Maximizing How Long Your Laptop Will Play a Movie with the Battery

Watching a movie on an unplugged laptop can significantly drain its battery, but unless your battery is on its last legs, you should be able to get through a movie or two before it dies. To get the most play time, ensure the battery has a full charge. You can also maximize the battery's life while playing the movie by disabling other features and programs that unnecessarily drain power.

Getting a Full Charge

Fully charge your battery before pulling the plug. If your laptop uses a smart charging mode, you can get some extra juice out of your laptop by changing this to normal mode when charging your battery. Smart charging mode keeps the battery from overcharging and overheating, which greatly increases the battery's lifespan. To achieve this, smart charging mode limits the battery to a 70 percent charge. By changing this to normal mode, you can charge the battery to 100 percent before you unplug it to play a movie, giving you 30 percent more viewing time. If your laptop has a Smart Charging utility, you should be able to find it in the manufacturer's applications folder.

Sleep Mode Vs. Powering Down

If you close your laptop's lid before leaving, the laptop will go into sleep mode, which uses a minimal amount of energy to keep the operating system in memory. If you are going to play the movie within an hour or so after unplugging the laptop, this can usually save battery life, since sleep mode saves the laptop from having to power up and run the hard drive before watching the movie. If you are going to be traveling and the computer will not be used for several hours, powering down is usually a better option.

Extending the Battery During Play

Anything that is running on your laptop while watching your movie will unnecessarily drain power from the battery, so it's important to close any open applications before unplugging the laptop. Turn off your laptop's Bluetooth and Wi-Fi® to prevent them from actively scanning for new devices. Connected USB devices unnecessarily draw power from the battery, so make sure you unplug any peripherals you don't need. Turn down the lights and then dim the screen on your laptop. The brighter the laptop screen is, the more power it requires.

Using an External Display

A laptop's display pulls a lot of power from a battery. The larger your screen is, the more power it needs. If there is a TV or an external computer monitor where you are going and if you have the right adapter, you can significantly increase the life of your battery by connecting the laptop to the external screen instead. Depending on your laptop's settings, you can either close the laptop while the movie is playing or dim the laptop's LCD display to black.

Photo Credits: Shauna Hundeby/Demand Media

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