The Truth About Battery Life

What is the feature that matters the most when talking about an eBook reader or a tablet? Is it the appearance? The internal memory, the processor? Or is it the battery life? In all fairness, all features are extremely important and they all have to be top notch to blend into a quality device.

Nook Tablet 300x204 The Truth About Battery Life

Nook Tablet

The life expectancy on an eBook reader is definitely a selling point, as well as it is to a tablet. We hear stories of a 2 month battery life on some ereaders and it seems unbelievable indeed. That is probably because it never happened. Two months is a rough 60 days to a charge. The truth is that E Ink eBook readers are extremely popular due to that: they only need one charge every 2-8 weeks, as opposed to the tablets that have to be charged at least every few days, if not on a daily basis.

A usual tablet, conveniently priced, usually resists about 5-6 hours to a charge, whereas most of the good ones available on the market can last up to 8-10+ hours. It depends on various factors such as Wi-Fi use, screen brightness, video hours etc.

Other aspects are extremely relevant as well. For example, the Nook Tablet has a longer battery life than most of the 7” devices, lasting up to 11 hours. However, that changes once the tab gets rooted. After that, the life expectancy decreases, especially in sleep mode.

This seems to be a common problem to many tablets out there nowadays. Techs can’t seem to fix the excessive battery drain while in sleep mode.  This usually applies to budget tablets, as the high-end ones seem to have overcome this issue somehow.

As for E Ink ereaders, it’s always about good marketing techniques. Amazon and Barnes & Noble claim their eBook readers last up to 2 months on a single charge. It is not impossible, but it’s not typical. Never have I used any of the Kindles and the Nook Touch for 60 days on a single charge. For instance, the Kindle Touch has been released roughly 13 weeks ago and it needed charging three or four times.

Charging Kindles 300x300 The Truth About Battery Life

Charging Kindles

The marketing bubble Amazon is keeping us into is quite smart, as it’s difficult to find out precisely how long the battery lasts, when testing it with different programs on, brightness etc. It depends on so many variables that truly testing the battery drain in a device may take up to a whole year and by then, a funky fresh next model is on the market, and of course, a new battery life claim. Ingenious, no?

That said, battery technology is always moving forward and new, better models are created every day. The latest reach is the solar-powered eBook reader/tab. Some companies are already designing the solar-powered covers and soon we will hear of the first totally independent device that only needs the blessed sunrays and no other type of charging.

Until then, think about how often you charge your ereader or tablet and wonder: How long does its battery really last?


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3 Responses to The Truth About Battery Life

  1. I think you missed the whole point. If we’re talking about TRUTH though, here’s some more which you glossed over.

    Power is necessary in an e-ink-based e-reader only when you turn a page assuming the Wi-Fi is off). So, the more you read, the faster the battery will be drained. Don’t read at all and nearly no battery power is needed. Your e-reader will retain its power for months.

    The battery life will also vary depending on how much and often you read.

    With this in mind, you should probably revise the statement which reads;

    “We hear stories of a 2 month battery life on some ereaders and it seems unbelievable indeed. That is probably because it never happened.”

    John December 26, 2012 at 8:21 pm
  2. Is there an eReader with a long life span? I have sequentially purchased two Sony eReaders. Each cost about $150 and died 13 months after purchase — one month past the 12 month warranty period. Sony no longer sells extended warranties — any guess why not?

    Marian August 5, 2013 at 12:47 am
  3. Eventually, the chemistry of the battery will deteriorate. Although lithium batteries last longer than the old NiMH, after five to seven years, the charge it holds will be reduced much, and eventually it will barely hold 30 minutes of charge. This is a problem that plagues all modern electronics. How serviceable will the ebook be ten years from now? Will there be an after-market for replacement batteries? How many users will take the trouble to open their devices? Or are we going to have to purchase a new ebook reader every seven to ten years just so we can read without a cord? If one has to keep replacing the reader on such interval, the value proposition of ebook reader is false as the total cost of reading one’s books become far more than having physical books.

    Kone Zi October 24, 2013 at 10:39 am

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