Battery life has always been the great equalizer in tech. Sure, we can make incredibly powerful laptops, but that doesn’t matter much to the average person if it won’t last you through a workday in a portable form factor.
Intel is working on a solution. At Computex 2018, the company teased its new Low Power Display Technology (I appreciate the straightforward naming), a combination of a special LCD display and clever power management.
Do you want to be a cryptocurrency millionaire?
Don't get your hopes up.
The 13-inch display demoed is designed by Sharp/Innolux and consumes only 1 Watt of power; half of what its predecessor managed. The technology could boost battery life by four to eight hours, depending on usage. Current ultraportables max out at around 20 hours of battery life for local video playback, so that could one day mean 28-hour battery life on our laptops.
Intel put its money where its mouth is too: the company retrofitted an off-the-shelf XPS 13 with the new display tech and increased the battery life from Dell’s claimed 20 hours to over 25 hours without affecting performance. It even demonstrated a time lapse showing off the laptop’s longevity.
Unfortunately the company was vague on the specifics. It’s not clear how much of the benefit comes from the new panel and how much from improved power management. It’s also worth noting that while a 28 hours of video playback is impressive, video is really easy for laptops nowadays and is a poor metric for real-world battery life. Lastly, this is all assuming you’re using Intel’s graphics rather than a dedicated graphics chip.
Still, at 25 percent or more increase is an impressive feat, and bodes well for a future where carrying your laptop charger with you will be a thing of the past.
Read next: Here's why quantum supremacy is inevitable