Eager mini-note buyers stung by low-capacity batteries

Mini-note fans who’ve been waiting for Acer’s AspireOne or the MSI Wind may want to sit things out for another month or two.

APC has confirmed that the first shipments of both these pint-sized portables will include only a three-cell battery that’s good for at most three hours per charge. However Acer and MSI will shortly introduce a six-cell model of their respective mini-notes without any change in the sticker price. This could almost double battery life to six hours between refills.

The battery shuffle is due to the still-rippling effects of a fire which tore through a South Korean battery factory in late March. Run by LG Chem a subsidiary of South Koean colossus LG the company is one of the leading manufacturers of laptop batteries alongside Sony and Samsung.

Local MSI distributor Altech has confirmed to APC that the first batch of its much-anticipated Wind 10 inch mini-note which goes on sale this week at $699 will comprise only of units fitted with a three cell battery. This shipment is limited to 150 units while a second delivery of 600 units will include the standard six-cell battery.

(If you’re still super keen to ride the Wind shop around for the best deal – we found that OzDirect already has the Wind marked down to $639 with a $15 delivery fee)

Acer Australia has also confirmed that both the Linux and Windows XP variants of its Aspire One 8.9 inch mini-note will sport a three-cell battery pack rated for ‘up to three hours battery life’ for their respective debuts in mid-July (Linux) and early August (Windows).

However senior product manager Henry Lee told APC “we will have a six-cell battery available as an optional item in August” priced at “just under $100”. Customers will be able to order their Aspire One with this slightly larger but higher-capacity battery instead of the three-cell battery or buy it in addition to the smaller battery so as to have almost ten hours on the trot (as Acer claims ‘up to seven hours battery life’ for the six-cell battery).

But wait a little bit longer and you’ll get six cells for the price of three. “As of October or even earlier both (Linux and Windows) models will get the six-cell battery” in an upgrade to the standard out-of-the-box configuration according to Lee “at the same price” as the three-cell model.