Tablet Computers Bring Added Feature: Energy Efficiency

Tablet computers are hot gifts this year, and they can help you reduce your electricity consumption compared to a desktop computer.
Photo of iPad

Tablet computers are hot gifts this year.

Tablet computers are some of the hottest gifts this year for gadget lovers, technophiles and anyone who loves to surf the Web.

On top of allowing you to read your favorite book, catch up on The Walking Dead or Skype with your college roommate, the powerful mini computers have another feature that will hold down operating costs – energy efficiency.

Charging one of the newest iPads for a year uses 11.9 kilowatt-hours of electricity, according to the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), while a typical desktop computer uses 245 kilowatt-hours.

For a Seattle City Light customer, that means about 84 cents to run the tablet and about $17.15 to run the desktop computer.

The cost of running either of those devices in other cities goes up significantly. InChicago, where residents pay more than 10 cents per kilowatt-hour, the tablet would cost $1.26 per year to run and the desktop $25.97. InSan Francisco, residents paying more than 6 cents per kilowatt-hour would spend $1.94 to use a tablet and $40.03 to run the desktop. InBoston, where residents pay almost 17 cents per kilowatt-hour, using the tablet would cost $2.02 and the desktop $41.60.

The cost really goes up in the Big Apple.New York Cityresidents paying just over 22 cents per kilowatt-hour would spend $2.64 to use the tablet and $54.32 to run the desktop.  

The reasons for the increased efficiency are simple. Because they depend on rechargeable batteries as their power source, tablets are engineered to use less energy, which means a person can use it longer on a single charge. Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD, Barnes & Noble’s Nook HD and the iPad all boast at least nine hours of use on a single charge, even while watching videos.

Engineers achieve that efficiency by using smaller processors that don’t require as much energy to run and stripping down some of the computing power. You’re not going to track down the Higgs Boson particle with a tablet, but you don’t need a Cray supercomputer to watch Psy’s Gangnam Style video.

With the money you save here inSeattleon electricity using a tablet for the things its best at, you could even buy a leather case for it.