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Hi-Capacity SmartPad 90 review: Hi-Capacity SmartPad 90

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The Good Added nearly five hours of laptop life in our tests; compatible with nearly 2,600 notebooks; decent price.

The Bad Heavy; six-month warranty; three-prong plug; no manual.

The Bottom Line The Hi-Capacity SmartPad 90 adds at least five extra hours of laptop life, but it's heavy and not as versatile as the Electrovaya PowerPad 160.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

6.8 Overall

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The Hi-Capacity SmartPad 90 is packed with power, but at 3.3 pounds it's one of the heaviest external batteries on the market. With its AC adapter, the battery's travel weight rises to a hefty 4.3 pounds. As with the other external batteries we've seen, the Hi-Capacity SmartPad 90 attaches to your laptop via its AC power connector, so you'll have to keep the power cord with you at all times to use the battery. At $392, it's a bargain for those looking for freedom from the power outlet at a reasonable price, but the Electrovaya PowerPad 160 lasts longer and offers more options.

At 0.5 by 11.3 by 8.8 inches, the Hi-Capacity SmartPad 90 takes up about as much space as a small laptop, such as the Toshiba Portege R100. If that's too large for you, the less expensive Hi-Capacity SmartPad 60 is a pound lighter but has one-third less capacity.

All SmartPad external batteries are compatible with an amazing 2,600 laptop models, from Acer to Zenon, including many Apple models. Before buying the battery, check to see if your laptop is on BatteryFuel's periodically updated &siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex_1&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ebatteryfuel%2Ecom%2Fcgi%2Dbin%2Fcshop%2Fstore%2Fexternal%2Etam">compatibility list.

This external battery requires a three-prong outlet to charge, which can be frustrating if you live in an older house or an apartment without grounded outlets. Also, the SmartPad 90 can't power up the laptop's native battery while it's also powering the laptop, as the Valence N-Charge VNC-130 and the Electrovaya PowerPad 160 can.

With 140 watt-hours on tap, the lithium-ion Hi-Capacity SmartPad 90 has a little less power than Electrovaya's PowerPad 160 but nearly three times the juice of the Laptops for Less Universal ED350. The LED power gauge on the front of the Hi-Capacity SmartPad 90 shows how much charge remains. In our tests on a Toshiba Satellite Pro 6100, the battery ran for 4 hours, 50 minutes and emitted annoying warning beeps 30 minutes before it ran out of juice. Hi-Capacity claims that under certain conditions the battery will last up to 10 hours. (See how we test external batteries.)

The Hi-Capacity SmartPad 90 is capable of 400 charge cycles, meaning that you can recharge it only 400 times before it starts to degrade, which is the usual capacity of typical notebook batteries. The SmartPad 90 takes 4 hours, 15 minutes to fully recharge. Unfortunately, it lacks even the most rudimentary manual and is guaranteed for only six months--other external batteries are covered for a year.

Power to go
Battery name
Price
Dimensions (inches)
Weight (pounds)
Capacity (WHr)
Runtime
Recharge time
Hi-Capacity SmartPad 90 $392 0.5 by 11.3 by 8.8 3.3 140 4 hr., 50 min. 4 hr., 15 min.
Electrovaya PowerPad 160 $450 0.5 by 11.9 by 9.8 2.6 160 5 hr., 5 min. 4 hr., 45 min.
Laptops for Less Universal ED350 $150 1.0 by 7.5 by 4.0 1.6 49 1 hr., 5 min. 3 hr.
Valence N-Charge VNC-130 $300 0.6 by 11.8 by 9.1 3.0 120 to 130 4 hr., 10 min. 3 hr.

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