When I was comparing netbooks/subnotebooks/whatever, I selected the Aspire One knowing that it lost a bit in the battery-life department. That’s OK, because I think it’s more important 95% of the time for it to be lighter, and there’s a clear battery capacity/weight tradeoff. However, that other 5% includes time on trips – not only on planes but in airplane terminals where somebody else got to the power outlets first, etc. Accordingly, I always planned to get an external battery as well, for those particular occasions. During my online research, I found everything from drastically overpriced monstrosities (more than the A1 itself cost!) to cheap pieces of junk that were really little more than bare batteries and some leads with no regulator (good luck getting that past TSA without them thinking it’s a bomb). One of the more appealing options was this Powerbank RF638, so I bought one.

There’s really not much to say about a battery, I guess, except for does it work and how long. Well, yes, it does work. It was easy to figure out how to set it to 19V output and to find the right tip to fit the power jack on my A1. It powers the mostly-idle A1 for between four and five hours, and charges back up in about a third of that – most importantly, in far less than the three hours the A1 can run by itself, so I can leave it charging in an out-of-the-way corner while I take the A1 elsewhere. It’s a nice size, a bit bigger than a paperback book but smaller than the A1, and seems solidly constructed. Not bad for just over a hundred bucks – which is still less than the difference between laptops with larger and smaller batteries. If you’re in a situation like mine, usually focused on weight but needing a longer-untethered-runtime option occasionally, I highly recommend this as an alternative to a laptop that’s much heavier and pricier because of a big internal battery.