Boost your battery life: Media players

Switch off digital effects

Boost your battery life: Media players

Nearly all MP3 players include some form of EQ setting, and more and more these days add a bewildering number of sound-enhancement modes designed to simulate different environments, boost bass or compensate for the “thin” sound of compressed audio. If you want to maximise battery life, go to your player’s sound settings menu and switch off these settings. They all add work for your player’s DSP chip and so put strain on the battery. In our tests, it has an enormous effect: turning off various sound enhancements on a Samsung YP-Q1 player boosted the battery life by just over ten hours.

Balance bit-ratesand battery life

High bit-rate MP3 files and lossless audio formats sound better than bog-standard 128K files, but they also need more energy to cache, stream and decode. On hard disk-based players this is even more of an issue, as the larger files don’t fit so efficiently in the solid-state cache and place more work on the HDD. If you’re listening to music on the move try to strike a balance between sound quality and battery life. Leave the FLAC files at home, and if you find low bit-rate MP3 files unlistenable, try using more efficient formats such as AAC, WMA or Ogg Vorbis.

Lower the volume

The volume of the sound emanating from your headphones is directly related to the amount of energy your MP3 player is using to power them. With our test Samsung YP-Q1, turning the volume up from 66% to full was enough to drag the battery life down by six hours. If you pump up the volume to compensate for outside noise, try replacing the substandard earbuds bundled with your player for an inexpensive pair of canalphones that slot inside the ear.

Listen, don’t look

As with a laptop or smartphone, the LCD panel consumes a lot of energy. As soon as you’re watching video instead of listening to music you’re hitting the batteries hard, particularly since video playback demands more processing power. This is why the estimated battery life on the iPod Nano drops from 24 to four hours with video playback. For similar reasons, set your player to switch off the screen when not in use and reduce use of the backlight.

Be sensible

Cutting-edge devices such as the iPod Touch have a huge range of functions, ranging from Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity to radios, games and push email. Again, the more you use these, the less chance your battery has of seeing out the day. The golden rule is to switch off wireless connections and minimise use of games, web browsers and email clients while you’re out.

Don’t fast forward

Another tip from Apple: if you’re still using a hard disk player, avoid fast-forwarding through playlists or flicking from album to album. This means that the player can’t make effective use of its solid-state cache, and so needs to push your hard disk into service. Creating playlists or using the shuffle feature instead will help maximise battery life.

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