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Tips on getting the most from your Chromebook Pixel battery

Chromebook Pixel Chromebook Pixel screen tap

Even though Google’s Chromebook Pixel has been a joy to own and use since the day I’ve gotten it, it does come with its own set of issues. One of these is that it tends to run hot, and another is the lackluster battery life. Clocked at only five hours under moderate use, and potentially much shorter depending on what you’re doing, the battery on the Pixel simply cannot hold its own against Apple’s latest line of Macbooks, or even the Samsung Chromebook on ARM.

Part of the problem is that the Pixel is so thin – it is impossible to pack much more battery in this thing, without making it thicker and heavier. Part of the problem is the Pixel’s gorgeous high DPI touchscreen – it’s magnificent pixel density, along with being touch-enabled, both draw a lot of power, as well. Finally, that powerful i5 processor doesn’t really help out much, either.

Luckily, I’ve compiled a list of little things you can do here and there that, over the long run, will make a big difference in how much battery life you end up getting on the Chromebook Pixel. Most of these might seem obvious, but if you do all of them, you’ll probably see some success.

1. Turn the screen brightness down as low as it can go, while still being useful.

At 400 nits, the Pixel screen is one of the brightest you’ll find on any laptop, period. It’s really useful when you’re sitting outside on a bright sunny day, but if you’re working on the couch at night, and the room is already dim, you don’t really need all that brightness. So use those function keys along the top of your keyboard, and turn down the brightness as low as you can, without straining your eyes too much.

One of the reasons you bought the Pixel was because of the beautiful screen – but you don’t need to blow yourself away when you’re just using it for a few minutes to check Facebook.

2. Turn off the backlit keyboard when you’re not using it.

You can adjust the backlit keyboard brightness by pressing alt along with the screen brightness controls. While it looks really cool, many people don’t really need the backlight if they’re able to type from memory, or if it’s bright enough in the room to see the keys anyway. I’ve noticed that this is one of the best power-saving techniques you can employ – for some reason, those little lights can suck up a lot of juice!

The only thing that’s kind of annoying about the screen brightness and backlights is that Chrome OS doesn’t remember your settings after a reboot. So, in other words, you have to remember to adjust these whenever you start up your computer again.

3. Turn off LTE when you’re not using it.

It’s not enough to simply connect to WiFi – your LTE radio is still on and sipping on your battery’s juice. Instead, go to your settings and make sure mobile data is disabled. This means that the actual radio is off and won’t negatively affect your battery life.

4. Turn off Bluetooth, too.

The same goes for Bluetooth – just because you’re not actively using it at the moment doesn’t mean it’s not using your battery. Again, go to your settings, click on Show advanced settings, and make sure the box next to Bluetooth is unchecked.

5. Turn off your Pixel when you’re not using it, instead of just shutting the lid.

The Pixel has a tendency to continue draining the battery when it’s sleeping, so if you want to come back to a Pixel with approximately the same amount of juice remaining as when you left it, it’s probably best to just turn it all the way off. Luckily, unlike Apple or Windows machines, the Pixel boots fully in just a few seconds, so it’s almost the same as putting it to sleep.


Do you have any more tips of your own to share? Leave them below!

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John F

John was the editor-in-chief at Pocketables. His articles generally focus on all things Google, including Chrome and Android, although his love of new gadgets and technology doesn't stop there. His current arsenal includes the Nexus 6 by Motorola, the 2013 Nexus 7 by ASUS, the Nexus 9 by HTC, the LG G Watch, and the Chromebook Pixel, among others.

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