Power drains

Date:24 March 2012

Q I know desktop computers, game consoles and PVRs can inflate your power bill, but what about the little gadgets? I charge my phone every night.

A Modern smartphones’ daily charging cycle and ever-nagging battery indicators imply heavy power use. Fortunately, the numbers tell a different story.

A typical smartphone uses about 5 watts of electricity while charging; when the device is plugged in but fully charged, that number drops close to zero. A lithium-ion smartphone battery will take roughly 4 hours to reach a 100 per cent charge from empty. Assuming that the phone requires a full recharge every day – most do not – you are probably spending a few rand over the course of a two-year contract.

In other words, it’s probably not worth fretting over. Ditto for your tablet, camera, MP3 player or camcorder. Even your hungriest gadgets use a tiny fraction of the electricity required by your a/c, heater or dishwasher.

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