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Sure, the unibody MacBooks have longer-lasting batteries. But for many, those improvements came at too high a cost--no swapping of spare batteries can be a lethal limitation. But for the folks at Sanho, it presented a dreamy business opportunity, and their line of batteries delivers the plug-and-go power that many of you crave, though you’ll pay a premium for it.
If you're willing to suffer badly designed charging indicators, the HyperMac's pricey but impressive portable power is indispensable.
Sanho claims its batteries can be recharged 1000 times. Our intern wept when we asked him to test that stat, so out of mercy, we haven't verified it.
We tested the 150-watt-hour HyperMac, which clocks in at 2.4 pounds and $399.95. That’s both surprisingly pricey and surprisingly heavy for its 8.9x4.9x0.8 inches. But when it comes to delivering power, the HyperMac’s a star. We put it to the ultimate test--playing a DVD of Lawrence of Arabia on repeat--and it added 7 hours to our 2.8GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook’s 4.5 hours of battery life for that grueling task. That means it can nearly triple your movie-watching time, but if you’re just writing emails, for example, you’ll get roughly double that life. We also really liked its USB port for charging other devices and its long MagSafe cord, which lets you leave your HyperMac in your bag and run its cord to your MacBook with minimal fuss. That cord is also partially responsible for the battery’s high price--since Apple refuses to license MagSafe adapters, third parties must buy them from Apple at 79 bucks a pop and graft them onto their own hardware.
The HyperMac’s useless battery indicators are its only real drawback. When charging it, you have to push a button to turn them on and check the progress--and far worse, there’s no way to determine when charging is complete. The fourth and final green LED merely indicates that the battery has reached 75-100 percent power; Sanho recommends leaving it plugged in for a couple hours after that to be sure you’ve hit 100 percent. Uh, guys? Why not just turn on all four LEDs when the charge has crossed the finish line?