There is a lot in Vista that saps power such as Aero but then again it is YOUR CHOICE to turn that off. Once we turn that off I can't see where run time and therefore the battery life (some 300 cycles) would be much more than some single digit difference.
The battery life of 300 cycles is carved in it's design so you can't fix that.
Extended warranties are up to you but will you be upset to pay for out of warranty repairs.
And why use the battery if you can get power on AC? The single act of staying plugged in means more years (not life!) till you replace the battery.
I just bought a Sony PCG-N160G for my wife for her to use at school and for general use. The laptop runs surprisingly fast for just 1 gb of memory which I already ordered 2 instead. It has Vista on it, which I figured would surely run like molasses considering the 1gb of memory. Be that as it may I know on some laptops that had XP on them and were "vista ready" when they had vista installed on them it not only really taxed the machine but sometimes it killed battery life from 1-2 hours to 30 minutes or less. I was wondering if going to XP would be a much better power option or not, I know its better but I wondering if its a sizable difference. Take into account as well that the battery is probably original, and probably around 3 years old. So it very well may need replaced, which I'm fine with, but I'm still wondering new or old battery alike, whether XP would be the wiser power solution out of the two OSs. Thanks for your help.
PS - Are extended batteries really worth it? Thanks.