suffers a catastrophic disaster or you absolutely insist on opening the sealed case and possibly voiding the warranty).

It has no external door so you can get at it; a repairperson has to pry open the case, remove the motherboard inside, and pry out the battery which is glued into place.

The battery itself is a 3.7-volt 5400mA lithium-ion polymer device, rated at 19.95 watt-hours. What does all that mean? It’s pretty much state-of-the-art for consumer devices, squeezing a lot of power into a tiny package a bit smaller than a stack of three credit cards.

Of all those numbers in the specs for the BlackBerry PlayBook battery, the most important to you is 19.95. That’s its watt-hour rating. One watt hour is the amount of electrical energy that a one-watt load would draw for one hour. You can extrapolate that the PlayBook draws, on average, perhaps three watts per hour, which is where its charged life of about four to eight hours is delivered.

According to Research in Motion (RIM), you should be able to get somewhere between six and eight hours of continuous use from your PlayBook if you start with a fully charged battery. When they say continuous use, that could mean two hours of use on four days spread across a week, or it could mean Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Some users will get more time from their charged battery, and others less. And the same user will find different results on different days. Why? Because different types of activities and various patterns of work draw power from the battery at differing rates.

If the battery icon in the status bar at upper right is fully green, it means it has close to a 100 percent charge. When the battery level drops to 9 percent, you get a warning message on the touchscreen like the one shown. Make sure you save any work to a file and think about finding an AC outlet soon.

How much charge do you have left? Glance at the icon in the upper-right corner of the status bar.
How much charge do you have left? Glance at the icon in the upper-right corner of the status bar.
A warning shows up when you have just 9 percent capacity.
A warning shows up when you have just 9 percent capacity.

When the battery reaches 0 percent charge you may still be able to work for a while, but eventually the PlayBook will call it quits and shut down all by itself; you’ll need to connect it to an AC power source and give it a bit of a head start before you can use it again.

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